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P E S T | C O N T R O L

P E S T | C O N T R O L

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Whether you are new to the property investment market or a seasoned pro, at some point, you will inevitably face the question of whether you should cover pest control in your tenant-occupied unit. As the warm spring weather brings with it tiny tenants seeking residence indoors, we thought it timely to devote some blog space to the topic.

Before your rental home is leased, the gray area is eliminated. After all; you won’t be able to rent property that is teaming with flies, ants, roaches or mice, not to mention your house won’t meet building codes unless you clear the decks of rodents of every size. More complicated is the question of who should handle hiring and paying an exterminator if pests become a problem after your tenants move in. Left unresolved, this pesky problem could potentially cause a rift in the landlord-tenant relationship.

Wherever you live and lease property, here are a few guidelines we think might help:

  • The most important question to answer about pest control is who is responsible. While subtleties exist according to region, in general, the tenant is obligated to keep the living space clean while the landlord is responsible for maintaining the rental property so that it remains fit for human habitation and meets building code standards. Both parties, the landlord and the tenant, are responsible for preventing pest infestations.
  • If a pest problem occurs, the party that didn’t fulfill their duty to keep pests out is generally considered the responsible one. For example, if roaches or rodents show up because of uncovered food items or rotting garbage, this represents negligence on the part of the tenant.
  • When weighing options, property owners should consider the implications of failing to act once pests become an issue, regardless of who is to blame for the infestation. In other words, your ultimate goal should be to protect your investment. If you think your current tenants may be ruining your property, you might consider pursuing eviction instead of refusing to act in a way that will ultimately harm your property.
  • California law recognizes an “implied warranty of habitability” for tenants. So if the property or units become naturally infested with bugs, rodents or bees, etc to the point of (making) the home being inhabitable, the property manager must take action to eliminate pests.
  • In many states, property owners have a responsibility to provide notice to tenants when they contract with a pest exterminator. A new pest control service requires the landlord to provide notice before the first treatment and the use of pesticides. If the pest control company changes pesticides, another notice must be given to the tenant to inform of the new pesticides.

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we help you cover all the bases when renting out your home and most importantly we are licensed to do so. Our company is supported by property management, accounting, maintenance, client services and administrative resources.  We will manage your property and ensure all legal guidelines are met.

If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

S O L A R | H E A T I N G

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Tips From The Expert

If your Homeowner’s Association is paying a gas bill to keep your swimming pool heated, there may be an option to reduce that cost by installing a solar pool heating system on the roof of the club house or an adjacent patio cover.

The size and cost of the system would be determined by a number of factors, such as the size of the pool in surface area and a corresponding area on which to install the solar pool heating system; the distance from the installed area to the pool equipment; the comfort level in pool temperature requested by membership; and the length of season the membership would like to maintain swimming temperatures.

There are, of course, many solar pool heating entities that can offer an evaluation and a bid for such a system, and there are ways to compare the production output and value of each bid. The SRCC is one independent organization that rates the net BTU output on a variety of panel manufactures. Selecting a product by a manufacturer that has a proven history of performance is a good start as well.

FAFCO is the original manufacturer of solar pool heating panels in the United States, started in 1969 and based today in Chico, CA inside a custom-designed factory. Their exclusive dealer-installer is Revco Solar Engineering, the oldest, licensed solar contractor in CA (CSLB# 387219), founded in 1976.

REVCO’S local representative, Kerry McDaniel, is in his eleventh year in solar, an experienced expert in solar pool heating, solar hot water heating and in solar photovoltaic (PV) for solar electric systems. Revco offers all forms of solar products for its clients, including design and installation.

Tips From the Expert
Has been brought to you by Mr. McDaniel of Revco Solar, at (909) 886-9777 or email

B U S I N E S S | O U T S I D E | M E E T I N G S

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It seems like every time you turn around there is new legislation telling Boards ways they can’t run their Homeowner’s Associations creating frustrations for Managers and Board members.  The laws are open to interpretation, however most are just plain black and white on what not to do and it is the fiduciary responsibility of each Board member and committee member to abide by civil code. We often see Board members that look to the other way, or move towards a path that helps them personally benefit, both are illegal.

Business Outside Meetings
Emailing about Association related business in between meetings is a clear violation of the open meeting act, and your electronic records can be subpoenaed if you are accused of conducting business or participating in conversations without proper notification being provided to the membership.  If you are copied on an email from a fellow Directors or Committee member that you feel may be in conflict, here is some sample professional yet neutral verbiage that can be used.

“Hello _____, thank you for bringing this to our attention, however I believe this communication violates the revisions to the open meeting act and respectfully request that this be discussed at our next meeting.  If the fellow directors wish to deem this issue an emergency and would like to schedule an emergency meeting, please let me know.”

Keep in mind civil code constitutes an “emergency meeting” as one where “there are circumstances that could not have been reasonably foreseen which require immediate attention and possible action by the board, and which of necessity make it impracticable to provide notice as required by this section.”

You can keep the electronic documentation and should an issue arise you will have it to refer to showing that you did not partake in the discussion.  Should there be a Director on the Board that constantly violates “business outside of meetings”, you can ask for the topic to be discussed at the next meeting in Executive Session.  A majority of the Directors can vote to censor that Director, the censor is recorded in the minutes.

The revisions in civil code were also meant to help Directors and Committee members, who are volunteers.  It is okay to shift more responsibly to your management company, after all that’s what they are there for.   Have a meeting to discuss guidelines and pre-approved decisions for your management representative to make, just make sure it’s documented in the meeting minutes.  There are of course certain actions you cannot pre-approve for them such as new (non-emergency) proposals, liens, annual budget, taxes, IDR, ADR, etc.

While every scenario is different, you want to make sure that YOU, as a Director or Committee Member are looking out for the Association’s best interest, while protecting yourself as well by following civil code.

L A N D L O R D | R E S O U R C E S

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We wanted to share some very important resources available for landlords to help you understand managing your property.

Helpful Links

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we help you cover all the bases when renting out your home and most importantly we are licensed to do so. Our company is supported by property management, accounting, maintenance, client services and administrative resources.  We will manage your property and ensure all legal guidelines are met.

If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

L A N D L O R D | M A I N T E N A N C E

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Your time is valuable and if you’ve opted to manage your property on your own, these time saving tips can make the most of your money.  Preventative maintenance helps to avoid costly emergency repair bills, unnecessary wear and tear on your property, and resident dissatisfaction

Check for peeling paint. Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or building. Peeling paint may be a sign that the existing paint film is failing and not protecting the building siding. If the problem is not fixed, the siding could deteriorate, leading to expensive future repairs.

Switch out HVAC filterBe sure to switch out your filter every 30-60 days. This will allow the system to function properly, run more efficiently and save you money on heating bills.

Flush the water heaterThis is a cheap and easy procedure that we recommend you do every 2 years. It only costs about $30, so it’s worth it. Flushing the system helps to control the buildup of mineral deposits, resulting in a more efficient heater.

Service oil or gas heater. Cleaning your furnace is a service that varies upon your system, but one that is an absolute necessity.

Cover or remove window unit air conditioners. Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with a tarp or plastic air conditioner cover.

Inspect the roof. A roof inspection is key we usually suggest twice a year fall and spring. Leaking or collapsing ceilings are a nightmare to deal with for your family and wallet.

Trim the trees and landscape. Tree trimmings and landscaping should be done to avoid any fall off or to help keep the attractiveness of your property at an all time high.  If you decide to hire a landscape company, get a few quotes just to see the difference.

Inspect the chimneyAlways have your chimney inspected for any repairs that need to be done before there is any further damage caused by any storms.  Annually cleaning is a must, build up can lead to serious hazards.

Clean the gutters. A simple gutter cleaning once a year will help you avoid any further damage that may be done to your property caused by buildup. Depending on how many levels there are to your home, this is a safe and easy procedure to make sure that everything is cleaned out.

Replace an old water heater. An old water heater should receive some special attention. Make the necessary steps and schedule an appointment to replace or fix up that old water heater

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we help you cover all the bases when renting out your home and most importantly we are licensed to do so.

If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

L A N D L O R D | I N S U R A N C E

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As a landlord renting out your investment property, we know you’ve got a lot on your mind. Finding the right tenants, keeping up with repairs, the list goes on and on. Your homeowner’s insurance may have exclusions and looking into landlord insurance you’ll have one less thing to worry about.  Landlord insurance protects your property from damages and you from losing income should covered damages make your property unlivable.

When looking for quotes, the basics should cover

  • Your rental property, other structures on the property – such as sheds, garages, etc.
  • Your personal belongings that are left on the premises – such as microwaves, washers and dryers being used by your tenants. Even tools you keep handy for repairs.

Making your coverage, property specific
Owning an investment property presents specific insurance issues that can be tailored to your needs. Landlord insurance coverage’s include:

  • Liability – if a claim is made against you for accidental damage in relation to your investment property, your insurance company will defend those claims, and pay those claims for which you are legally responsible, up to your policy limits.
  • Fair Rental Value – if your property is deemed unlivable due to a covered loss, your insurance company should reimburse you for the income you’ll lose because your tenants will no longer be paying you rent.
  • Inflation Protection – the cost of making repairs is increasing every day. With Inflation Protection Coverage, your insurance should automatically adjust your policy limits to keep pace with inflation.

You can purchase landlords insurance through several carriers, if you have more than one property ask for a price break when obtaining quotes.  You can even contact your current homeowner’s insurance provider to see if they can offer additional coverage to cover these bases, rather than changing carriers.

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we help you cover all the bases when renting out your home and most importantly we are licensed to do so.

C O M M O N | M I S T A K E S

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When it comes to renting out your home, it all seems easier said than done.  JLA Real Estate Group’s Property Management Division consults with potential clients on renting their homes, we often see common mistakes that could have potentially gotten them in big trouble.  In the long run professional property management saves you money because there are so many legal pitfalls that owners don’t know about.

TENANT SCREENING. Pay the money and run a credit check make sure to look for evictions, late fees and delinquent accounts.  Evictions and more than 3 delinquent accounts can be used to not approve a potential renter.  Renting to friends and family aren’t always the best idea either, emotions can run high when it comes to late payments or missed rent.
DISCRIMINATION. Sometimes you may not even realize you’re doing it. The California Department of Consumer Affairs clearly outlines all forms of discrimination (,  these laws have created certain “protected classes” that you, as a landlord, must not refuse to rent, sell, steer, advertise, or charge extra fees for including but not limited to: race, color, national origin, religion, familial status (meaning someone with kids!),  and disability.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE. Fully assess your property before you rent it to document any maintenance issues that may come due within the next year.  You can also hire a free lance inspector that will give you a report of any major issues not visible to the eye (termites, mold, and foundation issues).   If your tenant brings maintenance issues to your attention, addressing non-life threatening issues within thirty (30) days will help prevent future claims.
EVICTIONS. Again the Department of Consumer Affairs is very strict on proper eviction proceedings, following their “how-to guide” can save you thousands of dollars and a big headache should you take it upon yourself evict your tenant.  While renters do have rights in California, Landlords have the right to protect their investment.

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we help you cover all the bases when renting out your home and most importantly we are licensed to do so.
If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

T A X | T I M E

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No landlord would pay more than necessary for utilities or other operating expenses for a rental property.  Yet millions of landlords pay more taxes on their rental income than they have to. Why? Rental real estate provides more tax benefits than almost any other investment.

Every year, millions of landlords pay more taxes on their rental income than they have to.  Why? Because they fail to take advantage of all the tax deductions available for owners of rental property.  Often, these benefits make the difference between losing money and earning a profit on a rental property.

Here are a few of the top tax deductions for owners of small residential rental property.
INTEREST is often a landlord’s single biggest deductible expense. Common examples of interest that landlords can deduct include mortgage interest payments on loans used to acquire or improve rental property and interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity.
DEPRECIATION The actual cost of a house, apartment building, or other rental property is not fully deductible in the year in which you pay for it. Instead, landlords get back the cost of real estate through depreciation. This involves deducting a portion of the cost of the property over several years.
REPAIRS The cost of repairs to rental property (provided the repairs are ordinary, necessary, and reasonable in amount) are fully deductible in the year in which they are incurred. Good examples of deductible repairs include repainting, fixing gutters or floors, fixing leaks, plastering, and replacing broken windows.
LOCAL TRAVEL Landlords are entitled to a tax deduction whenever they drive anywhere for their rental activity. For example, when you drive to your rental building to deal with a tenant complaint or go to the hardware store to purchase a part for a repair, you can deduct your travel expenses.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS Whenever you hire anyone to perform services for your rental activity, you can deduct their wages as a rental business expense. This is so whether the worker is an employee (for example, a resident manager) or an independent contractor (for example, a repair person).
INSURANCE You can deduct the premiums you pay for almost any insurance for your rental activity. This includes fire, theft, and flood insurance for rental property, as well as landlord liability insurance. And if you have employees, you can deduct the cost of their health and workers’ compensation insurance.

Here at JLA Real Estate Group we provide our clients with documentation during tax season to help their returns.

If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

Gearing Up For Marijuana Questions From Tenants

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January 17, 2014

As a landlord make sure you are geared up marijuana questions from tenants. What if the person has a prescription (also known as a “card” or “license”) for medical marijuana?

Although federal law does not recognize a distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana, California does. In 1996, marijuana was legalized for limited medical use. Under California’s Health & Safety Code §11362.77, qualified patients are allowed to cultivate up to 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants. Thus, if your resident has a prescription their pot farm is authorized under state law (provided he/she does not exceed the allowed number of plants). As a landlord you have the right to ask for documentation, it’s not discriminatory, a physicians note and copy of the medical marijuana card should suffice. If your tenant cannot produce documentation you have the right to pursue eviction proceedings.

Regardless of the legality of the marijuana plants under state law, their presence may still be deemed a nuisance. Marijuana plants have a strong odor that some find extremely unpleasant, and several plants grouped together can produce an overwhelming odor for neighbors or passers-by. Also, they may attract criminal activity, a legitimate concern of the person’s neighbors. The strong smell as well as safety and security issues fall under the nuisance provisions of your lease. If you receive complaints, ask for the complaint in writing to help you address the issue properly with the tenant.

Here at JLA Real Estate Group, we study new case law and law updates to help our clients who have rental properties.

If you would like a copy of our Property Management Diagnostic which will help you understand how to manage your property please contact us at

Are you discriminating and you don’t know it?

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Q: I had a potential renter contact me about a large family moving into my two bedroom home, can I deny their approval for over occupancy?
A: It depends; The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidelines regarding occupancy standards that may violate fair housing laws because they adversely impact families with children. In most cases, occupancy standards should allow at least two persons per bedroom, regardless of the age, gender or relationship of the persons living in the unit. In CA, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing views “two persons per bedroom plus one” as a guideline for occupancy standards. A more restrictive policy may be found to be discriminatory.
Though landlords may not use occupancy standards to discriminate against families with children, some cities have established occupancy guidelines.
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