Dealing current times and old laws

4 Replies

How are owners still returning the deposits within 3 weeks these days? Do you find it challenging? 

I'm in Sacramento and having a hard time scheduling work within that time period- some of these guys are booked months ahead and the rest are not licensed

Hello Edit,

Your management firm should be assisting you with this and guide you with estimated costs from regularly used vendors. This can be done until the work is completed and a revision of the deposit is sent out. There are other guidelines that come along with this option and research should be done to make sure you are following them all. 

This is one very good reason to have a property management firms are worth the expense as the time you loose looking for vendors, scheduling, getting work done, can cost you more that your expense of management. I would be happy to discuss this more in detail with you if you are interested in learning more about management.

Best regards,  

@Edit B. you are not required to complete the repairs before returning the security deposit. You can use estimates if the repairs will take over 21 days. Per California Courts website:

  • Copies of receipts for the charges/deductions, unless repairs cost less than $126 or the tenant waived (gave up) his or her right to get the receipts. If the repairs cannot be finished within the 21-day period, the landlord can send the tenant a good faith estimate of the cost of repairs. Then within 14 days of the repairs being done, the landlord must send the tenant the receipts.

From a practical standpoint, waiting months to finish repairs is a problem for getting the property turned over and re-rented. Smaller landlords can struggle more with finding people to do work, because they don't have volume relationships with vendors. Of course a contractor will prioritize jobs with someone who continuously brings them work. Having a PM can help in this situation because they often have on-staff maintenance and they do high volume with contract workers, so they get priority. I have done my own work more than once, simply because I couldn't get someone there fast enough to support my turn over. We usually have tenants moving in the day tenants are moving out, so there is no time to wait.

One final consideration is improving your screening standards. The higher the applicant quality, the less likely there will be damage or repairs when they move out. You can also do pre-inspection when the tenant gives notice to look for damage will take more time to repair. That gives you 30 extra days to get work done.

@Edit B.

Hi Edit,

Great advice from above! If you feel the settlement cannot be complete within 21 days you’ll want to mail out a good faith estimate breaking down the anticipated charges. This will buy you some time but you’ll still want to hustle from that point to finalize everything.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or advice need on vendor recommendations, market rate information, or even advertising assistance to get your vacancy filled.

Thanks everyone for your advice here I think the key thing I learned here is that I can send a good faith estimate if the repairs are taking longer