Bob discusses the importance of understanding California landlord-tenant laws with Ted Smith, the owner and principal at Ted Smith Law in San Diego, CA. Being a landlord or property manager in California requires awareness of specific federal and state laws as well as local ordinances pertaining to renting to tenants. Some of the common legal pitfalls include violating fair housing laws, security deposit charges, how much can be charged for a tenant screening, procedural timing on serving notices for ending tenancy or if a tenant is late on rent. There are also many disclosures regarding environmental hazards, property particulars, and even bedbugs. Failure to follow the proper legal protocol could lead to lengthy and expensive disputes with a tenant and possibly financial penalties. In this episode, Bob and Ted cover many of the key legal aspects pertaining to being a landlord and why individual homeowners with the desire to rent their property should consider hiring a property manager rather than trying to do it themselves. Ted also offers many legal insights and some important guidance on staying in compliance during the rental process. This episode is always available for listening, sharing, or download at Property Management Brainstorm.
A time-stamped, full transcript of Bob Preston's interview of Ted Smith, the owner and principal at Ted Smith Law in San Diego, CA is below.
Bob Preston: 00:49 Welcome, welcome. Welcome to the property management brainstorm podcast. I'm your host of the show, broadcasting from our studio at North County Property Group and Del Mar, California, and today we are going to talk landlord law, a hugely important topic when considering renting your property. And I have with me today Ted Smith, the principal at Ted Smith law here in San Diego and Ted has built a practice representing landlords and other real estate professionals and various processes of rental properties. And thank you for joining us Ted.
Ted Smith: 01:26 Thanks for having me. It's my pleasure to be here and thanks for the opportunity Bob.
Bob Preston: 01:30 You Bet. Well, ted, maybe we can start by you telling us briefly about yourself and your business.
Ted Smith: 01:35 Well, I started out 30 years ago. We built an idea, apparently unlawful detainers for landlords as a specialty. At that point in time in San Diego County, there were no lawyers that specialize in just one thing, representation of landlords in the eviction process, no tenants, and so we developed a program and a measure of customer service in the unlawful detainer area and general landlord tenant law lasted the test of time and so here we are 30 years later and I'm enjoying what I do.
Bob Preston: 02:06 Interesting. So how did you pick landlord law? I mean, what was it about that area of law that attracted you?
Ted Smith: 02:12 I have a property management background. My aunt, my mom owns rental properties back in the old days in San Diego County. Also, I was in the real estate business during law school and me and my partner at the time realized that our property management clients weren't going to be, are specialists in those days. And so I had no mentor, but I came up with the idea of doing just that one thing reasonably priced on a volume basis and you can make a living doing just unlawful detainers. And so it worked out
Bob Preston: 02:40 Okay. So if there are prospective landlords out there that would like to get ahold of you after the podcast, what's the best way to reach you?
Ted Smith: 02:49 Well thank you. My phone number is 619-542-7728 and email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Preston: 03:08 Perfect. And then of course people can contact us and we can refer them over to you if that's okay. Okay. So let's dive right into the subject matter here and talk legal aspects of being a landlord. And if we wanted to have this podcasts could be a full semester course or we could be talking hours on each individual topic. So this is sort of a broad brush approach to this and you know, we want to make that clear before diving in the topic, but we get a lot of people coming to us saying, hey, I want to rent my property but I've heard all the horror stories and just don't want to deal with the hassles, does that sound kind of like a familiar topic that you get or maybe you get it after the fact, right?
Ted Smith: 03:51 I do, but I would tell people, and I do every day, don't let an eviction or a problem tenant destroy your investment plans in real estate. It's just a bump in the road and it's something to be dealt with and by proper screening and exercising yourself, pepper restraint on who you rent to, you can avoid seeing people like being eviction sense. So it's a, it's just a great investment idea and the addiction issues, it's just a side site and annoyance.
Bob Preston: 04:19 Sure. If it happens, I mean how frequent is it really? Do you have any stats on that?
Ted Smith: 04:24 Well, we do a lot of them of course, because we specialize in it, but I've had clients come to me that may have eight units for 50 years and they just don't have a case and finally they have one. So the look finally by now, no, we don't. Most of our clients, especially in this little market, don't have too many eviction problems every now and then depends on who you rent to. Proper screening, which we'll get into later. You get a ventilator, eviction, headaches.
Bob Preston: 04:48 Okay, and do you find that, do it yourself landlords, like individual property manager or property owners who are renting, do they tend to have more legal problems and say professional management companies?
Ted Smith: 04:59 Yes. Some are a little loose and their education of themselves, the forms are updated and they don't use proper techniques and screening and then the paperwork involved in the eviction process. I mean forms and the real estate industry, not only in sales but in property management changed by the year and if you want to manage your own properties, you better be up to speed on the way the laws are changing and educate yourself otherwise handed over to a really good property management company like yourself.
Bob Preston: 05:30 Okay, perfect. And what do you think the most common area is where landlords might have a legal problem?
Ted Smith: 05:36 Probably screening. Well, you sound like a nice person, a handshake and you're in. I see that that's not the way to go. So screening is an issue. The other is not using proper rental agreements and finally not being vigilant over the behavior and what's going on and your rental properties. If you're going to manage yourself, you better take an active interest. That's why it's so difficult for owners that live in other states that don't want a management company locally to manage the properties because they assumed that the tenant will behave and pay the rent on time. Sometimes that goes awry.
Bob Preston: 06:07 Sure. So there may be too lenient with their tenant and their approach. Well, let's talk about the basic premise of operating in the state of California and in what ways is being a landlord the same and every state kind of under federal law and in what ways might it be different in terms of fair housing laws and things like that that are specific to California?
Ted Smith: 06:30 Well, I'm afraid it's all of the above. Both federal and state law applied to landlord, even California. In Texas, I hate to tell you this. Have you done evictions in California for over 30 years? You can give the tenant a three day notice to pay rent or quit and then changed a lot. It like a storage unit and they have to go to court to ask for a coordinate. Otherwise it's a landlord state in Texas for example, and there's other states that are more prone landlord than California. So, there is this influx of both federal and California law, especially when it comes to the fair housing aspect of it and so you need to be compliant with both.
Bob Preston: 07:07 Okay. Perfect. Okay. Ted, well, this may be an obvious question, but why is it so important that a person considering renting their property, be aware of landlord tenant law in California?
Ted Smith: 07:18 Well, you do need to be a little careful. It's not just a matter of buying property and getting somebody in there to rent. You're stepping into an area that you which full of pitfalls and you need to be careful. That's where a property manager that knows what he's doing would be very helpful to you. If you want to do it yourself, you need to commit to educating yourself on all the various issues, the forms, legal procedures, fair housing claims, not just the huge well suspected classes, but things like source of income and things like that. So you have to be very wary when dealing with the general public when you get into the rental property management area.
Bob Preston: 07:56 Of course. Yeah, so as a real estate broker in the state of California, I have access to all the California Association of realtor forms, which are very legally vetted. I understand, and by kind of both sides, right? Protecting both the consumer or the or the tenant and the landlord. What do you do it yourself landlords use for their rental agreements?
Ted Smith: 08:21 They go on the Internet, which is generally a national form that is not specific. It's trouble. It has basic terms. And by the way, let me point out, is a verbal rental agreement residential in California? Legal? Yes. It's just a nightmare and not recommended. You need to put stuff down in writing so everybody has a clear understanding like any other contract. Remember when it's verbal, your recollection is completely different than the tenants, so that's why reduce everything to writing the car or forms. Excellent. Our excellence and so is the apartment association. Slow them, good residential leases, mode forms or UpToDate and great.
Bob Preston: 9:00 That's really, really good information. Now there are some new laws in California that we've become aware of and they're kind of interesting. There's this new bed, bug law notification property 65 warnings and things like this. So what? What's your take on those new aspects?
Ted Smith: 09:15 Need to be careful on the issue. It used to be. I joke about it that cockroaches were the nature of pest control issue in rental housing, but bedbugs have stepped in and told the cockroaches move over down because they're harder to get rid of. The pest control technician charges more prevent bugs, but it's the same problem. Who is the bedroom and it's not the landlord, it's the tenant. When it comes to bed bugs, they are. They're hitchhikers. They come into the property either.
Bob Preston: 10:00 Pretty rare though. I was surprised, but it's rare. When the state made us send these notifications, notifications to all of our tenants were due by January first this year and we complied and we had to come a few tennis down saying, Hey, this is just our responsibility as a broker and we're passing along the information to assist the state of California with health information. I mean generally that's what it was all about. Right?
Ted Smith: 10:16 Well that's it. Sacramento is being proactive tenant wise. Got to remember that the bureau politician, most the content you would see as tenants and as a result, somebody complains to a simple minute netbook problem and then it becomes a law. So we have to react and comply and be vigilant in watching the property and make sure to send it to their part by keeping the apartment clean and bed bug free.
Bob Preston: 10:30 Perfect, I guess I wanted to bring it up because there are new laws that come out periodically where the state of California expects landlords to follow certain procedures and provide certain information, their leases. So it's really important for staying up on that. And that's one thing as a property management company we kind of bring to the table as well. Right. Okay. So the first phase of any rental process is the listing, showing, taking rental applications on the property and there are some important legal considerations right away even when showing the property and taking rental applications. What I guess should a landlord take into account when they start meeting people, start speaking with people about their rental property. I mean there are fair housing laws. There are certain compliance aspects that need that need to be paid attention.
Ted Smith: 11:13 Well the fair housing is a huge deal and you need to be very careful here. Super Fair housing was basically in a nutshell, require you to treat people equally, know that they are where they're from, you know the usual categories applying, but not only that source of income, children, a race, color, national origin, religion, all those are factors that need to be ignored in middle housing. We're a provider of housing and so everybody's okay in our book, everybody, however, has to pay the rent on time. Everybody has to observe the rules and behave that applies across the board to all various people. ADA compliance deals with the issue of people with disabilities. Generally speaking. For example, the person didn't see how has using a wheelchair will be perhaps require to have a ramp on one entrance to their apartment. If it's reasonable to install that, those kinds of things apply to a disability issues. Then there's service animals. Service animals are and accepted to the note pet rule. Keep in mind that in California you still have the right to say no pets. That's the rule. However, if a person with reasonable evidence for qualified California health practitioner would be entitled to exception to that rule by providing whether it's a disability and therefore it's a companion pet and can be allowed despite the no pet rule as far as maximum occupancy rules, that's always troublesome area. The California Department Employment Housing says, listen, we don't have a specific role, but we're going to go buy a rule of thumb. If we get called by a tenant that angry and they have many children and so forth. We're going to take a look at this. Our standard that we use says the California Department of Housing. Is that two per bedroom, plus one, right for bedroom plus one, so he got five to a two and three to 1 things like that. First it can be anybody, so if you go below that, you are at risk. There is no statute specifically setting how many officers are authorized, but if you go with a two bedroom plus one, you're in the safe haven into that area. I really have a problem documented citizens, undocumented, undocumented citizens. Now here, be careful. You have to be in the United States illegally. There's a number of ways to get beat in the United States legally and rent an apartment. Unfortunately, it's not a requirement that a person can be United States and have to have a social security number right away. However, we'd like to have that to run the credit reporting agency does use socials, but if you have that rule it will be problematic for you, which you want to do is just from the person is lawfully than and states and then you can go there in terms of treating very poor rental history and income.
Bob Preston: 14:19 Right, so we have some people who, for example, students who have come in on some sort of a foreign exchange or something where they're legally documented in the United States but they don't necessarily have a social security number and you know, we have to screen them a different way because they might be from Asia or Europe or some other country where they're coming into a attend school or for maybe a temporary work visa or something like that.
Ted Smith: 14:49 All that's reasonable in the screening process, you know, you have to take that into consideration because they don't have rental history and so that's places they white legal concern you have over performance of the least on the road.
Bob Preston: 15:00 Good. Well, what about the tenant application process, so screening applicants and I guess what criteria are acceptable when screening and making a tenant decision?
Ted Smith: 15:10 There's three pillows to be pillars to screening I should say, and it's like a stool with three legs, three legged stool. If one falls off, they're denied. What's one leg is credit report. Okay, so and the other leg is income and the other leg is tenant history, rental history and so all of those combined to qualify a candidate for renting. And so as far as the credit is concerned, you establish your policy for your property. There is no rule in California says, here's what it must be. So you can do anything that's reasonable, so long it's not discriminatory. So the credit score part of that? Yes it is legal score for minimum. If you go with that apply it across the board, most people don't do that because they flexible one where income and credit and so forth are evaluated on an independent basis, kind of a holistic approach to evaluating the tenant. Bankruptcy and that. You can use all these things as a disqualification factors but you don't have to. You can ignore things, but you can include bankruptcy. The overall evaluation of the person's credit score is. That'll be in their history and then the income verification, the more difficult to confirm it, the more information you can require them. So, the self-employed people like work for cash, that's a problem. We like pay stubs. We like, you know, something that proves the income, the difficult income to prove of course. We have alimony, we have child support, we have welfare. Remember it would be a discriminatory answer to the following question over the telephone. You accept welfare and you say something like, don't bother. That's not going to work because what happens there is you have to say the politically correct answer and that is, we accept all forms of income. We will take it into consideration. Come on in and fill an application, but then it comes out that, oh, I see you are too low, and she says, it's because I'm on welfare. You say, no, it's because your income is too low.
Bob Preston: 17:10 Right? You still have to qualify under our standard criteria. What about criminal history and sex, sex offenders, things like that?
Ted Smith: 17:30 Well, criminal history is a problematic area. It can be used but ordinarily It's not a because the credit score should be good enough on that. If you have a policy that says for a documented serious felony, for example, that would be legal if you apply it across the board. So people have gotten probation, they make restitution and their good citizens now and so they argue that’s irrelevant. So it does create problems, but in some people will go like a google or searches. As far as sex offenders, I'm afraid that there's an exception to the rule that says that you may not in California discriminate on a person's conviction of a sex offense even though he's a registered sex offender. That law specifically accepts that crime for rental categories are in housing and employment loans. Things like that. Having said that, by the way, he knows this, he knows where he can live. Usually he knows where he's supposed to live. If you're supposed to be too close to a daycare center, those kinds of things. The sex offender of the conduct notes he either discloses it during the application process or he doesn't, but even though he doesn't disclose it, you find out later, you know you have to ignore it so you don't want to tell first. He didn't want to secretly go on the website and find out that he is convicted sex offender and then to conclude, you're going to deny him and have to find other ways to deny him, income, rental history.
Bob Preston: 18:57 That's good. What if you just get a bad feeling about somebody like if I meet you, maybe start arguing with me or you start negotiating too hard or you're too aggressive, or you use profanity. Can I deny you just because I don't like you as a person?
Ted Smith: 19:18 And that's just the attorneys that apply, but no, you have the right to ask a person, look, we need to deal with this in a business like you need to come back when you've calm down so we can discuss this. If they. If you say, look, I'm not going to. If they act belligerent and rude during the screening process, you would have the right to say you need to leave because I can't complete the process. Well, I'm going to sue you for discrimination. No, we want to go through with this, but we can't go through your type of behavior right now. So you have the right to be respected during this process before. He's a bad feeling though. You're going to have to document your bad feeling with the, with some factual evidence that would support your denial of them to rent.
Bob Preston: 19:54 Sure. Okay. That makes sense. Okay. What about steps around in approving attendant? So, if I meet you face to face at a rental property and I say, okay, you're in and I take a deposit from you, and then there's some kind of a time or amount of time that might pass between accepting that deposit and getting a lease in place. Are there any things I need to be careful about or steps I need to take legally during that kind of gray area phase?
Ted Smith: 20:23 There's a thing called the holy deposit for an apartment for the nation agreement that states that you get the system for holding it for you. You're now approved and signed the lease and move in by such and such date, which is down the road not too far. I made it up next month. If they changed their mind in the meantime, deposit agreement declare that you have the right to keep back daily rental value up to at the time they cancel the deal. However, once they signed the lease would have yet to move in. You can declare that they're in breach of the lease and discharge them for rent that accruing in her favor after the time they wrongfully try to cancel the lease. The first comment I made was the time between their approved and the time the lease is signed. What's the time the lease? It's even though it's supposed to move in a little later, you still got them through the lease.
Ted Smith: 21:15 By the way, there is no three day cooling off period in the state of California for residential leases. Once the lease is signed, it's binding you can't cancel it. It's not door to door sales, mortgages, things like that. That doesn't apply to residential leasing as a common myth.
Bob Preston: 21:25 Okay. Terrific. Well, we've talked a little bit about the importance of the lease agreement itself. We use the state of California, California Association of Realtors lease. I'm going to skip ahead here and let's talk about security deposits. Perhaps other than eviction. This might be the most acrimonious aspect of the job for us because anytime we try to withhold somebody's secure security deposit, there seems to be issues with that.
Ted Smith: 22:13 Do you know that the most commonly filed a small claims action in San Diego County is refunding deposits? It’s because what's reasonable wear and tear to the tenant to you, just like the personal property behind is treasure but really its junk to us. Uh, It's a personal thing for tenants.
Bob Preston: 22:30 So let's talk about normal wear and tear. This is a term that the state of California gives us. Very subjective. What, what does it mean? Can you summarize it? I mean, I've tried to summarize it.
Ted Smith: 22:40 It's like defining the meaning of life. The legislature is of no help here. That civil code section in California, Civil Code Section 19, 50 point five states damages above ordinary into reasonable cleaning and rent defaults. Those are the three things, but they give you know, guidelines so they really don't help them. So you have to use your common sense on a day to day basis. We know we went, it was like before you had a check in sheet that hopefully we sign. We know we have now and we have a standard and there's two standards by the way. One is ordinary wear and tear. So the outgoing tenant will give them a little bit of leeway on certain deductions maybe because that might be ordinarily wear and tear like the carpet might be slightly dirty might be smudges on the wall already standard where the incoming person wants it perfect. That measure of work, we're making it rent ready. Is it different than ordinary wear and tear on the outgoing person. So um, there's two standards of deductions, but ordinary wear and tear is things like just the medium stuff, does not include holes in the walls, broken blinds, substantial cleaning pick are staying so ordinary this just that glaring things where they deliberately destroy stuff or they're very reckless and how they live are all deductible from the deposit. Most important thing about that is remembering new account to them within the time period allowed by law and that's 21 days after their departure. That needs to be mailed to the last known address with an accounting of what you deducted. And if it's more than $125 deduction, you have to give them copies of all the invoices that you have.
Bob Preston: 24:00 We try to take photographic evidence as well, which is always helpful. You know, and showing people why things were deducted and we of course use the move in, move out form so that we capture the property condition of move in and then again a move out and we have that pretty well documented. What is the useful life are all? Now that also has to apply to security deposit deductions.
Ted Smith: 24:35 It does. It's not illegal to have a guideline for your deductions on a deposit based on the average life of carpet, paint and things like that. Keep in mind those guides that you might come up as an addendum in your lease, maybe subject to review by the small claims court judge. He doesn't have to go buy those, but if they're reasonable, they've agreed to in writing that want to give. This example will be this carpet of five your life and then we'll prorate our replacement cost based on that. That's on the face of it legal. So stay with that until you're told otherwise if it. Using those guideline charts through your various things.
Bob Preston: 25:00 So do you recommend giving tenants use for life items in advance or like when the lease is signed or is it sort of generally applied to deductions after the fact?
Ted Smith: 25:15 You can do both. Even the judge is the final say of whether it's legal or not. You could do at the beginning or you could use it as an internal guideline for your own, uh, porters or maintenance people that fix you up.
Bob Preston: 25:45 Right? And so as I explained, useful life for all to our clients, I, I use kind of cars as an analogy. If you go out and you get into an accident and your car, your insurance company isn't going to give you the money to buy a new car, they're going to give you what your car is worth today if you have totaled it. Uh, so that's kind of the way the useful life rule applies. Also regarding all property within a home. I mean, your carpet, the blinds, you know, the appliances pretty much everything in the home. Is that correct?
Ted Smith: 26:11 I’m going to agree with that, especially very long-term tenants, you might want to give them the benefit of the doubt on virtually everything, unless it's intentional and given the whole deposit back because if they'd been there for 10 years, for example, you have a tough time, you know, deducting for anything.
Bob Preston: 26:33 Well, sure. With 10 years. I mean carpet usually has a useful life of maybe five, eight years, something like that. So yeah. Okay. All right. Well let's touch on the final topic here and that is eviction. This is your specialty. How frequently do evictions really occur? Are there percentages that you have? Are there stats in the state of California? Well, first of all, let me tell you, I've been in business for 16 years. As a property manager, we've never had an eviction, so I'm pretty proud of that. I'm pretty proud of that. I'd be remiss not to talk at a talk about it and.
Ted Smith: 26:45 I tell people listen, don't make a habit.
Bob Preston: 26:50 And then so yeah. Okay. Well let's, let's talk about that. There's another term for eviction that's an unlawful detainer action.
Ted Smith: 27:00 Now, through the state of California, gives an eviction action, we can call an eviction. Unlawful detainer basically is a lawsuit, is the only way to evict the person that hasn't paid rent or has known something else in violation of the lease agreement we notice is just the first step in the process. Once you serve a three day notice, and by the way of nonpayment of rent are probably 75 percent of the index insurance and they will county or I guess there could be breach of contract from some other violation. The behavior ones, I've seen everything, everything from too many people living there, unauthorized pets to drug uses, the harboring fugitives, and then it can get really ugly. Most of these things I just described don’t happen or exceptions.
Bob Preston: 27:57 Let's pause for a minute. So in the state of California, I understand there's a five day grace period on paying rent. Is that right? So rents typically do. Oh, you're shaking. No, that's not true. Okay. Explain. Explain when you. Because you talked about the three day notice, so let's, let's kind of go through I guess a chronological order of the steps of eviction. If you had to go there.
Ted Smith: 28:23 A sounds like a plan really is doing advanced to the provost, I assume? Yes, there is a late charge probation to this lease Bob's describing lease of $100 not paid by the fifth. I'm afraid that the imposition of the late charge provision does not in and of itself read a grace period. It is due in advance to the first. It deemed to be delinquent on the second, so if you want to rush, you could give a three day notice to quit without the late charge on the second subject to the posting being on a holiday or weekend, going to get the next business day. So a three day notice starts the process, but that's just the beginning. If you keep serving notices, that's not going to work. You're going to have to make a decision just to go to court or not. Because in California you need a court judgment. For eviction. You need the sheriff to come out and remove them and in short steps are a summons and complaint is filed, falling exploration of the notice, they are served with that by a process or a judgment is entered If they don't reply to the court within that timeframe and then the sheriff comes out, removes him. If it's uncontested, meaning that the tenant never bothered to reply to the summons by going down to the courthouse to file their reply, and then the overall processes. Unfortunately in San Diego these days, it could be anywhere from a month to say 45 days. Now these are estimates based on where your property is located uncontested or contested. Remember now filing an answer by the tenant to the eviction paperwork. It's not me. They win the case, but it does give them a delay in the process. And that delay is up to 20 days typically the trials in downtown San Diego, which by the way covers all of San Diego County. Now, even now North County goes to San Diego now under vixens, it has 15 to 20 days to the process, so that contested case could be anywhere from 45 days to two months as far as I remember, they could move out at any time during the process. If they do, then they pulled into and the case is over and you've been stopped. But if they waited until the sheriff goes them out, that's how long it takes.
Bob Preston: 30:30 Now, if somebody doesn't pay their rent, can I use their security deposit in lieu of their payment to cure the default on rent and if I do that, then what needs to happen to reinstate the security deposit?
Ted Smith: 30:49 Can you do it? Yes. Should you? No, because now you're left bear. Okay. You could do that in a deal with them promising to vacate at the end of the month and then you can do that, but there's no law that forces you, even though they gave a 30 day notice to get out on month to month, to apply the deposit to the last month's rent. That would be your agreement with the tenant to use the deposit for the last month's rent. During the tenancy, we decided to do that, to cut them a break. Then you have no deposit on the account. Next month will be difficult. You're still there, but now you don’t have a deposit, so if you say, well, use it the deposit now then two or three months down the road and change your mind. You wanted to use the deposit that you would have to give them a change in terms of tenancy and that is now due in 30 days. Pay It back or you can have.
Bob Preston: 31:35 Serve a three day notice to cure covenant as what I understand.
Ted Smith: 31:43 You have to change the terms back because you already gave him the credit for the deposit against the month's rent and so that idea, so perky, but I just don't recommend it.
Bob Preston: 31:56 And what are the typical costs of an eviction? I don't know if you're able to give any stats on that.
Ted Smith: 32:08 I could tell you 10 bucks an hour, but you know, a lot of people think it's all attorney's fees. It's a combination of court costs and attorneys in the court for about half of it. I mean, for example, the filing fee alone is $240 process service fees. The sheriff charges $145, so $400 or $500. Court costs all the way through, uh, with a limited case. Now these are cases where the amount in controversy is less than $10,000 volunteers go up in the court and the non-commercial case of residential events more, attorney fees is about $300 yourself run and it is a big, a little bit more for contestant. Depends on who's fighting the case as the tenant representing themselves. That's one or I think have an attorney with the legal aid society representing an avenue to get a little bit more expensive. So it depends on whether it's contested or uncontestant. My personal philosophy is try to keep the price down because I like long term relationships with clients. I like to be part of their team on management of the properties. And so, you know, we have this trusted loyal things where I don't want to charge too much in any case and so I try to keep the price down as much as possible, but with a tenant side of the case it creates trouble, I have to respond back and sort of more expensive.
Bob Preston: 33:21 So would you say eight, $900, $1,200 in that range? Yeah, that's good. Okay. So because I get asked that all the time, like, okay, how much would it cost and how long would it take? And I think what we're saying is that maybe $800 to $1,200 range and could take up to two months depending upon whether it's a contested or uncontested.
Ted Smith: 33:42 Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of your work in the accounts. You can call them, they look on my app, do this, keep calling to get the money. Don't go straight to the unlawful detainer unless you really want them out quickly on day four, after the three days, if you work the account, you're minimized. Shared one lawful detainer trips to the courthouse. So once that becomes a matter of what's worse, having to pay attorney sees through the theme of continuing to lose rent on a daily basis, you got to cut your losses and stop the bleeding. And so unfortunately left process sometime say I'm not going to pay you and I'm going to stay here until I get thrown out because I'm going to be homeless. I got nowhere to go. Stuff like that. Forces your hand to file the retainer because if you don't, they'll just stay there for free forever.
Bob Preston: 34:26 Yeah, you can't let that linger and continue in that state. Okay. So like I said at the beginning of the episode, we could go on for hours and we could spend a whole episode and then some just on eviction. So what else? Is there anything else we should touch on? Any other kind of words of advice for the a landlord or the landlord to be?
Ted Smith: 34:49 Well, just stay educated and remember, most tenants despite what you’ve heard on this podcast are honest. Rent, paying people. Rental property is a beautiful investment choice. I'm all in support of that and I want people to know that, you know, don't think of your legal aspects as they did so many factors into decisions. My wish for your listeners is that 100 percent of your rents collected and you never have to serve a three day notice to pay rent. That's my wish. Of course. It's only a dream.
Bob Preston: 35:19 Okay. Well thank you so much for joining the podcast Ted. This was extremely useful information that I'm sure our listeners can utilize and considering renting their home. And once again, if someone is interested in contacting you for a quote, maybe your phone number or your law office again where they could google it or, or give you a ring
Ted Smith: 35:43 619-542-7728 and email address is email@example.com.
Bob Preston: 35:56 Great. Well, that concludes today's episodes. Thank you for joining the property management brainstorm podcast. Until next time, we will be in the field working hard for our clients to maximize their property value and income and maintain top tenant relations and we will see you next time.