What Are Your Responsibilities as a Santa Cruz Landlord

What Are Your Responsibilities as a Santa Cruz Landlord

A successful rental process in Santa Cruz depends on both tenants and landlords understanding and meeting their responsibilities. You expect your tenants to pay rent on time, follow the terms laid out in the lease agreement, and to report maintenance as soon as it’s needed.

Landlords who take their responsibilities seriously will have a better and more successful investment experience.

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Is it Time to Switch Santa Cruz Property Management Companies?


You wouldn’t stick with a doctor who was misdiagnosing all your illnesses. And you wouldn’t keep seeing a mechanic who was overcharging you for the wrong parts when you brought your car in for servicing.

You deserve value. You deserve expertise, and you deserve outstanding customer service.

The same is true with Santa Cruz property management. If you’re not getting the results or the service you were promised, it’s time to partner with a different property management team.

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Most Common Landlord Mistakes and How to Avoid them in Santa Cruz

No one is perfect, and it’s unreasonable for landlords to think that they’ll get everything right when they’re leasing, managing, and maintaining their Santa Cruz rental properties.

Unfortunately, mistakes with your income-producing property are often expensive. You can find yourself facing huge penalties in security deposit disputes, for example. If you violate a fair housing law, you could be looking at a fine that’s over $10,000. Even something that seems like a simple mistake – waiting a week before you send a plumber to address a leak under a sink – can lead to thousands of dollars in extra repair bills.

Most of the common mistakes landlords make are unintentional. You don’t know what you don’t know. This is why it’s so important to work with a professional Santa Cruz property management company. We have already made the mistakes. Our experience, our knowledge, and our ongoing education allows us to catch these common errors before they hurt your property and your bottom line.

Screening Tenants Too Quickly

When a tenant is interested in your property, you likely want to move quickly. The faster you get them approved and moved in, the faster you can begin collecting rent.

Slow down and conduct a thorough background check. A huge mistake lots of landlords make is to rush through the screening process. They think that a simple credit check is enough to satisfy themselves that their tenant is qualified.

You need to measure a tenant’s income against the rental amount to be sure they can afford the rent. Verify that income by asking for paystubs or tax records. You need to do a national eviction check and investigate the rental history so you can be sure they haven’t been problem tenants in the past.

With the right automation, technology, and property management support, you can avoid this mistake and conduct a thorough and rigorous screening process efficiently.

Forgetting Attention to Detail During the Move-In Inspection

The move-in inspection is an important tool in protecting the condition of your property. You need to document exactly what your property looks like before your tenants take possession of it. This will hold them accountable at the end of the lease term. When you take detailed notes and hundreds of photos, you will clearly be able to see the difference between general wear and tear and tenant damage. This will help you avoid conflicts with the security deposit and your move-out expectations.

Many landlords do a simple walk through, without the photos and the videos and the checklist. This makes it too easy for your tenants to say “that was broken when I moved in.”

Communicating Passively with Tenants

Once you have tenants in place, don’t ignore them until they have a problem or stop paying rent. Be proactive with your communication. It’s a huge mistake to wait for your tenants to contact you. Be open and available. Be responsive. Go over the details of the lease agreement with them so they understand your expectations and their responsibilities. Check in once in a while to remind them about air filter changes and to ask if there’s anything they need.

Ignoring Preventative Maintenance

Most landlords understand that they’ll be responsible for responding to emergency maintenance and taking care of routine repairs.

It’s a mistake to forget preventative maintenance.

Have your HVAC system checked and serviced annually. This will help you ensure it’s working properly and it will contribute to a longer lifespan. Set up a recurring pest control service. Walk through the home at least once a year to check for potential deferred or unreported maintenance issues. Have the roof inspected and the gutters cleared of any debris and branches.

With a good preventative maintenance plan, you’ll save money on surprise repair issues, and you’ll also show your tenants that you care about the condition of your rental property.

Not Understanding Local, State, and Federal Rental Laws

Renting out a home in Santa Cruz has become more complex than ever before. You have to understand federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Fair Credit Reporting Act. You have to know why a service animal isn’t a pet and what the difference is between a service animal and a companion animal. You need to understand the state security deposit timelines and the rent control laws that may or may not affect your rental property.

There’s a lot to keep straight, and these laws are always changing. It’s a mistake to assume you’re in compliance.

Most Common Landlord Mistakes and How to Avoid them in Santa CruzWorking with a Santa Cruz property management company protects you and your asset as well as your tenants. Avoid these common mistakes. Contact us at Real Estate Eight Three One.

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New Laws Now: Staying Compliant as a California Landlord in 2021


Renting out a property in California is more complex than it once was. Are you prepared? Legal mistakes are easy to make, and fixing them is often more expensive and time-consuming than landlords realize. Make sure you’re not out of compliance and get yourself and your properties prepared for everything from rent control to tenant screening to security deposits.

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Santa Cruz Rental Market Forecast for 2021

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The Santa Cruz rental market has always been complex, and this last year has certainly been unique. 

While we can absolutely understand the amount of anxiety and hesitation around the challenges that are due to economic shifts and the unexpected global pandemic, we don’t think this means anything negative for the 2021 rental market forecast. 

That’s because there are also opportunities. Whether you currently own rental homes in Santa Cruz or you’re thinking about investing, there are some important things to consider when thinking about the state of things and how you can make them work for you.  (more…)

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Dangers of A Vacant Santa Cruz Property

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No one wants to leave their Santa Cruz rental property vacant for longer than necessary. Not only does it deprive you of rental income, it also leaves your investment at risk.

The dangers of leaving a rental property vacant are more than financial. A long vacancy delivers several additional problems and unintended consequences. You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for things like utilities and landscaping. You also have to keep the property secure and free from squatters, vandals, and other potential criminal activities. The appliances aren’t being used and there’s no one in the home to let you know when a leak is sprung or something starts to deteriorate.

Don’t put your property at risk for long vacancies and the dangers that come with them. Here’s how you can protect your Santa Cruz investment home. (more…)

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Tenant Eviction Process in Santa Cruz | Landlord Advice

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Evicting a tenant in Santa Cruz is more challenging than it once was. There are a number of protections in place for tenants who are struggling to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You have to be aware of those before you begin an eviction process.

Even outside of the pandemic, eviction in California requires you to have just cause, otherwise you may find yourself responsible for a relocation payment to your tenants when you make them leave. The most common reasons you can legally evict a tenant in Santa Cruz are: 

  • Nonpayment of rent.
  • Violation of the lease agreement.
  • Illegal or criminal activities at the property.

There’s currently a federal moratorium on evictions for tenants who cannot pay due to the pandemic. California has its own law in place, which protects tenants from eviction if they sign a declaration that their financial hardship is due to the pandemic and if they agree to pay a percentage of the rent that’s due.


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Why Communication with Owners is Key to Success

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At Real Estate Eight Three One, we take communication with our property owners seriously. We know it has a direct impact on your peace of mind and even your ROI. We also work hard to communicate openly and responsively with tenants, vendors, and everyone in our community and industry.

Good communication is critical to the effective management of your property and your ability to earn more and spend less on your investment. (more…)

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How Often Should You Perform a Rental Property Inspection in Santa Cruz?

How Often Should You Perform a Rental Property Inspection in Santa Cruz? - Article Banner

Rental property inspections are the best tool you have to protect the condition of your investment home and ensure your tenants are following the terms of your lease. Inspections also allow you to check for deferred and unreported damage.

Most property owners know they have to inspect before tenants move in and after tenants move out. These inspections will help you document the condition of your property before and after the residency. While California law is strict about when and how you should enter a tenant’s occupied home, it’s a good idea to get inside at least once during the leasing period for a maintenance walk-through.

There may be reasons to inspect more frequently. If you have a reason to believe your tenant isn’t taking care of the property, or you see something suspicious while driving by the property, you might want to schedule an extra inspection. Otherwise, you want to balance your need to protect your investment against your tenant’s right to privacy and a quiet living environment free from disruptions. (more…)

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A Checklist for Santa Cruz Landlords With Tenants Moving In

A Checklist for Santa Cruz Landlords With Tenants Moving In - Article Banner

With tenants moving into your Santa Cruz rental property, you need to make sure the place is clean, welcoming, and functional. Offering tenants an easy and stress-free move-in experience will set a positive and professional tone for the entire tenancy. It’s a great opportunity to establish a great relationship with your residents.

As you put together your move-in checklist, make sure it includes these important items. (more…)

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