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. This is our Satisfaction Guarantee. 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. If the Property Management Agreement is terminated by Owner on 30-day notice after a Residential Lease Agreement has been signed with a Tenant, but within 4 months of the Tenant move-in date, compensation due and payable to Broker from Owner shall be no less than, cumulatively, the start-up and leasing fees which would have been due under the “Lease Only Program” ($250 start-up fee plus 50% of one month's rent)”. Details on the Lease Only Program fees are defined and outlined on the Broker’s website at: www.ncpropertygroup.com/pricing
. North County Property Group reserves the right to assign owner agreements, and lease agreements to another person or entity, who would then assume all obligations and liabilities of said agreement.
Q: Do you ever make changes to your program, policies, and pricing?
A: Businesses of all types in California must occasionally adjust to ever changing state compliance and regulatory requirements, tax/labor laws, and market fluctuations. While we do our best to absorb costs and avoid program/price changes, adjustments may occasionally be necessary to provide our clients with the best level of service they have come to expect. If the need should arise to make such a change in our program, policies, or pricing, we will be transparent about the adjustment by providing you with 30-day written notice with a full explanation of the changes.
Q: Can North County Property Group help me with improvements/repairs to get my property “rent ready”?
A: Yes, in addition to our license as a CA Real Estate Broker, we are also a licensed General Contractor with our own maintenance company, “MaintenanceSync”. 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 20% margin on the advance improvements/repairs we manage to make your home “rent ready”. 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 all deposits provided by tenants and owners in our Broker Trust Account for safe keeping as regulated by California law. By holding security and rent deposits 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. We offer two options to our tenants for Security Deposits. The traditional security deposit is calculated at 1x the rent and can increase based on credit. We hold onto the full amount in an escrow account until the tenant moves out. Any damages found at the time of move out will be taken out of this deposit. The second option is our security deposit replacement program. This option allows them to pay a monthly fee in lieu of the traditional deposit. They are still responsible for any damages at move out.
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 should I expect as reasonable costs to keep my property maintained?
A: Broker advises Owner to set aside his/her own maintenance reserves between 10-15% of owner distributions received for ongoing and unexpected maintenance purposes. Another good rule of thumb, according to the “one-percent rule”, is to set aside at least one-percent of your home's value every year for home maintenance. Using this logic, if your home is worth $450,000, you should set $375 a month for expected home maintenance and anticipate about $4,500 in repair costs during the year.
Q: What is the difference between property management and maintenance?
Maintenance is a necessary service that we must provide to deliver on the rest of our property management business services. It is a simple fact: if you want to own rental properties, you must have the understanding and financial resources to keep the rental home properly maintained. Just like maintaining your car, nobody likes to spend the money to do it, but it is a necessity to keeping a car running and performing safely. Our sister company, MaintenanceSync, provides us with a maintenance program that is hard to find from any one company. The objective is to provide value and a fair price, with a top level of service, but may not necessarily be the cheapest or absolute lowest cost.
- MaintenanceSync is available 24/7/365 for tenant emergencies.
- They are always staffed to take on any maintenance/repair task.
- Software systems and processes are in place to handle requests quickly and efficiently.
- They have the breadth of expertise, capacity, and vendor relationships to act quickly with minimal disruption for the property owner and tenant.
- Each tradesman is vetted professionally to confirm their level of experience, active license, and proper level of liability insurance.
- Allows owners to be “hands-off” and leave the heavy lifting to MaintenanceSync.
Q: How is maintenance handled at my property?
A: Wear and tear on a rental property is normal and should be expected over the course of a tenant’s lease agreement. To keep your rental home properly maintained, North County Property Group will facilitate regular maintenance of the property, as needed and necessary, on appliances and other home aspects such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, windows/screens and doors, garden and landscaping. Maintenance items spotted by North County Property Group or reported by the tenant are entered in our system as “work orders”, then forwarded to our licensed contractor and sister company, MaintenanceSync, for completion of the associated repairs. Invoices and charges related to such maintenance items will appear on your monthly owner statement, subtracted from your owner reserves or rent collected in the given month.
Q: What is the “Maintenance Limit” as it relates to property management?
A: North County Property Group shall obtain prior approval for any expenditure over the maintenance limit (typically set at $500). 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
- Change Air Filters (two times per year)
- 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: North County Property Group is the only property management company in San Diego County to be awarded with the three top designations by our industry association: The Residential Management Professional (RMP®), Master Property Manager (MPM®) AND the prestigious Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®). We deliver high-end San Diego property management based on 20+ years of experience, having designed our program to exceed your expectations, build trust and confidence, and maximize the value of your real estate assets. We further emphasize social responsibility through giving back to our community and the transparent ethics of a family-owned business. Our objective is to be the trusted advisor to protect your rental property investment, achieve your real estate financial goals, and free you of the time involved in being a landlord. If these values are important to you, then North County Property Group will be a good fit for your San Diego property management services!
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 to cover all of San Diego County with two offices 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 Corporate Headquarters continues to be located in the Del Mar area at: 445 Marine View Ave Ste 240, Del Mar, CA 92014-3926