Owners FAQs


We invest in advanced technology systems so we can provide you with the best service and manage your properties efficiently and effectively. We have chosen property management and accounting software called AppFolio Property Manager. Some of the benefits that we are able to pass on to you:

How does SVPMG screen tenant applicants?

SVPMG utilizes a sophisticated software investigatory system to prepare a report which evaluates credit history, past evictions, and criminal records. We also verify employment and income utilizing the applicant’s most recent two paystubs. The tenant pays for cost incurred for the screening report by SVPMG.  Applicants will need a minimum FICO credit score of 700 and gross income equal to 3X the rent – just to initially qualify.  Other factors will be evaluated during the screening process.

Which parties sign the lease agreement?

SVPMG signs the lease as an agent for the owner as this is the most expedient procedure. The owner will receive a copy of the fully executed lease and a copy will be retained in the owner’s file permanently stored on a server with our dynamic accounting system.

Who chooses the tenant?

SVPMG selects the most qualified tenant in an effort to strictly comply with Fair Housing Laws. This process is designed to help prevent potential problems for owners. SVPMG works with the owner to identify and present the most qualified tenants, but SVPMG has the final say. If an owner refuses to approve any applicant because of bias or discrimination we will be forced to cancel our property management agreement.
Government Code Sections 12926(p), 12927(e), 12955(a),(d). See Fair Employment and Housing Act, Government Code Section 12900 and following; Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 United States Code Section 3601 and following.

Does the owner get to see the rental application and credit report?

No. As an agent for the owner SVPMG has permission from the tenant to evaluate the private information they are giving in return for being considered for a unit. SVPMG is not allowed to turn over private information, however, the owner is entitled to have a copy of the fully executed lease for their files.

Who decides maintenance cost controls? What about emergencies?

If maintenance issues arise SVPMG will delegate repairs up to $500 without consent of the owner. If the repair is over $500 the owner will be contacted and SVPMG will obtain bids before a decision is made regarding the repair. In the event of an emergency all attempts to contact the owner will be made, however to prevent injury to person or property an emergency repair will be made to mitigate damages with expediency

Who holds the Security Deposit during the tenancy?

SVPMG holds the security deposit in a separate trust account as mandated by law. This process is designed to help prevent potential problems for owners who sometimes fail to maintain the proper balances in their security deposit trust accounts. Tenants also earn interest on the security deposits through the trust accounts which is paid annually or at the end of the tenancy.

Can the owner use their own maintenance person, contractor, or handyman?

The owner can choose any tradesperson they wish to perform repairs on their property. However, if the repair requires a building permit it is SVPMG’s advice that the owner only use licensed, insured and qualified contractors. If the owner chooses to use unlicensed people SVPMG will issue a notice to the owner regarding the potential risks of this course of conduct.

Who returns the security deposit and when?

The California Civil Code 1950.5 dictates the California law regarding requirements and returns of security deposits. SVPMG will follow the letter of the law with regard to tenant rights, landlord rights, landlord obligations, and course of conduct. Generally, a security deposit must be returned within 21 days after a tenant has vacated a property. The amount returned may reflect deductions for cleaning, repairs, unpaid rent, or damage to furnishings after the tenant has been given the statutory warnings and notices regarding their ability to rectify those issues. California Civil Code Section 1950.5(g)(1); See also http://housing.ucsc.edu/cro/pdf/CCC_security-deposits.pdf.

What happens if the tenant is late with rent or doesn’t pay rent?

If a tenant hasn’t paid by the 3rd call, an email notification, and a written letter via US mail. There is also a late fee charged at this time of $100 for first late and $200 for subsequent late fees. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161(2)-(4). If the tenant doesn’t respond with a payment or a valid, legal excuse by the 5th of the month, a three-day notice to pay or vacate will be issued and the eviction process will begin. SVPMG will also notify the tenant that SVPMG intends to report the late payment to a national credit bureau. SVPMG intends to report negative credit information to a credit bureau and will disclose this policy to the tenant. SVPMG will also notify the tenant of its intent before or within 30 days after reporting the negative payment history. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161(2)-(4); California Civil Procedure Section 1785.26.

Does SVPMG provide a property condition report before tenant move-in and after the tenant vacated?

Yes, SVPMG provides a pre-tenancy condition report, and a post-tenancy condition report, complete with photos and damage description (if any).

What if the tenant or tenant guests causes damage?

If damage to the property can be proved against the tenant or their guests the owner is within their rights to withhold the cost to repair and/or replace the damage from the tenant’s security deposit. California Civil Code Section 1950.5(b)(3).

What can security deposits be used for at the end of the tenancy?

California Civil Code Section 1950.5 specifies that a tenant’s security deposit may be used for 1) unpaid rent, 2) offsets for repairs or damage caused by the tenant or tenant’s guests, 3) for cleaning the unit to a state identical to when tenant took possession, and 4) cost to repair or replace of the month SVPMG will issue a courtesy furnishings or keys if agreed to at inception of lease. California Civil Code Section 1950.5(b); California Civil Code Section 1950.5(b)(e).

How much is the maximum security deposit?

SVPMG will can charge up to twice the monthly rent for unfurnished units, or 2-1/2 times for unfurnished units with a waterbed, and three times the rent for furnished units or 3-1/2 times for furnished units with waterbeds. California Civil Code Section 1950.5.

Can the owner charge extra for pets, or not allow pets?

Yes, if you allow pets they are extra. Typically, $500 is added to the security deposit for pets. In addition, a monthly pet rent can be charged between $50 to $100, but the security deposit may not exceed two times the rent for unfurnished or three times the rent for furnished.

How often are inspections done?

SVPMG offers a once-a-year preventative maintenance inspection conducted by our staff (experience building inspector). SVPMG will also conduct inspections upon request of the tenant, upon the receipt of a complaint, upon the notice from a vendor, upon notice of a continued maintenance request or condition, upon a 30-day or 60-day notice to vacate, and prior-tenancy and post-tenancy inspections. If SVPMG has placed the owner on notice of problems and the owner refuses to repair or maintain areas of the property that require constant observation SVPMG reserves the right to bill owner for repeated visits and/or inspections of the property.

What happens during an emergency condition?

SVPMG is on call 24-hours for emergencies. During business hours SVPMG will send a vendor out immediately. If after hours the tenant’s call will go to a 24-hour call service. After assessing the emergency condition action will be taken either immediately or early the next morning if not life threatening.

What happens when major work is required on the property?

Maintenance required to turn over a unit (i.e., get it ready for rent to new tenant) is charged at SVPMG’s cost. This typically includes minor handyman’s work, paint touch up, caulking, cleaning, etc. Outside vendors that are hired to repair major systems like roof replacement, exterior and interior painting, major remodeling, major plumbing or electrical replacement or installation require a 8% markup which will be added to vendor’s bid and paid by the owner.

Does SVPMG obtain more than one bid for work?

SVPMG obtains competitive bids for all work, unless it is minor maintenance under $500. Excessive requests by owners for more than three bids for work will result in a service charge for SVPMG’s time in obtaining the bids. SVPMG’s best judgment will be used during these situations and sometimes less than three bids will be obtained if it is determined that the bids received and fair and competitive for the work required.

Does SVPMG inspect completed work?

Yes. However, some landscaping projects, minor leaks, and other minor repairs will not be inspected if the contractor is reputable and provides digital photographs of the work performed. These small projects will typically be inspected when SVPMG is getting the property ready to market the property for rent and/or showing to prospective tenants.

Does the owner get copies of receipts for work completed?

Yes. All receipts and invoices will be included in the monthly invoices and/ or reports sent to owner. A copy will also be included in the owner’s file permanently stored on a server with our dynamic accounting system.

Who determines the rental rate?

SVPMG determines the “present” going market rental rate based on comparable rentals in the neighborhood and surrounding marketplace. SVPMG will consult with the owner to collaborate and will use owner’s recommendation if owner insists. When the rental rate is competitive there will be many applicants and a quick rental agreement. If not, the property may sit for a while.

Does SVPMG prepare properties to sell?

Yes. SVPMG is a licensed real estate broker and can assist owners with most real estate needs, but we do not sell real estate.  We can refer a qualified agent or broker if you’d like.

What is the current law regarding giving notices to tenants to vacate?

California Civil Code Section requires a 30-day notice to vacate if the tenant has been in the property less than one year and a 60-day notice if more than one year. A 90-day notice is required if the tenant has a Section 8 Housing Voucher. California Civil Code Section 1946.

What forms does an owner need to fill out to get started?

SVPMG will provide the owner with a Property Management Agreement to get started. During the course of the agreement the owner will be provided with various forms including a “Move-In/Move-Out Inspection,” “Residential Lease,” “Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Addendum,” and “Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Addendum.”

Does SVPMG require owners to maintain a balance in their accounts for maintenance charges or miscellaneous expenses?

Yes. SVPMG requires a $500 balance in the owner’s account to pay for minor maintenance and miscellaneous expenses.

How can we contact SVPMG with questions, comments or concerns?

SVPMG is always available to discuss the ongoing contractual relationship between owners and SVPMG. Do not hesitate to call Gregg Bunker with questions, concerns or comments at 1-408-781-1725.