Q. What owner fees are charged by North County Property Group?
Q: Are there any upfront fees to start with North County Property Group?
A: NO CASH OUT OF POCKET is required to start the process with any of our programs... we get our fees only when we find acceptable renters, we have moved them into the property, and the rent is collected. There are NO upfront fees or start-up costs to you. The only exception to this is if we are asked by an owner to manage home improvement projects to make their home “rent ready”.
Q: Who establishes the monthly rental rate for my property?
A: North County Property Group will provide a rental market analysis to estimate and recommend the proper rent rate for your home based on similar homes in your area. We will not go live with your listing unit the rental rate is agreed by you. While we strive to rent your property at a rate to maximize your income, it is sometimes necessary to make rent rate adjustments to achieve the property level of market attention. To assure your property is rented quickly, if the property is not generating significant interest and has not yet rented, we will initiate rent reductions in the following sequence: 1) After 10 days, 3% reduction from initial listing rental rate; 2) after the next 10 days, another 3% reduction; 30+ days, another 4% reduction. Any further reductions would be done only after collaboration with the property owner.
Q: How is rent collected and when do I get distribution of my owner funds?
A: North County Property Group handles the collection of rent monthly from the tenant by check, online bank payment through our tenant portal, or credit card. The rent is deposited into the North County Property Group Broker Trust Account, then dispersed to you after we take our fees and expenses. You'll get a monthly statement on all financial activity related to your property and your owner disbursement by the 10th day of each month after the closing of our monthly accounting cycle. These reports are available to you online at any time through the Owners Portal on the NCPG website, so you can keep up on what's going on at any time.
Q: What steps do you take to get my property rented?
A: This is an age of new online marketing tools and social media to promote properties. North County Property Group leverages all methods through our exclusive 10-Point Marketing Program. First, we take professional quality photographs, produce a narrated virtual tour video, and write an appealing description of your property to create a top-notch rental listing. We get your property marketed quickly through our company website, online rental sites such as Zillow and Realtor.com, San Diego’s Multiple Listing Service, social media, outbound email campaigns, signage, broker and corporate networking and other actions to fill vacancies as quickly as possible.
Q: How do you respond to rental inquiries and schedule showings?
A: We receive rental inquiries from prospective tenants through many disparate sources (telephone, email, online rental sites, broker referrals, texts, walk-ins, etc.). We have an advanced system in place to capture all inquiries in our data base and respond quickly to each one:
- Leasing Department Call Center: Our leasing department is open and available to take calls every day (Monday – Friday 9am – 8pm and Weekends 9am – 5pm), staffed by a team ready to discuss available rental properties with interested parties and perform initial tenant screenings.
- Email Autoresponder: Our advanced marketing system captures every online inquiry, automatically adds it to our database with a tag for the specific property and sends an autoresponder email with essential information pertaining to your property with instructions on how to schedule a showing. The autoresponder email is critical to providing a rapid reply since many inquiries come in after normal business hours.
- Scheduling Showings Online: All our listings, response emails, and phone interaction provide instructions to schedule a showing online at a time convenient to the prospective renter. Available time slots for viewing the property are visible through a web interface to schedule a showing at a time convenient to them with a click of the mouse. This adds a high degree of efficiency since there is no back and forth calling to select and confirm a time for the showing.
- Leasing Manager Follow Up: Each morning, our Leasing Manager starts the day on the phone and in email following up with prospective tenants who have previously inquired. This provides the full follow up loop to make sure we respond quickly and don’t miss any opportunities to get your property rented!
Q: Will North County Property Group keep me updated regularly on the progress and status of getting my property rented?
A: Yes, we provide you with access to an exclusive North County Property Group Listing Tracker Dashboard when your property is vacant and actively listed. The Listing Tracker is updated every Friday and delivered by email with a link to a graphical analysis dashboard specific to your property. The dashboard details the inquiry and lead volume, number of interactions with prospective tenants, scheduled showings, number of rental applications received, and listing performance within the context of days on market.
Q: Does North County Property Group provide any guarantees to its clients?
A: Yes! We offer several guarantees to keep us on our toes and assure you that we are always working hard to please. See the “Our Guarantees” page on our company website for a full list and explanation of our guarantees: https://www.ncpropertygroup.com/guarantees
Q: Does North County Property Group make use of lock boxes to assist in property showings?
A: Yes, but only in cases when a property is vacant. If the owner or tenant is still residing at the property, lock boxes will not be used. Under certain conditions and when a property meets specific criteria, we utilize “self-access lock boxes” which allow Realtors and prescreened/prequalified prospective tenants who have provided valid identification to have access to a property for viewing by themselves. Self-access showings are within a very limited time window utilizing unique access codes. This is very effective in helping us get your property rented quickly. During periods of self-show activity, NCPG makes regular visits to the property to make sure it is locked, safe, and secure.
Q: How do you screen prospective tenants?
A: Our tenant screening process is quite thorough and diligent. Each interested renter to complete a rental application and agree to a background and credit check. We obtain a credit, criminal and eviction history background report on each applicant. We also, contact previous landlords for rental references, and verify current employment as well as bank statements. We work with our owners directly to review the prospective applicants and make the best choice to fit your needs and the amenities of the property.
Q: What is North County Property Group’s Pet Policy?
A: Over two-thirds of all rental applicants will have a pet(s). When allowed in a rental home, we want our property owners to feel comfortable that the pet(s) has been screened, vetted, and approved by our property management team. All pet/animals will be subject to a separate pet screening which requires the prospective to provide a photo of the pet/animal, name of breed, weight, veterinarian and vaccine information, age of pet, as well as other information requested by our partnership with PetScreening.com. Various dog breeds such as Pit Bull Terrier may be cause for immediate rejection. No aquariums larger than 10 gallons will be allowed. No wild cats (non-domestic breeds), ferrets, reptiles or rodents of any kind are permitted. We do not charge a separate pet deposit. We do, however, charge monthly pet rent of $50 ($75 if there are two pets) which is retained by North County Property Group as part of our Pet Guarantee. We are required to give special consideration to Service Animals that are registered and certified to assist a tenant with special medical or emotional needs (proper and current documentation will be required for verification as part of the pet screening process). As a standard policy, North County Property Group provide reasonable accommodations and follows HUD guidelines regarding assistance animals (FHEO-2013-01, Issued: April 25, 2013).
Q: How will mail service be handled at my property?
A: We advise all our property owners to forward their personal mail to their permanent or new address. This can be done quickly and easily at the following US Postal Service website: https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm
North County Property Group and tenants cannot be responsible for mail or package delivery expected by the owner that is delivered to the property. Owners of properties which have a locked mailbox in place for mail service will need to provide a mailbox key for the tenant. (mail key for short term vacation renters may be optional at the discretion of the property owner).
Q: Are we locked into a long term contract with North County Property Group?
A: There is NO long term commitment on your part. We're highly service-oriented and confident you will be pleased with our performance. If for whatever reason you are not satisfied you can discontinue our services at any time after the first month on 30-day notice. To assure that there is only one property manager at a time handling a property, however, our agreement is exclusive in nature while under contract.
Q: Can North County Property Group help me with improvements/repairs to get my property “rent ready”?
A: Yes, we have an extensive approved vendor list of subcontractors and vendors for almost any project to get your home ready to rent. Examples of common improvements and repairs that may be needed in advance of listing are painters, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, handymen, carpet/flooring, etc. In such cases, we are working to get these items completed before being paid anything for the ongoing property management as a percentage of rent. Our project management fees for prepping the home is a 15% margin on the advance improvements/repairs we manage to make your home "rent ready". After we have a tenant in the home there is no markup charged by North County Property Group for ongoing maintenance items (vendor invoices are passed through and charged at vendor cost). There is no problem, of course, if you choose to handle the improvement/repair items yourself or hire your own people to do the work.
Q: Can I rent my property if I am in default on my mortgage?
A: No. North County Property Group requires that all property owners provide assurance that mortgages, taxes, insurance and any HOA dues are current and are not in default. Also, we require the assurance that the property is not in foreclosure or pending foreclosure action.
Q: How is prorated rent handled if a tenant moves in part way through the first month?
A: North County Property Group utilizes the “2nd month proration” method of accounting in regard to the rent due in the first month. This method requires payment of a full month’s rent at the beginning of the tenancy. This provides extra security for our property owners and allows us to pay all relevant leasing fees and maintenance at tenant move-in. North County Property Group then prorates rent for the 2nd month based on their actual move in date based on a 30-day month. For example, if a tenant moves in on the 10th of the month, their first month rent due will be a full one month’s rent. The second month will then be prorated for the 20 days of rent. Each month thereafter, the rent is due on the first.
Q: Who holds the tenant’s security deposit and prepaid rent?
A: North County Property Group holds security deposits and prepaid rent in our Broker Trust Account for safe keeping as regulated by California law. By holding the security deposit ourselves, it makes the move-out process with the tenant easier when it comes time to reconcile any necessary cleaning fees, repair, and the subsequent security deposit disposition.
Q: What charges can be taken from a tenant’s security deposit?
A: California law specifically allows us to use a security deposit for four purposes:
- For unpaid rent;
- For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out, but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in;
- For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant's guests; and
- If the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings,
or other items of personal property (including keys), other than because of normal wear and tear.
We can withhold from the security deposit only those amounts that are reasonably necessary for these purposes. The security deposit cannot be used for repairing defects that existed at the property before a tenant moved in, for conditions caused by normal wear and tear during the tenancy or previous tenancies, or for cleaning a rental unit that is as clean as it was when a tenant moved in.
Q: What is the “useful life” rule pertaining to security deposit deductions?
A: The method of calculating a security deposit deduction for repair or replacement of an item in a rental home prorates the total cost of the repair or replacement such that the tenant pays only an amount relative to the remaining useful life of the item that the tenant has damaged. For example, suppose a tenant has damaged an eight-year-old carpet that had a life expectancy of ten years, and that a replacement carpet of similar quality would cost $1,000. We could properly charge only $200 for the two years' worth of life (use) that would have remained if the tenant had not damaged the carpet. All fixtures, appliances, furnishings, etc. in a home have a defined useful life.
Q: Who facilitates the Security Deposit Disposition?
A: North County Property Group will handle the security deposit disposition with tenants that we screened and moved into a property. We utilize a thorough report that is completed upon moving in, which includes photographic evidence to reference the properties former condition. In addition, we are experts in tenant-landlord laws which determine what can legally be deducted. Within our Property Management Agreement, you are granting us the authority to do this on your behalf. North County Property Group reserves the right and authority to, at any point in time and at our discretion, turn over the security deposit to the owner who will then be personally responsible for the security deposit disposition. This may happen in rare cases in which:
- The owner disputes what North County Property Group states are illegal deductions as it pertains to California landlord-tenant law and demands additional funds to be deducted from the security deposit.
- Our management agreement is being terminated on the same day that the lease agreement with the tenants is also being terminated.
Q: What is the “Maintenance Limit” as it related to property management?
A: North County Property Group shall obtain prior approval for any expenditure over the maintenance limit (typically set at $250). Any minor items below the maintenance limit will be resolved using our own best judgement. The only exceptions would be when emergency action is needed to protect the property or the well-being of the tenant.
Q: Are there any mandatory property maintenance items you will perform at my property?
A: Yes, any ongoing maintenance required to keep the property in habitable condition will of course be required. In addition, there are two items maintenance items that will be conducted at each property as a standard practice:
- HVAC System Check: As a standard annual item, heating and air conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, will be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year by a license professional. Such checks are necessary for both tenant safety and to assure efficient operation of the system itself. Not getting systems checked, in addition to creating tenant safety concerns, may lead to stress on the system itself and decrease in its lifespan. One of our preferred HVAC conducts the annual inspection to include the following:
- Inspect the thermostat, wiring, and burners/heat strips
- Clean the blower compartment
- Clean or change Air Filters
- Check the heat exchanger/ignition
- Check the cooling system and freon levels if A/C is installed at the property
- Rekey and Smoke/Carbon Detector Testing: Also, as a standard item, a rekey and smoke/carbon detector testing will be conducted at each property after a tenant move-out and turnover.
Q: What are “Owner Reserves” and how are they managed?
A: This is an amount (typically $500) of the property owner’s funds that North County Property Group holds in our broker trust account as contingency funds for any repairs, daily obligations, maintenance issues, and emergencies that may occur at the property over the course of the given month. The reserve is funded upon receipt of the first month’s rent and is replenished each month when rent is received to offset expense items during the previous month. If expenses should exceed the $500 reserve, or if North County Property Group needs funds for repairs which are to be completed before the tenant move-in date, an owner deposit will be required to pay for such expenses.
Q: What insurance coverage should I have on my property?
A: We advise all our property owners to consult with their insurance agent to be certain they are carrying an adequate landlord/rental dwelling insurance policy. We require proof of proper insurance and that North County Property Group be named as additionally insured (this is standard procedure with insurance companies and not at additional cost to the property owner).
Q: What are the tax implications of renting my property?
A: We advise our property owners to consult with their tax accountant regarding the reporting and handling of rent income on their annual tax return. North County Property Group is legally obligated to report the gross rental income distributed to you on a 1099 form to the IRS and as such will need your social security number for reporting purposes.
Q: Are tax requirements different if I live outside the State of California?
A: Yes, if a property owner resides outside of the State of California, North County Property Group is required to withhold 7% of the rent collected and submit it to the state tax authorities on a quarterly basis. Withholdings are submitted quarterly by North County Property Group on the property owner’s behalf to the California Franchise Tax Board with a FTB Form 592, Quarterly Nonresident Withholding Statement. Before January 31st of the following calendar year, we provide the property owner with a statement showing the total amount of income subject to withholding and the total amount withheld, using a FTB Form 592-B, Nonresident Withholding Tax Statement.
Q: Am I able to sell my property while a tenant is in possession of my property?
A: Yes, the sale of your property is legal while your property is being rented by a tenant, however, you must do so in a way that does not unlawfully affect your tenants’ rights. North County Property Group is an expert in real estate sales with tenant in possession. We can list your property, and facilitating the sale from beginning to end, while simultaneously keeping positive relationships with your current tenants. Because our property management agreement provides for an exclusive agency relationship, you may not hire another Agent to facilitate the sale of your property until your agreement with North County Property Group is concluded or terminated with proper 30-day notice.
Q: Is there anything I need to disclose about my property?
A: Yes, CA law requires property owners to disclose any of the following if they apply to their property:
- Lead-based paint
- Bed Bugs
- Water submeters
- Carbon monoxide detector not installed
- Smoke alarms not installed
- Water heater not braced
- Prop. 65 Warning notice not posted
- Unsafe pool/spa drain cover or lack of other pool safety measures
- Death on the property in the past 3 years
Q: What differentiates North County Property Group from other property management companies?
A: The focus of North County Property Group is all about the individual property owner and maximizing your property value and income. Paramount in this “customer first” approach is the work ethic and service required to be dedicated to the interests of our clients. We offer a high degree of value through our two property management programs, Standard and Premium, and also offer many guarantees regarding our performance and protection of your home. We’re dedicated to modern and up-to-date marketing and tenant screening techniques, offer a fully automated online Owner Portal where clients can track their property performance and download owner statements or property reports. Our Tenant Portal makes it easy for renters to pay their rent online and submit work order requests. Finally, as a licensed general contractor, NCPG can provide a broad set of service offerings to keep an eye on your property, maintain it in top condition and make sure the property maximizes its value and income.
Q: Does North County Property Group ever make mistakes?
A: Yes! We’re human after all (smile). If we’ve done something wrong or made a mistake, however, we are the first to admit it and will work hard to get it corrected!
Q: Does North County Property Group only service North County with its property management services?
A: No, when the company was founded in the year 2000, we opened our main office in Del Mar and it was natural at that time to focus primarily on North County. Today, we have expanded our operation with two additional offices within the City of San Diego to support our San Diego Property Management services.
- Our Central San Diego office is located in the Golden Triangle area at: 4445 Eastgate Mall Ste 200, San Diego, CA 92121-1979
- Our Downtown San Diego office is located in the Emerald Plaza at: 402 W Broadway Ste 400, San Diego, CA 92101-3554
- Our Corporate Headquarters continues to be located in the Del Mar area at: 445 Marine View Ave Ste 240, Del Mar, CA 92014-3926