Sometimes being a landlord is a scary job.  But it doesn’t have to be. After years of helping DIY San Francisco landlords prep and repair properties, pick good leases, and find ideal tenants, I’ve seen a number of problems that pop up over and over. If you can nip these in the bud, or avoid them to begin with, your job will be a lot easier — and you’ll make more money. I’ve also found when rules and boundaries are clear from the beginning, you have less conflict with the tenants which should make both your lives a bit happier.

So here’s my list. Katharine Holland’s…

Top 10 Biggest Mistakes San Francisco Landlords Make

  1. Forgetting to subtract the rent board fee from tenant’s security deposit

  2. Not giving annual rent increases

  3. Letting storage overflow, get out of control.

    Insist that tenants confine their stuff to their storage areas.

  4. Not requiring tenants to get renters insurance

  5. Allowing charcoal grills. NO.

    Charcoal grills are a fire hazard, some can even be blown over by the wind.

  6. Allowing smoking anywhere on the premises. NO.

    You don’t even have to let them smoke in the backyard.

  7. Not running a background check in addition to the credit check.

    A background check shows evictions, and judgments against them for unpaid rent.

  8. Not getting consent in writing to run credit/ background check – you must!

  9. Not hiring an outside person to handle renting it out for you.

    Services like mine know how to get the best clients at the highest value, so you don’t leave money on the table or have extra problems down the line.

  10. Not knowing and following State LAWS. For example:

  • You are only allowed to charge $30 for screening
  • Late Payment: you may charge 5% of the month’s rent
  • Cost of returned check, can only be the amount the bank charges you (the exact amount of your bank’s fee)
  • You can charge 2 month’s rent as security deposit if unfurnished, if furnished can collect 3 month’s rent. (Don’t collect first and last month’s rent. Just charge the security deposit.)

TOP TIP: Always collect the full amount of security deposit that you can by law. Repairs are expensive! For example, if someone ruins floors, you may cost you $5,000. It’s okay to let them pay the deposit it in payment over 3 months.

I hope that helps. Happy renting, and as always, if you’d like professional help renting out your properties, give me a call.