LA County is a desirable living location for a lot of people, on account of the thriving job market, tourist attractions, and its proximity to the tech hubs of the west.
As a result, there is a constant demand for rental properties in LA County. While this gives landlords the opportunity to choose from a vast pool of tenants, they also need to be on the lookout for potentially bad tenants who can use loopholes in leases to suit their interests.
Here are some common lease loopholes that you need to avoid while renting your LA County property.
Long-Term Guests Living with your Tenant
Having guests over is very common and you need not have a problem with it as long as the guests don’t cause any trouble and do not overstay their welcome. Landlords usually don’t include a clause in their lease about guests and some tenants use this to their advantage by having over guests for prolonged durations.
Do not let this happen. Long-term guests are as good as tenants living rent-free on your property. Your tenant may even sublet your property to others and collect rent from them without informing you.
To avoid this, you should a) get the names of all the tenants who are going to be living on the property and b) include a specific clause in your lease stating how long a guest can stay over. You can add a condition that if the tenant fails to meet this clause, the tenant will be charged an additional fee per month.
Unauthorized Pets on your Property
Sometimes, a tenant may not disclose that they have a pet before signing the lease, to avoid paying the pet deposit. Also, occasionally, a tenant might not have a pet while moving into the property but they may adopt one after they have moved in. In either case, there is no clause in the lease agreement about allowing pets and the landlord has to bear the brunt of any pet-related damages that may occur.
Avoiding the problem of unauthorized pets is very easy. Include a no-pet clause in the rent agreement with an additional condition stating that they are liable to inform you if they decide to get one after renting the property. If your tenant breaches the contract, you have the right to evict them.
Late rent payments due to lack of a fixed payment date
This is the most common problem landlords face, if there is no fixed date stipulated in the lease agreement regarding payment dates. Tenants may vary the dates on which they pay rent on multiple occasions. To avoid this, simply state the primary date for rent payment, as well as a date by which the late payment will be accepted. If the tenant delays beyond the said date, you may issue a legal notice.
Ambiguity in Handling Property Damages
Maintaining a property takes serious time and effort. If your tenant is causing damage to your property knowingly or unknowingly, this is a serious problem. Make sure you include who is responsible for compensating the damage of property. Also, conduct a move-in inspection before your tenant occupies the property, as it may come in handy in case of property damage disputes when the tenant is about to vacate your property.
Unauthorized Commercial Use
If your lease mentions that the property can only be used as a residential property and your tenant uses it as his commercial office, it is a cause of concern. Similarly, if your tenant is subletting the property for paid events or any other non-residential purpose, you, as the landlord, possess the right to intervene and stop it.
If you screen your tenants well, in 9 cases out of 10 there will not be any issues of tenants exploiting lease loopholes. However, as a landlord in LA County, you need to be aware of the potential ways in which some tenants may try to take advantage of you.
It is best to hire a property manager who is seasoned to deal with such tenants. A property manager will take care of these issues by helping you draft an airtight lease agreement, find good tenants, and deal with the tenant on your behalf. If you have any questions or you need some information about professional LA County property management, please contact us at Bell Properties.