Owner Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Are you licensed?

    A: Yes, we are licensed by the Department of Real Estate in the state of California.
  • Q: Am I required to make my property available to Section 8?

    A: On July 30, 2018, the San Diego City Council passed an ordinance that will require landlords of properties in the city of San Diego to participate in the Section 8 Housing Voucher Choice Program and other rental assistance programs. Enforcement of the ordinance will begin on August 1, 2019. The ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of source of income. While source of income discrimination is already prohibited under California law, this ordinance broadens the definition of source of income to include “rental assistance from any federal, state, local, or nonprofit-administered benefit or subsidy program, or any financial aid from any rental assistance program, homeless assistance program, security deposit assistance program, or housing subsidy program, whether paid directly to the program participant, landlord or representative of either.”
  • Q: How and when do I get my checks?

    A: We know how important your rent proceeds are, and we get your money to you as quickly as possible. Rent proceeds are deposited directly into your bank account by the 10th day of the month (or on the next business day if the 10th falls on a weekend/holiday). Your monthly statement is also available through your online portal at that time. If, for whatever reason, a tenant is late or rent proceeds are collected after our accounting deadline for payout on the 10th, we will process additional distributions later in the month. Payments are always direct-deposited into your account; we do not mail checks.
  • Q: Where will you advertise my property?

    A: We syndicate your listing out to dozens of websites including, but not limited to: Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, and local Craigslist pages. We will also advertise your property on our website and social media networks. We will schedule and show the property on multiple days at different times to maximize exposure. Remember, our goal is to get you a great tenant in record time.

    Additionally, when permitted by the neighborhood, we will place a For Rent sign 30 days prior to the tenant moving out, unless the owner requests otherwise. For a new property, the sign is placed on the date the unit first comes under our management and when it is in show ready condition.
  • Q: How do you show the property?

    A: If a property is occupied, we offer several showing-times to applicants to sign up online, at which time we meet them at the property.

    If the property is vacant, we use special lockboxes that allow the tenant to view the property at a time that is convenient for them. We get a copy of their driver license, verify information, and complete a screening process before they receive a single-use code. Making showings easy and convenient for the tenant results in more showings and less vacancy, which puts more money in the owners pocket.
  • Q: Do I get to see the lease or sign it?

    A: All owners will approve terms of the lease before it is presented to the tenant to ensure that we have met all of the owners’ needs. After we have your approval, we will sign the lease as your authorized agent.
  • Q: How is rent collection handled?

    A: Rent payments are always due on the 1st day of each month and are considered late on the 5th. If a tenant moves into a property during the middle of the month, the tenant will owe a full month of rent for the first month, and the rent for the second month will be prorated.
  • Q: How much security deposit do you charge the tenant?

    A: We require the equivalent of one month of rent plus $500 for a security deposit. In certain circumstances where the tenants do not meet our screening criteria, we have the right to charge up to the equivalent of two months of rent. California law states that when renting an unfurnished property, the maximum security deposit is two months of the rent and three months equivalency for a furnished unit.
  • Q: How soon can you start managing my property?

    A: Once we have a signed management agreement, we can usually begin online advertising for your rental within 24 hours. A quick phone call or meeting will get the process started.
  • Q: What type of properties do you manage?

    A: We specialize in Single-Family homes, but also manage duplexes, town homes, small apartment complexes and commercial buildings including strip malls and multi-tenant office buildings.
  • Q: Who holds the tenant security deposit?

    A: Palomar Property Services will hold the security deposit in a Trust Account in accordance with State and California DRE Commission guidelines. At the end of the lease agreement, the security deposit will be itemized and any refund due will be refunded to the outgoing tenant pursuant to these standards.
  • Q: Do you charge an extra fee if you evict a tenant?

    A: Because we complete a thorough pre-screening/screening of our tenants, our eviction rate is exceptionally low. In the rare instance that we have an eviction situation, we work with an experienced attorney to facilitate all aspects of an eviction. Our aim is to make the eviction process as painless as possible and to recover funds quickly and in a manner that aligns with the owners’ best interests. Palomar Property Services does not charge for this process. Any court or legal fees associated with an eviction, however, are paid by the property owner.
  • Q: Do I still have to pay you for the period property is vacant?

    A: No! We only get paid when you get paid.
  • Q: How are security deposits calculated?

    A: After a tenant vacates, we conduct a complete and detailed inspection of the property using our inspection software.  We are careful to assess damage that may have been caused by a tenant verses wear and tear to a property.  After we have made assessments, we will review details with you and make recommendations for tenant charges, when necessary.  This will ensure that any charges that you assess to the tenant will be in line with the latest laws regarding security deposit refunds.
  • Q: Do I have to clean the windows and clean carpets before my first tenant moves in?

    A: We highly recommend that you have the property, including all windows and carpets, professionally cleaned before a tenant is given possession.  This will ensure that when you receive the property back from the tenant it is in the same condition.
  • Q: Once a tenant vacates, can I repair damages myself and send you a bill to deduct from tenant deposit?

    A: Yes, it is completely permissible for an owner to make their own repairs.  However, it may be more timely and convenient to allow us to choose from one of our very qualified, and insured vendors to make necessary repairs.
  • Q: Who chooses the color and carpet type for my property?

    A: You do! You own the property and choose paint color, and flooring options.  Of course we are always available to offer suggestions that will maximize the desirability of the property and fetch you top dollar!
  • Q: Do I have to paint every time a tenant vacates?

    A: While a full repaint is typically not required between tenants, touch up paint typically is necessary to keep you property looking fresh for prospective tenants. 
  • Q: Can I leave some things in the house for the tenants to use?

    A: While it is not uncommon for owners to express interest in leaving items like washers and dryers or refrigerators, other personal items, and this can run the gamut from cleaning products to patio furniture, are discouraged.  If it is something that you choose to do anyway, we will recommend that you leave these items of personal property without warranty.  That means that if they reach the end of their expected life cycle, or they are damaged or broken, you are not obligated to repair or replace these items.  In turn, the tenant cannot be held responsible for damaged or missing items.
  • Q: Do I have to clean the chimney prior to tenants moving in?

    A: Yes, the chimney will need to be cleaned as a matter of health and safety.  The tenant will be required to clean the chimney upon move out, ensuring you receive the property in the same condition in which it was received.
  • Q: How often are your drive-by Inspections?

    A: Palomar Property Services completes quarterly drive by inspections allowing us an idea of how the landscaping and exterior of the property is being maintained, as outlined in the lease agreement.
  • Q: How often can you request interior inspections?

    A: Palomar Property Services completes annual interior property inspections using state of the art technology. This non-invasive inspection helps to ensure the interior of the property is being maintained in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement.  Additionally, it gives us an opportunity to identify any health or safety related matters that could become a liability for you in the future.  After our assessment, you will receive a report complete with photos of the property that we use to track and document any changes.
  • Q: What if they bring a pet to the property and they don't tell you?

    A: As more and more tenants are seeking pet-friendly rentals, we highly recommend you allow pets when renting out your property.  With this hurdle out of the way, a tenant will not need to “sneak” a pet into your property, and this gives us the opportunity to properly screen and document these pets.  You will also be offered the PPS Good Pet Guarantee stating if any pet we’ve screened and placed after Jan 1st 2020 causes damage to a property, PPS will cover up to $2500 in damages (service and support animals are exempt from this guarantee).  If a tenant brings in a pet when they have not been approved, however, it would be considered a violation of their lease agreement.  We would serve a legal notice that requires they remove the pet and comply with the terms of the lease.
  • Q: Can we charge them a pet fee even if it is a service animal?

    A: No, while from an outside perspective, pets and service or support animals may seem like they fall into the same category, they do not.  Service animals, emotional support animals, and pets are all different. Tenants that need to have emotional support animals or service animals are protected by two primary laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Laws.

    Palomar Property Services has partnered with PetScreening.com, a service that assist us in documenting and screening pets vs. service animals.  If an animal has been verified as a service or support animal, no additional fees or deposit can be charged. You must keep in mind, the animal has the right to be in the property and you cannot discriminate against the applicant on the basis of the service animal or emotional support animal. The classification of service or support animal does not, however, prohibit you from charging for damages caused by emotional support animals or service animals. If there are damages that are above and beyond the normal wear and tear of a well-behaved animal, you are allowed to charge for the cost of repairs or replacements.
  • Q: Do you use the security deposit towards last month's rent?

    A: No, our lease prohibits that the security be used toward the last month of rent.
  • Q: What happens if the tenant wants to break the lease?

    A: As stipulated in our lease agreement, the tenant is required to pay rent and applicable utilities until the unit is re-rented. Note that Palomar Property Services offers a leasing guarantee, and we will replace the tenant at no cost if the tenant breaks the lease. Further, when signing an agreement with Palomar Property Services, you have the option to purchase a landlord protection insurance policy that can cover these damages. https://www.palomarpropertyservices.com/landlord-protection
  • Q: How do I get out of a lease?

    A: A lease is a legally binding contract and cannot be cancelled by the landlord, except in certain circumstances, and with the agreement of both parties.
  • Q: What happens if the tenant ruins my property?

    A: Palomar Property Services has a thorough approach to pre-screening tenants, reducing the chances of tenant damages. Bear in mind, even with the best screening in place, sometimes damages happen. Very few of our move-out dispositions have tenant damages that exceed the security deposit. However, in that event, we try to collect the sum from the tenant. Should the tenant not pay, you will need to sue them in small claims court. We are not debt collectors but can refer you to companies who can assist you. Once again, signing an agreement with Palomar Property Services, you have the option to purchase a landlord protection insurance policy that can cover such damages. https://www.palomarpropertyservices.com/landlord-protection
  • Q: I am an out of state owner. I heard you must withhold rent and send it to the FTB. Can you explain?

    A: For owners that live outside of California, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) requires property managers to withhold 7% of gross payments and submit to the FTB quarterly. You may be exempt from this regulation, eligible for a waiver, or eligible for reduced withholding. Your tax professional can give you personalized advice.
  • Q: How do you handle repairs?

    A: Tenants can report a maintenance issue via our website.  Requests are reviewed Monday to Friday during business hours. For after-hours maintenance, repairs or emergencies, tenants are instructed to call our 24/7 line at (760) 775-1700 and listen to the prompts.

    When a request comes into our office, we assess it and see if it needs immediate dispatch or if it is an issue that we can troubleshoot with the tenant. If the issue needs further repair, we send a work order to one of our vendors. We use all 3rd party vendors and do not do maintenance in house. The platform we use, called Property Meld, ensures that everything stays organized and updated for the tenants and our staff.

    Upon receipt of the request, the vendor contacts the tenant to set up a time to make the repair.

    If the amount of the repair falls under the preauthorized amount and additional authorization is not necessary, our vendors will complete the repair on the spot, take photos before and after work, and submit an invoice to our company for payment.

    If the repair is larger and requires owner approval, we will submit to you a copy of the vendor estimate in writing.

    For emergency maintenance and habitability issues, we will act quickly to protect persons or property, always with our owners' best interest in mind.

    Property owners will get regular communication on all repair items, including but not limited to notification that a request was received, notification that an appointment was scheduled, and notification that the repair was completed. Upon completion of the work, you will receive a copy of the vendor’s invoice attached to your owner statement.

    Once a repair is completed and invoiced, we email the tenant a survey asking them to confirm the repair was completed satisfactorily, that the vendor was professional, and we ask them to rate their overall experience with the vendor and our team. We also make sure the cost of the repair is competitive and confirm that the work was completed satisfactorily.
  • Q: Do you have a list of vendors you use? Can you refer me to one to do work at my personal residence?

    A: Yes, we have a list of preferred vendors we use. To be a preferred vendor, a vendor must:

    1. Sign our vendor agreement, where they agree to certain standards and a code of conduct.
    2. Carry insurance.
    3. Have a proven history of great service and quality work.
    4. Have competitive pricing and reasonable timeframes.
  • Q: Can I use my own contractors?

    A: The contractors we use provide quality workmanship and competitive pricing.

    With that said, we are always willing to try someone new. However, we do require that they have appropriate licenses, a completed W-9, carry general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, if required by law. If you would like us to consider using your contractor, please provide us their contact information so we can reach out and see if they are a good fit.
  • Q: What type of insurance do I need to carry?

    A: We highly recommend all homeowners to carry a Landlord Policy, which is specific to landlords with rental properties. If you currently have a simple homeowners’ policy, it is imperative that you consult with your insurance agent to discuss putting a Landlord Policy in place. A Landlord policy could be a little more expense, but the extra coverage is very important.
  • Q: Can I make changes to your management agreement?

    A: The terms in our management agreement are designed into the systems of operations we have in place. It is hard for us to change terms without having to change our operations. Most of the time we cannot change our agreement, but if you have a specific concern, please contact us so that we may address it with you.
  • Q: Can you pay my mortgage, HOA, and other bills?

    A: We do not pay mortgages but are happy to pay your other bills. Please note that the reserve balance in your account may need to be increased by an amount equal to the total of the recurring bills.
  • Q: Can I sell my property while the tenant is still in there?

    A: If you decide to sell, please contact us so that we can guide you toward the right approach for your situation. There are some things we may be able to do to help, as it is possible to sell while a tenant is in the unit. However, occupied homes generally do not show as well as vacant, professionally staged homes. And because we must provide the tenant with a 24-hour notice before a showing of the property, scheduling can get complicated. A lease agreement with a tenant will survive the sale of a property, If the tenant has multiple months left on their lease, your pool of buyers will be limited only to investors, cutting out the largest majority of buyers who are not investors. The condition that a tenant keeps the unit in plays a part as well.
  • Q: Should my property be in top condition?

    A: A property that is not in top condition simply won’t rent as quickly, or for as much as those that are rent-ready. There are some things you can do ahead of time to improve the overall condition of the property, greatly enhancing its curb appeal. When meeting with you, we are happy to go over possible upgrades which will help get top dollar and attract good tenants. We have checklists for cleaning and require all properties to be in turn-key condition. It is very important that the property is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will catch the attention of a good, qualified tenant.
  • Q: How do we determine rental price?

    A: We provide an expert market analysis for each property we manage to maximize your return on investment.
  • Q: What is your guarantee?

    A: Palomar Property Service offers several guarantees.

    1. Our Tenant Guarantee: We guarantee the tenant for the life of the lease. If the tenant we place in your property does not abide by the terms of the contract or vacates early, we will secure the next tenant at no cost to you.
    2. Our Management Price Guarantee: Bring us written pricing from any local firm, and as long as the other firm does not charge fees in addition to their base percentage/flat fee pricing – we guarantee to match it.
    3. Our Payment Guarantee: We want you to be 100% satisfied with our services so we are only paid when you are paid. If the tenant does not pay their rent as agreed, you don’t pay a management fee.
    4. Our Reply Guarantee: If an owner calls, texts or emails us during the business weekday, we will respond within 24-hours, or we will waive that month’s management fee.
    5. Our 21 Day Rental Guarantee: We guarantee that we will find a qualified tenant for your property within 21 days of advertisement, or we will waive the leasing fee.  Some conditions will apply.
    6. Our Satisfaction Guarantee: If you are not satisfied with our services, you are free to cancel with no penalty.
  • Q: How do you qualify tenants?

    A: We conduct extensive screening on all tenants. For the tenant application process, we welcome all applicants, and support equal access and Fair Housing laws. Every person over 18, who will reside at the rental property, must be named on the lease, complete and submit a rental application, and pay a $45.00 application fee. We follow specific guidelines to verify proof of income, identity, housing, and credit history, as well as pet ownership, ensuring you a quality tenant.
  • Q: What lease length do you recommend, and how do lease renewals work?

    A: We require a minimum of a one-year lease, except at the owner's request. Sometimes a tenant will offer an owner more money for a shorter lease, which may be approved. Longer leases are approved after discussion with the property owner. All leases are in writing and agreed upon by the owner. At renewal, we may on occasion elect to place a tenant on a month-to-month or 6-month rental lease, with owner approval.

    The process for lease renewal begins well in advance of the end of a tenant's lease. We start by looking at the comps of your house and current rental rates. 90 days before the lease ends, we will be sending you information on the comps of your property as well as our rate recommendations. At this point you will have two weeks to respond. Without a response, we will assume you want to move forward with the lease renewal process.

    Between days 120 and 60 we are going to be doing interior property assessments. If we see red flags, we will stop the renewal process and contact you. Around 60 days prior to the lease expiration, we will be sending the new lease to the tenant. The lease will not be sent to the tenant if there are red flags on the interior property evaluation or if they have a past due balance. The tenant has 30 days to sign the lease. If they decline to sign the lease offered, they will be allowed to continue on a month-to-month basis at an increased rate. Once the lease is signed, we will upload it to your owner portal.

    If the tenant chooses to move out rather than renew the lease, we will notify you via email.
  • Q: What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent?

    A: In the unfortunate event that a tenant has not made their agreed upon payment, we will start our in-house collection process and will serve notices as required by local laws. Keep in mind that if the tenant does not pay their rent as agreed, you do not pay a management fee.

    On the rare occasions that a tenant needs to be evicted from your rental, we will shield you from the stress and re-rent the property as promptly as possible, while assisting you through the entire legal process. Remember, by signing an agreement with Palomar Property Services, you have the option to purchase a landlord protection insurance policy that can cover these damages. https://www.palomarpropertyservices.com/landlord-protection
  • Q: What is your pest control policy?

    A: Owners are responsible for all pest control in the first 60 days of a new tenancy. If the tenant has any pests, owners will pay to have the house treated. The owner is responsible for maintaining the residence in a reasonable rodent and/or cockroach-proof condition and for rectifying any condition that would allow pests to enter and nest. Infestations of squirrels, skunks, rats, and other vermin, as they can cause damage to a property and can be a health risk to people, must also be treated at the owner’s expense. After the first 60 days, the tenant is responsible for some pest control, and has an obligation to keep the property in a clean and sanitary condition so as not to promote the attraction of rodents and or pests.
  • Q: Will I need to add my manager as additional insured on my insurance policy?

    A: Yes, our contract requires that you do. Our office carries Error and Omission insurance, General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, and other ancillary insurance coverages. While they all have a protection, none of these offer sufficient protection to our company for a claim that may arise from the home itself, nor will protect all of us against claims that may arise not of our doing.

    For example, imagine that a home has a water leak and it renders the property uninhabitable and ruins the tenant’s personal property. The tenants are required by the lease to carry insurance to cover their property, but instances occur where the tenant may file suit against you and our company for damages. While your insurance would defend you in the liability suit, it is unlikely that our office would be extended any coverage from your policy, and our commercial policies would not cover this. By adding us as additional insured, we are able to share in the legal defense provided under your policy.

    The practice of adding a property manager as additional insured on your existing policy has become the standard in our industry, and should not be at an additional expense to you.