LLC Property Management





Los Angeles Allowing Granny (In-Law) Units

As of January 1, 2017, the City of Los Angeles is taking applications from owners that want to apply for permits of granny units as long as their proposed second dwellings meet the standards imposed by the state. Los Angeles city officials are working on a set of local requirements that promise to be a bit stricter than those imposed by the state. On December 15, the City Planning Commission recommended new regulations for accessory dwellings to the City Council.

The city requirements would limit the size of accessory dwellings to 640 square feet or 50 percent of the square footage of the main house, whichever is larger, but with a maximum size of up to 1,200 square feet. The state requirements simply set a blanket limitation on the size of such units at 1,200 square feet. The LA-specific rules would considerably limit the possible scale of second units for many homeowners.

There are potential regulations that would prevent construction of such units on most properties in designated Hillside Areas. It’s unclear at this point how many homeowners will elect to build new units, but many affordable housing scholars have argued the development of even small numbers of these units can have numerous positive benefits on an area’s housing market.

A ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant last year halted the issuance of second unit permits, forcing some homeowners to freeze plans for backyard units. Those homeowners can get permits again now that the state rules are in place. Once the city requirements take effect, homeowners will likely have stricter guidelines to follow.

Ken Bernstein, the city's principal planner, believes the city has to balance the need for more affordable housing while protecting "the character of single-family neighborhoods."

Here is some more information  or

Help Prevent Unhappy Residents & Frivolous Lawsuits by Maintaining Your Property

unhappy person

We occasionally run into situations where we take over the management of a property and we find that the owner is frustrated with self-managing and the residents are frustrated with the ownership and in turn they are no longer happy with their living situation and their relationship has become quite toxic. When property managers end up in the middle it can be challenging at first but we eventually are able to quiet the situation and find out what the core issues are.  Many times the landlord is just tired of the constant calls and feels harassed, while the residents feel the landlord doesn’t care about them or the property.  The residents need to know that the ownership cares and values them at some level. Showing them that you care by keeping the property clean and well maintained is a great start.

The simple things like keeping the bushes trimmed so no one can hide behind them or keeping the lighting operating properly is a good start, but you really need to have a focus on all aspects of the common areas. We recommend doing a walkthrough inspection of the units every 6 months or so, check for dripping water, peeling paint, mold and all health and safety issues and making notes on each and every item as well as how it happened and when it will be repaired. The maintenance team needs to document when they did the repair and when it was completed and, if possible, snap a photo of the completed work that is time/date stamped.

Keeping ahead of maintenance issues can be daunting if you don’t have the right maintenance members, be sure to pick and choose your time wisely and you will save thousands of dollars in the long run.

The residents need to know how to put in a written work order that is available online, in the office or by email and be sure they know how long it will take you to process the order, do the inspection and address the issue so that everyone is happy. The better the communication you can provide the more likely it is that residents will help you take care of the place they live and your investment. 

How Will the New Earthquake Retrofitting Law Affect Apartment Owners?

The Westside of Los Angeles will be one of the areas hardest hit with the new law requiring the retrofitting of wood-frame apartment buildings to better withstand a major earthquake. Buildings with soft stories that often serve as tuck under parking spaces have been proven shaky and vulnerable during an earthquake. These soft story buildings are typically older properties and in need of retrofitting not just for safety reasons but also due to the fact that many of these properties make up a good portion of L.A.'s affordable housing inventory, and a good earthquake could wipe out much of our affordable housing.

The retrofitting will most likely be quite expensive for the owner, so the city Lawmakers are also looking into ways they can help the owners pay for the work. They are considering possible tax breaks or repaying a government subsidized loan through property taxes. Of concern is that a good percentage of these owners are elderly and have purchased these properties for their retirement and live in one of the units while renting the rest of the units to pay for their living expenses, so the Lawmakers are working diligently to make this a viable project.

See if your property is included:

Image: Evan - Creative Commons License

Common Notices Used In Managing Investment Property

Managing an investment property involves knowing when to send out notices in order to communicate with tenants and protect yourself legally. Whether you have a tenant who has failed to pay rent or need to let a tenant know about upcoming renovations, it’s important to know the required notices property managers and landlords send out.

Notice of Rent Increase:

This type of notice announces an upcoming rent increase that will take effect on a certain date. These notices must be sent to tenants between 30 and 60 days before the new rent takes effect, depending on state laws.

Offer of Renewal:

This notice lets tenants know that their lease will expire on a certain date and provides them with a renewal offer.

Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Personal Property:

This notice announces that tenants must pick up their personal property or it will be disposed of. Some states require advance notice, such as 30 days, while others do not.

Notice to Pay or Quit:

This type of notice gives tenants a certain number of days to pay rent that is overdue or risk having their lease terminated. The amount of time you give tenants to pay up varies by state.

Notice of Returned Payment:

This notice informs tenants that their rent payment was returned due to insufficient funds. It also typically includes a returned check fee that the tenant is responsible for paying.

Notice of Repairs:

This type of notice informs tenants that repairs or renovations will be made on the property on a certain day. It also lets tenants know about any outages that will occur, such as having the electricity shut off.

Notice to Enter:

With this type of notice, landlords let tenants know that they will be entering the property. Whether landlords are doing an inspection or checking on repairs, most states require this notice to be sent to tenants at least one day before visiting the property.

Notice of Lease Amendment: 

This notice informs tenants that there has been a change to their lease. If the change was negotiated between the landlord and tenant beforehand, this serves as a formal document stating that the lease has been amended.

Notice of Non-Renewal:

With this type of notice, landlords let tenants know that their lease is set to expire on a certain date and will not be up for renewal. It also includes a date by which tenants must vacate the property.

Unconditional Quit Notice: 

With this type of notice, landlords let tenants know that their lease is being terminated within a certain period of time for a specific reason, such as illegal activity or major property damage. Tenants do not have the opportunity to remedy the situation.

Notice to Cure or Quit: 

This notice gives tenants a certain number of days to fix a violation, such as having pets that are not allowed or unapproved roommates, or risk having their lease terminated. This only applies to violations of clauses or conditions included in the lease agreement.

Locksmith Scam Survival Guide: How to Protect Your Home and Family

Guest article by Mr. Rekey Locksmith

When shopping in a store, there shouldn’t be any surprises about how much you owe when the cashier rings up your purchase. Every item is marked with its price, and while it may not be how much you think you ought to have to spend, the price isn’t going to change from the time you pick it up in the store to the time you hand it to the cashier. 

You would never agree to pay four times more than the advertised price for an item, and a store could never get away with charging inconsistent prices. So why do people allow their locksmiths to do exactly the same thing?

Anyone who has seen the online ads for $10 or $15 locksmith services has probably wondered if those prices were too good to be true. The truth is they are, and they’re a scam. 95% of online locksmith ads are scams, and unreasonably low prices are often the way scammers catch people’s attention in order to score business.

No reputable locksmith could charge prices that low and remain in business because a locksmith’s fee has to cover the cost of equipment, labor, licensing, supplies, transportation, and any other operational costs. Around $100 is a reasonable price for residential lock-out assistance, not $10.

The worst part about these scammers is that they will provide you with questionable service at best and end up charging you more than their advertised price. It is not uncommon for scammers to jack up their prices by 400-500% after completing their work, and most people pay for lack of a better solution.  

The Locksmith Scam Survival Guide provided by Mr. Rekey locksmith equips you with the information you need to protect yourself from scammers. Don’t wait until you’re locked out of your house to find a locksmith you trust, so you can avoid being the next scam victim. 

Locksmith Inforgraphic

Future of LA Real Estate is in Building High-Density Projects

In Los Angeles, people are spending more time on the road because they are living farther away from where they work, due to high rents. The reason for this: supply and demand, there are not enough units being built to keep up with the number of people, particularly young professionals who make a decent income and want to live in an area close to where they work. Unfortunately, incomes have not kept up with rents and with dwellers devoting upwards of 30, 40 or even 50% of their monthly income to rental payments, effective solutions need to be in place, such as making more efficient use of existing real estate in the city, building micro-units and expanding our public transportation infrastructure to service dense areas – especially as taller structures are built.  The future of Los Angeles real estate is in building high-density projects, particularly multifamily and mixed-use developments. 

Los Angeles County is filled with old, one or two story apartment buildings. This is an inefficient use of space especially in highly dense areas such as Westwood, West LA, Brentwood, as well as the city of Santa Monica. Many of these multifamily structures have generous setbacks, carports & ground level parking – taking up valuable space on a plot of land. These buildings met the need for housing in the 1940s, 50s and 60s when the population was a fraction of what it is now. In addition, these areas were considered suburbs of Los Angeles when these neighborhoods were conceived and planned. These buildings have long outlived their use and need to be replaced with taller multifamily buildings, possibly a mixed-use development (with underground parking) if the location is on a busy street. In an era when these areas have blossomed from sleepy bedroom communities to centers of business and commerce, the development for higher density housing is imperative.

Furthermore, there needs to be a greater variety of units in these multifamily buildings of the future. Developers need to focus on building units that are smaller than the average apartment in Los Angeles. These are called micro-units and are extremely common in the major cities of Europe and Asia (such as Paris, London, Seoul and Tokyo) where densities are through the roof. The size of the average studio in the city is 524 square feet (SF), a 1-bedroom dwelling is 729 SF, and a 2-bedroom unit is 1,043 SF. If a building were constructed with micro-units that are a fraction of these sizes, many more units could be offered in a building, while still having a comfortable space for a person or a couple to share.

Every new multifamily building should not be composed of all micro-units, since more spacious units need to built for larger families or those with larger space requirements, but for single people, couples and perhaps small families with infants/kids, mini apartments could be a more convenient and affordable solution. This is especially true if they are located within walking distance to jobs, schools and retail/restaurants, thereby lessening car trips. Micro-units would command less expensive rents, mostly due to their size. For example, Luxe@Broadway is a 5 story micro-unit property in Santa Monica. It offers studios and 1 bedrooms from 362 SF to 440 SF and has convenient access to restaurants on the ground level, Third Street Promenade and the Expo Line. Rents range from $1,519 to $1,736, affordable for many working professionals.

While a micro-unit or multifamily unit is not for everyone, many will agree that by compacting units in multi-story structures, having places to shop and eat within walking distance – and increasing heavy-rail transit in dense areas – would reduce traffic congestion for everybody on the roads. Meanwhile, those who choose to live in micro-apartments will enjoy convenience while paying rent that is in line with their income. With the population of Los Angeles County projected to be at over 16 million people in 2050, the future of real estate (in LA and in every heavily populated city of the world) is in developing multi-story properties.

Image:  Tony Hoffarth - Creative Commons License

The Effects of Overbuilding a City

Having been in the real estate business in Southern California for over 25 years I have seen a lot of growth and redevelopment that have shaped our wonderful cities, but I am becoming growingly concerned of all the development that is slated over the next few years.  I realize that a lot of the development is replacing our older properties that no longer serve their intended purpose or useful life, but I have to ask, how many more mixed use properties with luxury units on top does this city really need?

In the case of Santa Monica, how many more boutique hotels need to be built?  I am in the real estate industry so I am all for a great new development that can enhance a community (if needed) and I am all for bringing an old tired property back to life but it seems we have a current mode of build for the sake of building.

Although most new developments require an environmental impact study, including increases in the traffic flow, I still question the long term effects on these cities allowing developments that may not be needed, or the current infrastructure cannot handle.  At a minimum this can lead to consequences, including traffic jams all hours of the day, an increase in crime, and pollution increases.  This can quickly turn a community from being a place that you want to live in to a place you just have to go and deal with.

The real estate cycle in Southern California is less damaging than other parts of the country so our investments tend to be less volatile.  However, when you have built more units than current demand dictates, you will have properties that will go dark and become an attraction for undesirable activities. Therefore, crime will spread to the neighboring properties.

I am an avid scuba diver and I have dived all around Southern California and when you are diving in our area’s beaches, you are amazed at the amount of trash that is already floating in our ocean. The added cars and population will only add to the amount of trash unless we figure out a process that we can help our environment.

I feel like I got on a bit on a soap box here but I am passionate about our cities and what we have created here and I hate to see over development cause damage. I know we have the opportunity to vote on some of these issues next month, so I encourage you to read up, get educated and head out to your voting place no matter your cause or position.

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