Q: I hired a property management company to take over managing my properties. What do I need to do to let my tenants know that I will not be managing my properties anymore?
A: You are required to serve your tenants with a notice of change of ownership/management every time ownership or management changes. You will need to coordinate with your property management company to determine who is going to serve notice to your tenants.
This notice must include the name, telephone number, and street address for personal service of each of the following:
1) the authorized manager
2) the agent for service of process of the owner, and
3) any person or entity to make rent payments to
The notice must also include the forms in which payments are to be made. If rent payments are made personally, then the notice must also include the hours to make payment. Alternatively, the lease or rental agreement can provide information to the tenant to make electronic payment or payment to a bank within five miles of the unit.
Q: I just purchased an apartment building. Can I wait to serve a notice of change of ownership/management until I hire a property management company?
A: It depends. You are required to serve your tenants with a notice of change of ownership/management within 15 days of a purchase or change in management. If you fail to provide proper notice to your tenants, then you cannot serve a notice or file an eviction for non-payment of rent that accrued during the period of non-compliance. This also applies to any period of time that the prior owner was not in compliance. Additionally, this requirement applies to all oral agreements.
Q: I own an apartment building and want to hire a property management company to manage my units. Does the new property manager need to have a certificate or licensing to manage properties?
A: It depends. Some property managers are not required to have a certificate or license. For example, an owner of the unit or an on-site property manager do not need a certificate or license to review rental applications, show/lease the property, and collect money for the deposit, rent, and utilities. However, off-site property managers must be employed and supervised by a licensed California Real Estate Broker to provide these services.
Q: I have a property management company manage my property. A tenant has sued the property management company and the management company wants to get me involved. Do I have any responsibility as the owner?
A: Yes, as the owner of the property you may be held responsible for the actions of your property management company in a lawsuit by the tenants. You should review your contract with the property management company and consult with an attorney before taking any action.
Q: I hired a property management company to manage my properties. Am I required to sign a written agreement with the company?
A: No, however, most property management companies that work under a licensed California Real Estate Broker will require a written agreement. An agreement is beneficial because it defines specific expectations for both parties. If you are concerned with provisions in a proposed agreement, then you should consult an attorney before signing the contract.
Q: I am a landlord and my tenant stopped paying rent but I don’t want to be involved in the eviction process. Can my property management company file evictions on my behalf?
A: Yes, a property manager may file evictions on behalf of the owner. However, the property management agreement must include a provision that gives the property manager a right to possession and authorizes the property manager to file the action.
Attorney Franco Simone, of Simone & Associates and The Landlords’ Legal Center has been doing evictions for over 20 years. He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego. Mr. Simone’s office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Tel: 619-235-6180, website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email [email protected].