Landlord's Learning Center- Documentation is Key to Minimizing Liability~

Property Manager with Investors Choice Property Management CAL BRE LIC# 01124954

It seems crazy to me, as a Sacramento Property Manager over the past 16+years, to hear that people are still making verbal agreements with their tenants.

We were hired by a Landlord last week to step in and take over a delinquency problem with an existing tenancy. When asked to produce documentation, we were provided with a handwritten piece of stained notebook paper with some scribble on it.

Basically, this tenant had befriended the Landlord and convinced her to let them rent the home on a month to month basis for $1000/month in the Rosemont area. Now, they were over 1 month behind on the rent.

When I approached the tenant, the story changed significantly. The tenant was claiming that the rental unit had habitability problems that were discussed repeatedly with the Landlord.

Neither the Landlord nor the Tenant had supporting documentation to back their claims. This is where property management can really make the difference.

A solid rental agreement sets the ground rules. Ours makes a point of laying out maintenance procedures, insisting on written requests for maintenance so that we have a complete record of all work done.

Verbal agreements, while technically binding, are difficult to defend if challenged in court. As it stands with the current client used in our example, her tenant could show up in court and claim anything they wanted- that the rent was less, that maintenance requests went unanswered, etc. A clear written record would have saved this Landlord a significant amount of legal hassle. Fortunately, she retained the services of a seasoned professional capable of handling this type of situation.

Investors Choice Property Management (ICPM) manages 100 single-family units with the care and diligence our Landlord clients deserve, in a manner that has them referring their friends, co-workers and family members. With over 16 years professional property management experience, our business is 95% word-of-mouth referral, we do NO Sales, and pay among the highest referral fees in the industry for management accounts. Visit our website at today for more details, and find out what we mean when we say:

“Experience Property Management the Way it Should Be.”


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Evelyn Panning
Property Connections Realty Inc. - Alturas, CA

In Modoc County owner/landlord/managers do pretty much that.  Simple little handwritten items and oh my the misunderstandings.  I assisted one of my sellers in getting a house rented -- it's been on the market for 2 years (it has some issues making it hard to finance) and the tenants were amazed at the volume of paperwork and the fact that we did a pre move in walk through documenting condition.  Subsequently, their other landlord kept calling me with issues with the tenants, complaining to high heaven.  All I could do is tell him to work directly with those tenants, I have no knowledge of his rental agreement and arrangements.  The tenants then started doing things with my sellers rental that were in clear violation of the agreement.  I pointed their attention to what they agreed to and it is amazing how easily we overcame issues.  In any real estate transaction, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT . . . .  ~ Evelyn

Nov 03, 2008 08:26 AM #1
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Thomas R. Martin Broker/Owner ICPM

Property Management the way it SHOULD be.
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