Evict Tenant

The Basic Steps to Evict a Tenant in California

One of the greatest challenges — and risks — of being a landlord is dealing with problem tenants. No matter how tight your tenant screening process is, you can still end up with renters who aren’t able to pay rent or who are different than you initially expected. Sometimes, difficult tenants become so problematic that you may be forced to evict them, which can be a challenging and unpleasant process. However, if you are a landlord in California and want to make evicting a tenant as pain-free and smooth as possible, it can help to arm yourself with a knowledge of the eviction process. Here are the basic steps of eviction in the state.

1. Ensure You Have a Legal Reason to Evict

Before you move to evict someone, you should make sure that you have a legal reason to do so. In California, there are many reasons a landlord can evict a tenant, including failure to pay the rent, violation of the lease, using a property for illegal purposes and more. (Check out a complete list from the California Department of Consumer Affairs here.) Make sure you have documented proof of the violation before moving to evict.

2. Serve a Formal Notice of Eviction

If you have a legal reason to evict your tenant and you want to move forward with the eviction, you should serve them a notice of eviction to let them know. The notice should be personally delivered to the tenant. If it’s not possible to reach them, the notice should be affixed to the door of the unit, and also sent to them via certified mail. For failure to pay rent in California, landlords can give tenants three days to fix the problem.

4. File and Deliver the Proper Paperwork

If the notice of eviction is delivered and the problem is not corrected, you can begin the legal process to remove them from your property. To do so, file all the proper paperwork at your local courthouse (in the county where the rental property is located). You’ll need to submit three separate forms: an unlawful detainer complaint, a pre-judgment right of possession form and a civil case cover sheet. You will also need to pay a fee. Once the proper paperwork has been submitted, you’ll be given a copy of your complaint and a summons by the courthouse clerk. You must then deliver the summons and complaint to the tenant.

5. Await the Tenant Response

Once the tenant has been served a summons, you must wait for their response. Tenants have five days to either vacate the property, challenge your lawsuit by filing a response with the court or do nothing.

6. Go to Court

If the tenant does not leave within five days, request a court date from the judge. Before the court date, gather any and all legal documents relating to the rental, as well as physical proof of a failure to pay (e.g., bounced checks). This will help you prove your case against the tenant, and challenge any defense mounted by the tenant.

7. Have the Sheriff Serve a Vacate Notice

If the tenant loses the trial, you should have the sheriff in your county serve the tenant with a Five Day to Vacate notice. This means that they now have five days to move out of your property. If they do not move out after five days, you can have the sheriff physically lock the tenant out of the space.
Ultimately, evicting a tenant can be a challenging and emotionally-taxing process. However, doing a thorough screening of tenants before they move in, as well as communicating openly and directly with tenants while they live there, can help ensure it’s a problem you never have to face. Building a good relationship with tenants often means you’ll never have to remove them — or that they’ll leave willingly should a problematic situation ever arise.
Setting Price

Tips for Setting the Right Price for Your Pittsburg CA Rental

Investing in rental real estate is a great way to generate income, but you must also make sure that you rent your property for the right price. Setting an appropriate rental price is important for both you and your prospective tenants: this way, it will ensure your investment is profitable and that you bring in the type of tenants you seek. The following tips can help ensure that you’re setting the right price.

Calculate the Cost of the Rental

While you want to attract the right tenants and offer them a great rental experience, you also want to ensure that you make a profit from your rental property. Therefore, you must know how much owning and maintaining that rental property will cost you. You should calculate ALL of the expenses associated with the property (including mortgage payments, maintenance, repairs, and more), and then make sure you are charging more than that base amount. You should never lose money on a rental property you’ve purchased as an investment.

Consider the Season

No matter how nice your property is, its price will vary depending on what time of year you rent it. Generally speaking, rentals go for more during the summer months. While there is often more availability of rental properties during the summer, it is also the season when kids are off school and academic years have ended, which makes the summer season an easier and more popular time for people to move. When considering how to price your real estate listings, think about the season you are renting in – and whether the demand for the apartment will be high or low. Then, set its price accordingly.

Research the Market

To stay on top of how much you need to charge for a rental, you should do some research about the current market. Rental prices go up and down depending on things like the economy and the desirability of a neighborhood. Look into prices of rentals near or like yours, and set your prices based on that information. Also, consider the market demand for a unit like yours. Is it summer? If you have a large rental home that will fit a family, you may consider increasing the listing price of the rental, since the demand for that property will be higher during that particular season.

Think About the Days Until Vacancy

If your rental property becomes vacant, you will most likely lose out on at least a half month’s rent (often, a full month’s rent). You should consider how long it will be until the apartment becomes vacant when you’re pricing it. If you have a while to rent the property before current tenants move out, you can list the property at a higher price; if the apartment will become vacant soon, it can pay off to list lower and drive up demand for the unit.

Know the Laws

Despite wanting to make a profit with your rental property, you can’t necessarily just charge whatever you want. Many states have laws and regulations that limit what landlords can charge for things like rent, late rent fees, security deposits and more. To learn more about rental laws in the United States, check out this helpful guide by the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Pittsburg CA property Management

Advance Preparation Will Help Manage Needy Tenants

You may be the lucky person doing Pittsburgh residential real estate investing who never has to manage a needy tenant. However, regardless of the care with which you screen tenants, the greater probability is that you’ll run into a needy tenant from time to time. These advanced planning tips will help you manage those tenants.

Set Expectations Before Your Tenants Move In

Your rental or lease agreement should include descriptions of the tenant’s responsibilities, which will lay the groundwork for a good working relationship before the tenant even moves in. If you have community rules that tenants need to abide by, include those as part of (or as an addendum to) the agreement.

For example, rules about where to dispose of trash may not seem like something you need to put in writing. If your tenant decides that “close to the waste management area” is good enough, however, you need something in writing to support the rule that trash must be placed into the trash receptacle.

Make Complaining Easy

One of the biggest concerns of a needy tenant is that his or her voice won’t be heard. If the tenant ends up leaving six voicemails or texts on your mobile phone, the magnitude of the problem will increase each time. Automating the management of complaints and maintenance requests will save your sanity and help to satisfy the needy tenant. Once you have that written record, you’ll have another tool to use as you work with the tenant.

Enforce the Rules

Now that you’ve established rules, remember to enforce them consistently. For example, don’t accept late rent payments. A needy tenant will often have a long list of hardship reasons why the rent is late. Don’t negotiate with a needy tenant every month. Instead, explain that the agreement they signed indicated they could pay the rent on a timely basis, and stress that you expect them to do so.

Document Everything

A needy tenant can often turn into a tenant you need to evict. In that case, you’ll need a written history of the reasons behind that decision. Keep track of every late rent payment, every complaint and every time the tenant broke the rules. If you decide that eviction is required, learn all you can about the eviction process in California before taking any action.

Even before you’re facing a potential eviction, you can use the documented history of problems to work with the needy tenant to remove his or her “needy” status.

Maintain Your Composure

One of the most difficult things to do when dealing with a needy tenant is to remain calm. Keep in mind that it is possible to turn a needy tenant into an acceptable one. Losing your temper, or participating in emotionally charged discussions, will only reinforce the needy tenant’s behavior.

Make sure you remain in charge, and calmly explain the truth of the situation, backed up by the initial agreement and subsequent documentation.

Don’t Give Tenants Fuel for Their Complaints

A needy tenant will complain about everything. Maintenance is a big issue, so make sure you respond to maintenance requests quickly. When you set expectations for all tenants, you’ll also remove fuel for a needy tenant’s complaints. For example, needy tenants will probably dispose of their trash properly, but they’ll complain bitterly if others don’t.

Don’t assume that every complaint from a needy tenant is fictitious. If noise is a problem, check with other tenants who might recognize the problem but haven’t yet made a complaint.

Follow-up is also important. If you believe an issue has been resolved, check with tenants to confirm that they believe the problem is likewise resolved.

Managing needy tenants can take time and patience. If you’d prefer to focus your efforts on residential real estate investing, reach out to Wolfgang Property Management, who can provide professional property management services that will let you work on expanding your business.

Wolfgang Property Management

5 Tips for Handling Needy Tenants

Renting out property is a great way to earn income, but dealing with tenants can come with its fair share of challenges. One of the most annoying challenges of being a landlord is handling needy tenants — those renters who are in constant contact with you regarding repairs, help or hand-holding. If you are a landlord or in professional property management and end up renting to needy tenants, you may find the below tips useful. These strategies will keep the tenants at bay and ensure your experience renting to them is a pleasant and easy one.

1. Create a Formal Request Process for Repairs and Maintenance

When tenants have easy access to you and can simply call you to come in and make repairs, it can encourage them to call often — and at all times of the day. Discourage frequent calling — and excessive repair requests — by creating a formal request process. Create an online form they must fill out in order to request a repair or maintenance, or require them to write out a description of what they need and submit it to you via email. Not only will this discourage tenants from making frivolous requests, it will also give you a helpful system for keeping requests organized.

2. Include a Deductible in Your Lease

One way to reduce unnecessary repair requests by tenants is to include a low-amount deductible, around $100, in their lease. This means that tenants have to cover the first $100 of repairs in the apartment, and then you cover the rest. By requiring tenants to spend $100 on maintenance, it will limit their requests to only the vital ones — and it will help ensure that they take better care of the apartment in order to avoid spending their own money.

3. Provide a Schedule

Give your tenants a schedule with your availability to handle non-emergency requests. This will discourage them from calling you at off or odd hours. Additionally, you can set up an email auto-response for maintenance requests that includes information about when and how you’ll be responding to requests.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

If a tenant begins to make unreasonable requests, do not be afraid to say no to those requests. Make sure you can show your tenant how the written lease agreement doesn’t cover what’s being asking for. Refusing to make unnecessary repairs or fulfill unreasonable requests from the get-go sets a precedent that you only handle what’s stipulated in the lease, and it discourages tenants from testing your boundaries throughout the duration of their time as renters.

5. Consider Using a Professional Property Management Company

One effective way to remove yourself from the annoyance of dealing with needy tenants is to hire a professional property management company. When you hire a professional property manager, that person becomes the point of contact for tenants and fields repair and maintenance requests. While property management companies may cost you some money outright, they can ultimately save you money on repairs and the headache of having to communicate constantly with needy renters.
If you’re a landlord or rent out property, managing needy tenants can be tricky. However, by properly laying out the rules and guidelines of maintenance requests early, or by employing the help of a property management company, you can effectively handle tenants’ issues and make renting pleasant for all parties involved.
Marijuana Pittsburg CA

On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 by a margin of 56-44 percent. With the passage of this binding referendum, possession of up to 28.5 grams (slightly more than one ounce) of marijuana became legal for those at least 21 years old. Also, those of sufficient age are permitted to cultivate as many as six marijuana plants as long as they are retained for personal use only.

Voters in Nevada and Massachusetts also legalized recreational marijuana use on Election Day. The New York Times notes that recreational use of marijuana by those at least 21 years old is now legal for more than 20 percent of the U.S. population.

Marijuana and Landlord-Tenant Rights

What are the implications of Proposition 64 for California landlord-tenant rights?

Landlord’s Right to Prohibit Use

Importantly, California landlords still have the right to forbid the use of marijuana on their property. They also have the right to prohibit the cultivation of marijuana plants. However, such prohibitions must be properly addressed in the lease agreement, just like “no pets” and “no tobacco use” clauses.

Tenant’s Right to Quiet Enjoyment

When leases do not prohibit marijuana use, property owners may have to deal with conflicting tenant rights when other renters complain of the smell or possible health consequences of inhaling secondhand smoke. Tenants generally have a “Right to Quiet Enjoyment” whether it is noted in a lease or not. Loud noises, bad odors, smoke, excessive dust and high temperatures are some elements which may interfere with this right.

At the same time, a tenant smoking pot legally may counter that he/she has a right to quiet enjoyment of marijuana.

Resolving Disputes

Ideally, a landlord or property manager will find practical solutions that satisfy all parties. Given the expense and uncertainty of legal action, most landlords avoid eviction whenever possible.

Practical Solutions

If tenants have competing legal claims, a landlord might try to resolve the issue of objectionable odors by suggesting that:

  • The marijuana user shifts to consumption of the substance in food or through the use of a vaporizer.
  • The tenant use a quality air filter with sufficient air-exchange capability.
  • The tenant closes windows when smoking marijuana.
  • Marijuana use be confined to areas near appropriate windows or doorways that facilitate ventilation.
When the use of air filtration is a practical option, a landlord might even consider the purchase of a filter to help resolve the issue.

Evictions and Just Cause

As a final option, the conflicting rights of marijuana users and other tenants may lead to an eviction action. However, it is important that a landlord have “just cause” when commencing an eviction. When there is a valid fixed-term lease prohibiting marijuana use, action is possible with a three-day notice to either correct a lease violation or move out.

Proposition 64 adds a class of recreational marijuana users in a state where there are also a group of medical marijuana users. The rights of medical marijuana users in light of Proposition 64 are not entirely clear, and different courts might adjudicate cases in different ways. Fair housing and anti-discrimination laws may come into play in some cases. It is advisable to consult with an attorney when tenants complain about another tenant using medical marijuana.

Lease Limitations

Although a fixed-term lease is a binding contract, not all terms of a lease are necessarily legal and binding. Sometimes, a tenant will dispute an eviction by arguing that certain lease clauses are not legal. For example, the exact language is important in no smoking clauses. When only tobacco products are referenced, there is no implied prohibition of marijuana use.

Since marijuana possession is still against federal law, lease provisions that prohibit all violations of state and federal laws might be used to evict a pot smoker. Also, even with the passage of Proposition 64, possession of more than one ounce remains illegal. Possession for recreational use by those under the age of 21 is also illegal.

Given the provisions of Proposition 64, landlords are well-advised to explicitly address marijuana use in their leases. An attorney focused on relevant areas of the law can work to draft lease clauses that are legal and enforceable. The preceding information is strictly informational and should not be construed as legal advice.

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Pittsburg is located along the southern shore of Suisun Bay in the East Bay area. Approximately 68,000 people live in this vibrant, growing community. Whether you need a real estate agent in Pittsburg, CA, or property management in 94565, look to Wolfgang Property Management. We also specialize in residential real estate investing services and Pittsburg, CA, homes for rent.

This is a continuation of our landlord education blog series and today we are talking about some of the most common mistakes we see landlords make in Contra Costa County when it comes to taking care of their rental properties.

Tenant Screening

If you have watched our other videos, you know that not properly screening tenants is one of the biggest mistake landlords make. Complete your due diligence and run a detailed credit and background check. More importantly, make sure you use the same process for every single applicant. If you don’t do that, you’ll find yourself in hot water.

Security Deposits

Tenants who don’t have the money for a security deposit, or want to make payments towards the security deposit, are a bad idea. If a tenant doesn’t have the full security deposit before moving into your property, I guarantee you’ll have a hard time collecting rent. Don’t accept anything less than 100 percent of a security deposit.

Unlicensed Vendors

Another big mistake is using unlicensed vendors to work on your property. This may save you a couple of bucks in maintenance costs, but in the long run, it costs you so much more. Either you’ll find the work was not done correctly or the materials are not holding up. You’ll need to change the carpet between every single tenant or have the same job done again. Or, something will happen and a tenant will get hurt and sue you. You’ll find yourself in court, where you’ll have to admit to using someone without a contractor’s license. Don’t work with vendors who are unlicensed.

Renting to a Friend

It might seem like a good idea to rent to someone you know; a friend or a coworker or a family member. You know them, so you assume they will take good care of your property. But what happens when they stop paying rent and you have to evict? That will get awkward and your friendship will be dead. Don’t mix business with friendship or business with family. It’s always best to rent to someone you don’t know. Relationships stay intact and there are no hard feelings. You don’t want to sit across the table at Christmas dinner from a cousin you had to evict from your property.

Smart Improvements

Another huge mistake is not making smart improvements. For example, a lot of landlords will get excited about buying rental property with a swimming pool. That’s not a wise improvement or amenity. Not only does it add an extra expense which will cut into your cash on cash return, you’ll also have a lot more liability at your property. What if tenant’s child drowns? If you think you’re not responsible, remember this is California and you need to protect yourself. Landlords will install granite countertops and expect an extra $200 in rent per month. The rental market doesn’t think that way. The only things you should consider are the durability of the improvement and whether it will help you collect a higher rent every month.


6 Common Mistakes California Landlords Make When Renting Out Their HomeSome landlords will serve a Three Day Notice and hope it was served correctly. However, if you accept a partial payment after serving that Notice, the eviction process stops. You have to start all over again. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t take partial payments; you just need to know the ramifications.

These are some common mistakes. If you want to avoid them, please contact us at Bruce Croskey Real Estate, and we’d be happy to share our expertise with you.

Today we are talking about something we all hate to deal with, and that’s evictions. Our blog will provide an introduction to the topic. We aren’t attorneys, so I’m not giving you any legal advice, but we are sharing some tips on how to deal with tenants who need to be evicted.

When a tenant isn’t paying rent, you often find yourself with no choice but to evict. This is one of the most common reasons to evict someone. The other reason is Cure or Quit, when there is a lease violation that needs to be dealt with. You give the tenant time to make necessary corrections and if they don’t they get evicted. However, unpaid rent is always the most common reason for eviction.

Rent is due on the first of the month. If it doesn’t come in, there could be a five day grace period in the lease. When the grace period comes and goes, and late fee goes into effect and you don’t hear from your tenant, you probably start to get nervous about the nonpayment.

If you go online for information, you will probably read that the first step is to serve a Three Day Notice. So you Google it and find a blank form and then you post it on the property and you think you’ve served a valid Three Day Notice. Not necessarily. In California, there are strict requirements on what you have to do with a proper Three Day Notice. If you aren’t compliant, your eviction will be thrown out when you file in court. Don’t waste that time. Use a Three Day Notice that is valid in California and includes the proper wording.

A common thing that goes wrong is for landlords to include late fees and utilities that are owed. We understand you want all your money, but only the outstanding rent can go on a Three Day Notice. Put the rent owed and the date range for which it’s overdue. For example, you might say from December 1 to December 31, $1,400 is outstanding. There are other things required, but this mistake is usually the most common. Don’t tack on additional fees.

Next, you’re going to serve the Notice. Hiring a process server will make it easy but if you want to do it yourself, go to the property and knock on the door. If the tenant is home, hand-deliver the Three Day Notice and ask them to read it, then walk away. If someone other than the tenant answers, you need to make sure it’s a person who is over 18 and mentally capable. If the person seems capable of accepting the Notice, get the individual’s name and age and as much information as possible on this person. Document who received the Notice at the property. If no one answers, tape the Notice on the front door. You then need to mail a copy of the Notice to the tenant. We recommend you do it via certified mail with a return receipt. This is not legally required but again, the documentation helps. Fill out a proof of service. Once you have all that, if the tenant still doesn’t pay the overdue rent, go to court and start the Unlawful Detainer Process.

Eviction 101 How to Get Rid of Your Terrible Pittsburg TenantWe suggest using a real estate attorney. California is very tenant-friendly, so as a landlord you need to use every resource available to make sure everything is perfect. We have qualified attorneys on retainer and we let the experts handle what they know best. With an eviction, you don’t want to waste time. You want to get the tenant out not because you’re a bad person, but because you’re in a business and you want to get paid for providing housing to your tenant.

This is a very general overview of a complicated process. If you have any questions about eviction, please contact us at Wolfgang Property Management. We often help landlords who have been managing properties by themselves and then don’t know what to do when the rent stops coming in. We can step in and help you out.

There are a lot of homes for sale out there in Contra Costa County that are million dollar listings and if you take a look at them, you’ll see outstanding videos and pictures and websites. They make these houses look absolutely amazing. The rooms look huge, and the pictures are bright and colorful. The videos are clear and easy to follow.

All these million dollar listings made me think: why shouldn’t the houses in Pittsburg have that too?

The houses you and I live in ought to have million dollar presentations as well, and we can make this happen. Video is the most important part of your marketing strategy. According to statistics, 98 percent of people begin their home search on the Internet. When they get online, they immediate watch a property’s video. Your video has to make the rooms in your house look massive and your property has to look beautiful, inside and out. This is your opportunity to really spotlight what you know your property is, even if the general public doesn’t know it yet.

Videos need to have depth, with rich colors and eye-catching details. Imagine the cover of a magazine; you want your home to look like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens.

At Bruce Croskey Real Estate, we take marketing very seriously. A lot of agents in this area snap a couple of pictures with their iPhones and then put the listing on the MLS. That listing then goes out to the Internet with bad pictures, and a valuable opportunity is lost. Your property deserves more and our community deserves more.

The real estate market in Pittsburg is excellent. It’s an ideal setting to establish a first-class web presence and to market great One Simple Way to Get Million Dollar Listings on Your Pittsburg Homeproperties with outstanding videos and pictures. This is a community we are proud of, and we know your house is valuable. If you’d like to work together to get it sold, contact us at Croskey Real Estate.

Today we’re talking about how to determine a fair price for your rental property. One disclaimer: renting to just anyone is not a good idea. Even if someone promises you more than what you were going to rent it for, or they want to pre-pay their rent 12 months in advance, you still want to make sure you have a quality tenant. No prepaid rent or higher amount is worth having a property that’s damaged. Evicting tenants will be time consuming and expensive, so regardless of the price you attach to the home, make sure you do your tenant screening and get a high quality tenant in your home.

Pricing and Vacancy

A property that is listed with a price that’s too high will result in a long vacancy. Whether you listed your property on the Internet or there’s just a sign in the yard, if you aren’t getting phone calls within the first seven days, you know something is wrong. More than likely, the home is overpriced. When you overprice by $100 or $200, the property will remain vacant for two or three months and you’ll lose whatever profit you were hoping to gain with that price anyway.

Pricing Data

Instead of putting any price that you’re hoping to get on your property, you want to collect data to determine the proper price and get it rented quickly. This is where it’s an advantage to work with a professional property manager. We have real data at our disposal to determine the right price. Our rental portfolio of the properties we manage will tell us what homes in your area are renting for. That sampling will give you a gauge for what the market will pay. You can find out what the average price is for a two bedroom, three bedroom, a townhouse, a condo or even a large estate. A property manager has access to information that will demonstrate how to price your home.

As an independent landlord, you may not have access to that information. You can go to larger real estate websites that provide value estimates. Those are close, but not entirely accurate. Remember that even a $25 or $50 dollar difference will change how quickly you get the home rented.

How to Set the Best Home Rental Price Tips and Tricks from an Antioch Property ManagerIf you have any questions, or you need help pricing your own rental property, please contact us at Wolfgang Property Management, and we’d be glad to offer assistance.

Today we’re talking about what you should expect to pay in Contra Costa County for property management services. There is a wide range of fees being charged by different companies. They are between four percent and 10 percent, generally. A landlord might be wondering about the difference, and it’s important to understand because your management fee is part of the expenses you pay to maintain your investment property.

Companies that charge a very low monthly management fee also have a lot of additional charges. You need to know what those additional fees are before you get excited about a low management fee. They might charge a fee to put a tenant in the property. This is often called a leasing fee or a placement fee. That might be 25 percent of a month’s rent, or 50 percent or even 100 percent of a month’s rent. Some companies will charge you six percent of a full year’s rent.

When you have a company with a low management fee, you should also look for mark ups on repairs and invoices against the property. They will add two percent to the invoice to cover supervising the improvements to your property.

Ask a property manager if they charge to serve Three Day Notices, if they charge for invoices, and if there is a fee to receive rent electronically. Some companies will charge a renewal fee. When a tenant’s lease expires, that tenant can leave, stay month to month or renew the lease. The process of renewal does take some work, so there might be a renewal fee. At Bruce Croskey, we do not charge a renewal fee. We are happy to have tenants who want to stay and we don’t like having tenant turnover.

Another fee you might come across is the startup fee. That is basically a payment to get your file started and all your systems in place. We don’t charge this fee at Bruce Croskey either.

Don’t confuse all these fees with your reserves. Reserves are in place to fund your trust account so there is money to take care of any problems you may have in the middle of the month. If something breaks between rent cycles, you want to know there are funds to cover the repair.

What Does Property Management Cost in Contra Costa County Antioch Landlord EducationWhen you’re getting quotes for management services, make sure you know what is included and what will come with an extra charge. If you have questions, or you’d like to know more about our fee structure, please contact us at Wolfgang Property Management.