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Call 408-559-5649

New Inspection Requirements for California Balconies and Raised Decks

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Property Management, Uncategorized

On June 16, 2015, a fifth-story exterior balcony collapsed at a popular apartment building named Library Gardens near the University of California, Berkeley. At the time of the incident, a group of Irish exchange students were gathering on the balcony celebrating a 21st birthday party. Unfortunately, six students perished as a direct result of the collapsed balcony and seven others were severely injured (many of these people were cousins from one family). After an extensive investigation it was determined that the cause of the collapse was defective construction, and defective building materials. The construction method allowed moisture to enter the balcony joists inside the building cavity, causing dry rot and eventually failed structural members. The California Contractor’s State Licensing Board revoked the license of the company that installed the balcony.  Diligent inspection and follow through by a competent property management team could have prevented this tragedy.

There were reports that evidence of dry rot had been observed on the balcony before this incident. Several lawsuits were filed and alleged that the building contractor Segue Construction used inferior composite wood in lieu of more robust pressure-treated structural members to construct the balcony. It was also alleged that one of the subcontractors allowed moisture to accumulate and saturate those failed structural composite members prior to closing up that balcony – thus encapsulating wet-wood members. It was also observed that mushrooms began to grow on the outside of that failed balcony as well as the fourth-floor balcony. Even though this information was brought to the property manager’s and building owner’s attention they elected to do nothing about it.  A 145-page report prepared by the Contractor’s State Licensing Board details the precise issues, defects, and negligence that led to this catastrophe.

Owners and Property Managers are Now Required to Perform Periodic Inspections of California Balconies and Raised Decks

In response to this tragedy, the California legislature passed SB 721 to impose additional inspection requirements on owners of buildings containing “exterior elevated elements,” such as raised decks or balconies. Building owners must obtain an inspection of the exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements. These inspections are now required to be performed by a licensed architect, licensed civil or structural engineer, a building contractor holding specified licenses, or an individual certified as a building inspector or building official. The inspector must present its report to the owner of the building within 45 days of the completion of the inspection, and the owner must maintain copies of the report for 2 inspection cycles. Each inspection cycle is six years. A condominium conversion owner must obtain an inspection before the close of escrow.

If the inspection reveals conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupant, the inspection report must be delivered to the owner of the building with 15 day and emergency repaired be undertaken. Importantly, notice must be given to the local enforcement agency, or authority have jurisdiction. If repairs are not completed on time, the local enforcement agency or authority having jurisdiction my send a 30-day corrective notice to the owner of the building and assess civil penalties and liens against the property.

Contact Silicon Valley Property Management Group if You Have Questions or Concerns About this New Law

If you are a building owner with a raised deck or balcony you are now required to follow this new inspection law. Forward this article to your property management company so they are aware of these new requirements. If you manage your building yourself and would like additional information about this new requirement please don’t hesitate to reach out to David Roberson, Esq. at Silicon Valley Property Management Group or give me a call at 1-408-838-5113.

Hiring a Gardener to Trim Trees Might Expose Homeowners to Liability They Didn’t Bargain For

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Uncategorized, workers compensation

There is an old saying in the trades that goes something like this, “there is a high price to the low bid.”  Unsuspecting homeowners and property managers who hire independent contractors who subsequently get injured on the property could potentially be liable for the injured person.  California Labor Code Section 2750.5.  Several factors determine the ultimate liability, but I imagine this fact situation will make several of you reading this think twice before you hire your next tree trimmer.

Pre-Market Rental Property Inspections Are Critical

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized Rental property owners usually desire three things from the professionals helping them; trust, transparency, and guarantees.  Specifically, they want to know their properties are being taken care of properly by a trustworthy professional.  To accomplish that first goal SVPMG performs pre-market rental property inspections of the properties we are considering to represent to determine compliance with the California Habitability Standards and state building codes.  Most of our competitors don’t have the broad based experience and knowledge to competently accomplish this task.  Our principal owner/broker, David Roberson, Esq., is a former building inspector (certified in 12 separate and distinct building codes and standards) and has inspected over 2,500 single family residences, 12,000,000 square feet of new construction commercial space and is very knowledgeable about each and every building he inspects.  Having your rental property inspected prior to marketing and leasing it can save hours of troubleshooting and headaches after the tenant moves into the property.

New Garage Door Opener Law Goes in Effect July 1, 2019

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized

Unfortunately, at least five souls lost their lives during the most recent devasting Northern California forest fires because their garage door openers did not function after power failed at their properties.  In an attempt to help prevent unnecessary loss of life in similar situations the California Legislature passed SB 969 which will take effect July 1, 2019.  The law effects any and all residential properties going forward because it imposes new requirements on all garage door openers installed into the future.  Homeowners, residential rental property owners and property managers managing rental units who are replacing automatic garage doors will now be required to install garage door openers with battery backup systems.

Contractors Can Not Under Report Workers Compensation Insurance Obligations

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Uncategorized, workers compensation

In the state of California, every employee (not a family member) working for a contractor must be covered by Workers Compensation insurance.  Not having proper Workers Compensation insurance in accordance with California Business and Professions Code Section 7125 et seq. can lead to serious ramifications for contractors, including having to pay back any compensation provided to them on any given project, no matter where the project is at in the construction phase.  California Business and Professions Code Section 7031 et seq.  Workers Compensation insurance is serious business in California and contractors must abide by the laws to avoid significant legal issues and potentially lose their license.  To defraud the state of California by failing to pay insurance for employees or under report the type of work or amount of work being conducted has equal penalties for contractors.  Importantly, consumers are the ultimate losers as insurance claims against uninsured or underinsured contractors end up being distributed to California citizens.

California Habitability Standards

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in For Tenants, Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized

What are the repercussions for the tenant and the homeowner for an unpermitted Accessory Dwelling Unit? David Roberson, Esq. answers the question at the “Tiny Homes, Micro Units & Community” event presented by the Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition. If you need a property management professional to help you with your rental or investment properties call us today.  1-408-838-5113

Self-Management or Property Management Professional? That is the Question

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Landlords, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Palo Alto, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized

Rental Properties Can Dominate You If You Aren’t Careful

When you’re thinking about advantages and disadvantages of owning a rental property, it’s easy to narrow the thinking down to the equation of rental income minus expenses equals your profit. This is a basic formula to start with, but there are so many different factors and variables that go into making it more complex than it seems. Many rental property owners don’t realize how much of their own time and effort is required for upkeep, taking tenant calls, collecting rent, enforcing leases and more. This brings us to the point of whether it’s worth the investment of your own time to handle these duties, or if paying a property management company to handle them for you is the way to go. Everyone views these perspectives differently but getting an overall understanding of both sides will help you make the decision that fits your lifestyle best. Finally, most people I meet don’t realize there are actually four (4) different ways to make money in rental properties – spending your time managing the property might not always be in your best interests.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Rental Property

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in For Tenants, Landlords, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized

For some people, owning a rental property can seem like a dream scenario. For others, it may seem like a nightmare they’ll never wake up from. It’s only natural to have mixed feelings about owning a rental property, since there are so many different pros and cons to think about. Even when you take the time to weigh them all out, it can still seem like there are just as many risks as there are rewards.  Most of the time, a person’s experience owning a rental property won’t be a complete dream scenario where there aren’t any issues and the rent checks just keep flowing in. But the experience won’t be a complete nightmare either. It will be somewhere in between. There will be plenty of ups and downs, things you can plan for and things you get blindsided by. Everyone has a different risk tolerance, so making a list of the pros and cons of owning a rental property can help you decide whether the risks are worth the rewards for you.

Mold Prevention and Mitigation Guide for Property Managers

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in For Tenants, Landlords, Menlo Park, Non-Owner Occupied Properties, Palo Alto, Property Management, Silicon Valley Real Estate Investing, Uncategorized

mold-removalI rarely use the “M” word because I’m not an industrial hygienist or a laboratory.  However, mold is commonly talked about in the real estate world and is everywhere – that simple fact doesn’t take away from the seriousness of it.  A mold infestation or contamination can be extremely damaging to a property and to investment property managers.  Not only does mold put your tenants/residents at risk, but you and the property owner may have to spend a significant amount of time and money to properly mitigate the environmental condition and make the rental unit a safe and comfortable place to live.  Moreover, mold creates a significant stigma on a property which most certainly attaches and affects value and desirability.  In addition to educating yourself about mold, one of the best things you can do is focus on the common areas (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms) where mold grows and do your best to prevent it by keeping these rooms, walls, ceilings as dry as possible.  However, if mold/mildew growth is already there, it’s time to take care of it before the issue becomes more serious.  Remember, a property manager and/or landlord’s primary duty is to provide a habitable rental unit – a unit with mold is not habitable.

Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are Causing Cities and Counties to Re-Think Their Restrictions

Written by David Roberson, Esq. on . Posted in Uncategorized

AIRBNB, VRBO, and Other Short-Term Rentals (STRs) Uses Continue to Escalate Causing Cities, Counties and HOAs to Make Regulations or Outright Restrictions Before We Lose Our Neighborhoods

Transitory residencies, also known as STRs are expanding and growing everywhere we look.  Internet based services like AIRBNB, VRBO, help owners rent out their properties on a short-term basis for a small percentage fee.  Many owners, especially those on fixed income budgets see this as an opportunity to have an additional income stream save for the personal privacy issue they must grapple with.  Moreover, with the current housing shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area most local jurisdictions welcome any additional avenue of increased housing including STRs and accessory dwelling units ADUs, notwithstanding the potential frictions caused by them within the neighborhood they reside in.

Silicon Valley Property
Management Group

1900 Camden Avenue
San Jose, CA 95124

We manage residential and commercial rental properties in San Jose, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos Hills and every point in between.

They get things done right and right away

Great services organization. They get things done right and right away, highly professional and no nonsense. I would highly recommend this firm for leasing or renting/selling a property.
- Eric Frazier
Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 1 reviews

CA RE Broker #01942886