Blog Post


Jim Rutkowski • Feb 02, 2020

Slaying the beast of repairs and maintenance保时捷彩票代理注册

In an effort to save some coins, do-it-yourself landlords choose to roll up their sleeves, make their own repairs and handle the day-to-day maintenance of their property. We
are hard-pressed to find many owners who enjoy plunging toilets or having their slumber disturbed late at night when a frantic tenant reports a broken water heater, but for those who possess the gift of an inner Bob Villa, they will attest it comes with the territory.

Whether or not you can fill the shoes of a DIY landlord, of course, requires taking personal inventory of what your time is worth to you and making an honest assessment
of your plumbing and electrical abilities, along with other skill sets when a job calls for more than a handyman.

We pose a provocative question: Are you penny wise and pound foolish by going it alone? 
Don't get us wrong - in our years of managing properties throughout the Bay Area, we have met a lot of hands-on owners who are supremely capable with power tools, but if you choose to go this route, you should realize it may be costlier in the long run. Self-sufficient landlords could quite possibly shell out more rental income to effectuate necessary repairs and worse yet, irritate tenants who expect things to be fixed in a timely manner and enjoy a habitable rental unit.

These are not only tenant wants and demands; the implied warranty of habitability is implicit in every California lease and may become an issue down the road in an unlawful detainer action If it’s more appealing to outsource repair and maintenance, you have a few options we dive into here.

Option one: Hiring a resident manager

For larger apartment buildings with 16 or more units, this is not optional; the law requires that a “responsible person” reside on the premises and “have charge” of the
building. Owners of buildings with fewer than 16 units have more discretion. While there is an advantage to appointing someone as the “eyes and ears” of your
property in your absence and have someone on-site to interact with tenants and put out smoldering problems before they enlarge, the law considers resident managers an
employees, not an independent contractors.

Our broker of record, Daniel Bornstein, asked a friend and colleague, Maggie Grover, to summarize some of the considerations in this guest article. As you can see if you follow the link and read on, employment laws are extremely complicated, leaving many owners loathe to deal with the added paperwork and hassle.

Option two: Hire contractors

Finding the right person to protect your real estate investment is no easy feat. While you can get personal recommendations from people who rub shoulders with contractors in their field, it’s critical to do your due diligence to ensure whomever you work with is licensed, insured and bonded, a topic we broached in an earlier post

Imagine shoddy work done on a heating system that results in tenants suffering carbon monoxide poisoning, or a plumber sweating down copper piping using a blowtorch and starting a fire by igniting insulation. If you’ve used a friend of a cousin who is unlicensed and uninsured and nothing has gone wrong so far, please don’t get a false sense of bravado - catastrophe can strike in the blink of an eye. 

Technology is no crutch

Trolling the Internet for reliable contractors has been made easier with sites like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and others that give owners the peace of mind knowing tradespersons have some longevity, but technology is no panacea. Like with tenant screening, there is no substitute for old-fashioned detective work when finding the right contractor for the job. This includes asking pointed questions in the pre-planning phase, checking references, verifying licensing and insurance, and studying a sample copy of a contract, among some other sleuthing tasks before coming to the negotiation table with contractors on the short list. 

The true cost in hiring contractors

Since a good contractor is worth their weight in gold, now may not be the time to trip over dollars to save pennies. When a botched job has to be done over, you pay twice for the materials, and lose time and rent. By calling upon a true professional or a property management company, the work is bonded and you will be recouped for lost revenue if something goes awry. 

The third and perhaps most sensible option is to entrust your investment to a property management company

The responsive maintenance staff at Bay Property Group can take the guesswork out of the equation. Our dedicated maintenance manager, Jessica, works closely with tenants to promptly address concerns and in fact, a maintenance request can be initiated seamlessly on our website 24/7. 

Let’s face it. However careful the tenant, things will break with regular use, and if not taken care of early on, your building can age in dog years. Most of the time, our in-house handyman, Charlie, can perform preventative maintenance and handle small to medium-sized repairs, but we have competent contractors on speed dial when a specialized need arises. 

One big advantage for owners utilizing a property manager is the ability to leverage the longstanding relationships it has with vetted contractors who get regular business from a company with several investment properties in their portfolio. A property management company can its their clout to negotiate the best prices and terms, and insist on exacting standards to make sure the job is done right without expensive delays or poor workmanship. 

These enduring relationships with battle-tested tradespersons are not forged with a simple handshake, but nurtured over a long period of working together to optimize the real estate investments of clients. 

To reduce the stress and expense of maintaining your rental units while realizing a steady stream of income, Bay Property Group is open for business. Please contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive suite of tailored services to put your rental business on auto-pilot.



By Jim Rutkowski31 Oct, 2020
Our goal at Bay Property Group is to ensure the mummies, vampires and werewolves are the scariest things property owners encounter. Please don’t misunderstand us. We have a sweet spot for fall activities and love dishing out bags of candy to ghosts and goblins that visit our doorsteps. Yet we are ever aware of unforeseen costs and liabilities of rental property owners. Seared into our memory is last Halloween’s “Airbnb mansion party,” when gunfire erupted in the sleepy town of Orina. This horror took the lives of five young people and injured several others.
By Jim Rutkowski05 Jun, 2020
Becoming the eye of the renter with virtual tours Bay Property Group can avail the opportunity to conduct virtual tours to safely show rentals while at the same time, communicating with tech-savvy, high-income renters on their own turf.

Cardboard consequences of the pandemic保时捷彩票代理注册

By Jim Rutkowski28 May, 2020
Bay Property Group has seen an influx of garbage and recyclables during shelter in place orders.

Coronavirus help for tenants保时捷彩票代理注册

By Jim Rutkowski19 Apr, 2020
As one of the greatest health crises of our lifetimes, COVID-19 has made people feel uneasy, and while it is imperative to stay informed and vigilant, it is also critical not to panic. Bay Property Group encourages tenants to heed warnings from medical professionals and practice common-sensible measures in everyday life to ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy. When the pandemic leads to a substantial reduction in income, there may be financial help available to give residents some breathing room to pay rent and meet other obligations. Unemployment Insurance To accommodate the unprecedented wave of unemployment claims, the Employment Development Department has increased its bandwidth to answer questions and process applications. An initiative slated to go into effect April 28 will also lend a hand to business owners, the self-employed and independent contractors who were traditionally unable to qualify for state UI benefits.
By Jim Rutkowski25 Feb, 2020
Our broker of record, Daniel Bornstein, was privileged to host a webinar recently on the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB-1482), a law that applies to all residential properties throughout California unless exempt. This list is not exhaustive, but here's some key takeaways: Certain disclosures must be embedded in the lease and if these disclosures are not included, there are several consequences. This stresses the importance of getting the best leases possible. Since tenants are entitled to certain protections only after 12 or more months of occupancy, the owner can engage in a trial period with a month-to-month lease or signing a 10-or-11 month lease and when this expires, the owner can revisit the rental relationship. When properties are located in jurisdictions with more stringent protections, state law will have little impact because these local rules must be followed. Although buildings constructed within the past 15 years are exempt from the statewide rules, this is a rolling target and after this 15-year anniversary, buildings will attrition out of the exemption. While the tenant can be transitioned out of the rental unit through no fault of their own, these vehicles come with many caveats. You can watch the recorded webinar here.
25 Feb, 2020
As winter comes to an end and springtime is ushered in, it’s probably prudent to check the roof assembly to see how it has held up so far and whether it can stand the season ahead. There are a couple of different stressors on your roof during this transition, so let’s go over them. During the winter months when tenants crank up the heat, all of that extra moisture rises up to the roof, where it is greeted with colder temperatures of outside air. This rapid cooling creates immediate condensation and with no other place to go, this moisture soaks into surrounding materials. This becomes a breeding ground for rot, mold, insects and other unsavory side effects. Your roof can’t wait for the storm to pass As if your roof did not take enough abuse in the wintertime, there is still another month left in the state’s rainy season. We’ve had a dry spell so far , but please don’t get a false sense of bravado. Our parts are notorious for its unpredictable weather, and we are reminded of the wet “Miracle March” conditions in years passed. Nothing can put a damper on your rental business more than leaking roofs and the havoc water intrusion can inflict on your property. The more stories to your building, the more harm can be done to your investment - water can damage every floor down to the ground. It’s better to be proactive and get a roof inspection and free estimates on repairs now, than to deal with damage and tenant complaints if the water comes. To add even more urgency to act soon, roofers will soon enter their busy season and may become inundated with jobs. By reaching out to them now, you can be the first in line.


By Jim Rutkowski03 Feb, 2020
Sometimes people are cast into the role of landlord without really seeking it out. They didn’t say, “when I grow up, I want to be a landlord.” But accidents do happen. Maybe they went through hell and back with rehabbing a property, or their renovation budget went off the rails with delays, expensive results, and/or poor workmanship that oftentimes comes with inexperience and were unable to list the investment property for top dollar. Still other unwitting owners find themselves playing landlord because they have been transferred because of work, or because they have inherited a property with suffocating mortgage payments. Whatever led them to filling these shoes, the heart of the incidental landlord is not into it. If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to elicit the help of a property management company. Landlording has many perks, including a steady stream of income, tax deductions that can be availed to offset costs, and the appreciation of the property in our red-hot real estate market in the Bay Area. This romance, of course, can be soured with leaking roofs, late night calls to fix toilets, noise complaints, tenants who don’t pay their rent on time, getting impromptu visits from code inspectors, and many other less endearing aspects to the job. Once you are fried to a crisp after the day-to-day work in operating a building with implanted tenants, you’ll have to deal with security deposit accounting when transitioning out departing tenants and ink leases with incoming tenants, but not after an exhausting search to find them and clean/paint the unit to welcome them into their new surroundings. Have we mentioned the responsibility to keep abreast of constantly changing laws? Even for seasoned owners who are “career” landlords, what’s all involved in this occupation is a little like taking a drink out of a fire hose. It’s even more harrowing for the incidental landlord who doesn’t embrace this role, hasn’t asked for it, but is forced to play the part. If you determine it makes sense to outsource this task, Bay Property Group welcomes the opportunity to lighten the load by overseeing the property to ensure you get steady-drip income without the headaches.


By Jim Rutkowski03 Feb, 2020
Rental property owners throughout the Bay Area have a host of laws to contend with, on the federal, state and local levels. In the past 18 months or so, we have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of information that landlords have been forced to digest. This is not the most fun topic to discuss, but one that has to be broached in order to stay compliant and avoid costly legal mistakes that can be detrimental – if not catastrophic – to your real estate business. Staying on top of these ever expanding regulatory regimes is difficult for even seasoned, hands-on landlords who invest an enormous amount of time and energy into the day-to-day activities of their rental business. Keeping abreast of the laws is all the more vexing for “accidental” landlords whose heart is not into their enterprise because they didn't want to play landlord - they fell into this role. If this sounds like you, we painted the plight of the accidental landlord, felt your pain, and had a frank conversation with you earlier. Here’s some considerations from 40,000 feet. Rent & eviction controls Many municipalities throughout the Bay Area have passed ordinances that limit how much rental housing providers can charge tenants, spell out how often the rent can be raised, and enumerate specific reasons why a tenant can be evicted. Still more protections are carved out in these hodge-podge of ordinances, such as minimum lease terms, relocation payment assistance, special notice requirements, buyout agreement regulations, mandated mediation in landlord-tenant conflicts, and other safeguards that are best journeyed with a property management company that deals with these issues on a daily basis. What about statewide rent control, anyways? There are questions that abound concerning The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB-1482), a law that went into effect January 1, 2020. For those of you with rental properties situated in jurisdictions with more onerous, protective rent control and “just cause” eviction rules, you are unfortunately bound to follow these local ordinances. We are speaking to landlords in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other cities with a more comprehensive set of regulations. Although this topic is tricky, our broker of record, Attorney Daniel Bornstein, recently hosted a webinar that broke down the new state law in an easily digestible fashion.
By Jim Rutkowski01 Feb, 2020
It’s not too late to reset any botched New Year’s resolutions and make an altogether different one - join an industry trade group. As we close the curtain on the first month of 2020, perhaps it’s time to take inventory on whether or not we have followed through and accomplished our New Year’s resolutions. Whether it was joining a gym, the cessation of vaping, losing weight, saving money, or whatever the commitment we have promised, a provocative question is looming - have we kept this pledge to ourselves? We do not want to be downers, but Forbes reports some rather grim statistics on the number of people who have made progress. We are here to tell you that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives, and it is never too late to make improvements in all aspects of our personal and professional orbits of life. We’re rooting for you, but at this late date, might suggest a goal that is easy for property owners to accomplish: join an industry trade group to get up to speed on the latest laws, access updated forms and documentation, network with like-minded owners, and learn best practices for the rental property industry. Bay Property Group, in concert with our legal partners at Bornstein Law , has made it a mission to educate rental housing providers on how to optimize their real estate investment, but we do not work on an island. There are several groups we actively engage with and invite you to become part of the fraternity. This list is by no means exhaustive, but represents some groups we consider to be ambassadors. East Bay Rental Housing Association Over 15,000 members strong, the EBRHA serves rental property owners and managers throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Small Property Owners of San Francisco An exciting educational & legal advocacy organization made by and for small property owners, dedicated to overcoming obstacles to ownership and profitability. California Apartment Association For over 80 years, the CAA has been the definitive voice for owners, investors, developers, managers and suppliers of rental homes and apartment communities based in Sacramento with strategic hubs throughout California. Berkeley Property Owners Association A grass roots trade organization representing rental housing providers in the city of Berkeley. San Francisco Apartment Association A rental housing resource dedicated to educating, advocating for, and supporting the Rental Housing Community so that is members operate ethically, fairly, and profitably. Asian Real Estate Association of America The AREAA is a nonprofit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market. California Rental Housing Association Useful educational opportunities, updated legal forms and contracts, legislative support and the facilitation of business relationships. It's been said that people in glass houses should not throw stones. We have shirked on some of our resolutions, but on this one, we are pretty solid.


By Jim Rutkowski01 Feb, 2020
When it comes to establishing fair market value for a rental unit, many novice investors “wing it” by trolling through Craigslist or another portal to find similar apartments in the neighborhood, or pick up a newspaper to browse through ads if anyone does that anymore in the digital age. Coming up with the just-right number to charge is part art and part science, though, involving more than perusing ads of other owners. While snooping on other listings may satisfy your curiosity and help you arrive at a ballpark figure, now is not the time to trust your gut and simply pick a number out of the sky. You know the simple arithmetic - if your mortgage payment is $900 a month, you add expenses on top of that and once those costs are penciled in, one dollar over that amount puts money in your pocket. Yet exactly how many more extra dollars to charge tenants should be a deliberate process, unclouded by emotion. You are in the rental business to make money - you are not in it for the fun of it. While you want to maximize income and realize a healthy return on investment, you don’t want to do so at the risk of pricing out renters, so this can be a delicate balancing act. It’s not entirely about YOU.
Show More
Share by: