Hello Everone! My name is Sean I am in escrow on my first TRI-Plex. Due to the fact this will be a house hack for my wife and I, We will have to give a 60 day notice to vacate before we can move in. I am starting to realize how unprepared I am to become a landlord. I read “The Book on Managing Rental Properties” and got a lot of really helpful information there. I live in California and was wondering if there is any specific tips I needed to know just getting started for the first time becoming a landlord.
I have read in BP that California has rental laws that are favorable to tenants , you may want to research on that or find a good lawyer.
Most states' Attorney General publish a landlord tenant guide- it's best to find it and familiarize yourself with the laws and standards for CA. Obviously it is a tenant friendly state, but don't let that scare you. Education is the key. I'd suggest you start attending local REI meetings- you'll find some experienced landlords there who you can network with. Also, look up your local NARPM chapter- they will be your greatest ally. You won't qualify for membership, but you will find many experienced property managers there who know the local laws like the back of their hands.
It's essential that you understand fair housing laws- especially in a blue state.
Best of luck!
California is full of ridiculous regulation. A former client of mine owned two apartment complexes since 1980, over 300 apartments. They were always professionally managed and he did everything to abide by the law. An employee of the management company allegedly discriminated against someone in violation of Fair Housing. The owner and PM company were sued and it cost him nearly $500,000 and a couple years to defend against it. He "won" but immediately sold his properties and pulled every dime out of that state.
Two investors I work with have sold a combined total of ten properties in California and reinvested the money in Wyoming. There are many more making the same transition. I'm not saying this to scare you; I just want you to know the reality that California is not a forgiving place and you need to be careful.
The best book I'm aware of is "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" by NOLO. There is one version for 49 states and another specifically for California, which should tell you something. This guide is recommended because it's full of practical advice but, most importantly, it is updated every year with specific state laws. They not only guide you through the laws, they provide resources where you can read the law yourself. It also includes some common forms for you to use, like the lease agreement or pet addendum.
@Nathan G. is on point. California as NOT friendly to landlords. I (and my family) have been in the California market since the '60s. We have an exit strategy and have been slowly disposing of our inventory. All I suggest is that you be well aware of all the laws and ordinances before you do anything.
Below are a few informational links, samples, not all-inclusive.
There are organizations in California that will represent tenants in any landlord/tenant matter, and often at no cost to the tenant. I have dealt with these law firms and they enjoy what they do.