How organized are you?
When it comes to renting out a San Diego property, you need to have your paperwork and your records in order. Whether you’re using digital or paper files or some combination of the two, make sure you’re easily able to produce the documents that might come into question during or after a tenancy.
We’ve put together a brief list of all the documents you need to have on file if you’re a San Diego landlord.
Hold Onto Rental Applications
There’s no law that says how long you need to hold onto a tenant’s rental application. Best practices say that landlords should hold onto those records, even those of the applicants you may have denied, until the tenant is no longer permitted to make a legal claim. Keep applications of former tenants for at least five years. You should always retain the applications of the tenants you currently have in place.
One of the reasons to keep applications on file and easily available is that they often include an emergency contact for your resident. Make sure you can quickly access that contact information in case something goes wrong and you need to get in touch with someone close to your tenant.
San Diego Lease Agreement
Every potential conflict, dispute, and question during the lease period will require a careful review of the lease agreement that you and your tenant signed. You’ll need to access the lease if there’s a misunderstanding about who is responsible for maintenance or landscaping. You’ll need the lease if a tenant is late with rent and you need to charge a late fee. It will be required in court if you have to evict a tenant.
The lease is a critical document. Both you and your tenant should easily be able to reference it when necessary.
Before a tenant moves into your San Diego rental property, you’ll need to conduct a thorough inspection to document the condition of the property. This can help you avoid problems later if you and the tenant have a dispute over damages to the home during the course of the tenancy. Take photos and even videos. Make sure your notes are clear and specific.
After your tenant vacates the property, conduct another inspection and keep the report. If there are any inspections during the tenancy, make sure they’re well-documented and on file.
Keep Accounting Statements and Tax Records
Tax time can be stressful, but if you have a good accounting program, you’re fine.
Keep detailed records and statements that document your income and expenses from the previous twelve months. Track your expenses for things like advertising, legal fees, mortgage interest, maintenance, and San Diego property management. These are deductions you’ll be able to take, so you’ll want to have those numbers easily accessible when you’re filing.
San Diego Property Management Agreement
Finally, if you’re working with a San Diego property management company, make sure you have a copy of your management agreement. You may need to refer to this throughout the tenancy, and you’ll want to understand the fee schedule and any notice periods you have to provide when you’re ready to move on.
These documents need to be easily accessible, whether you’re in your office or on the road. With all of the technology available, maintaining digital records is easier and more efficient than ever.
If you’d like some help getting organized, please contact our team at Mercer Properties.