Rental Housing March/April Issue

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EAST BAY RENTAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION | MARCH/APRIL 2024 | $9.95 Housing rental SERVING ALAMEDA AND CONTRA COSTA COUNTIES Housing Treasure Hunt Getting Ready to Sell Helping At-Risk Renters Spotlight on CONCORD
2 MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM MARCH/APRIL 2024 Features 36 CLOSING THE DEAL Preparing an Apartment Building for Sale 40 SOUND SECURITY Insider Insights into Renter Safety and Security COVER AND THIS PAGE: CHRIS TIPTON Contents


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Volume XXXVI Number 29 | March/April 2024


3664 Grand Ave., Suite B, Oakland, CA 94610

TEL 510.893.9873 | FAX 510.893.2906


Derek Barnes | 510.893.9873 ext. 407


Chris Tipton | 510.893.9873 ext. 404


Danielle Baxter | 510.893.9873 ext. 403

MEMBER SERVICES AND SUPPORT | 510.893.9873 ext. 414


Shani Brown | 510.893.9873 ext. 406


Ken Lam | 510.893.9873 ext. 405


PRESIDENT Wayne C. Rowland





Francisco Acosta, Luke Blacklidge, Maya Clark, Carmen Madden, Chris Moore, Courtney Morse, Fred Morse, Deeana Owens Joshua Polston, Wayne C. Rowland, Jack Schwartz, Maria Recht, Aaron Young

PUBLISHED BY East Bay Rental Housing Association

PUBLISHER Derek Barnes

EDITOR Michelle Gamble

ART DIRECTOR Bree Montanarello

Rental Housing (ISSN 1930-2002-Periodicals Postage Paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RENTAL HOUSING, 3664 Grand Ave., Suite B, Oakland, CA 94610.

Rental Housing is published bimonthly for $9.95 per issue by the East Bay Rental Housing Association (EBRHA), 3664 Grand Ave., Suite B, Oakland, CA 94610.

Rental Housing is not responsible for the return or loss of submissions or artwork. The magazine does not consider unsolicited articles. The opinions expressed in any signed article in Rental Housing are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of EBRHA or Rental Housing This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal service or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent person should be sought. Acceptance of an advertisement by this magazine does not necessarily constitute any endorsement or recommendation by EBRHA, express or implied, of the advertiser or any goods or services offered. Published bimonthly, Rental Housing is distributed to the entire membership of EBRHA. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced without permission. Publisher disclaims any liability for published articles. Printed by Sundance Press. ©2024 by EBRHA. All rights reserved.

4 MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM Departments
WELCOME Letter from the CEO, Derek Barnes 8 CALENDAR EBRHA Events and O ther H appenings
OUT & ABOUT EBRHA meetings, special events, and member mixers 10 SPOTLIGHT Taking a Look at Macano Tech 12 LEGISLATION By the Numbers, written by Ron Kingston 16 EDUCATE Housing Treasure Hunt: Tips to Find Great Property Deals 18 Strategic Real Estate Expansion: Unlocking New Avenues Beyond the Bay Area 20 How to Prevent Disputes with your Renters Before They Arise 22 Local Spotlight on Maurice Carbajal 24 INFORM Understanding and Tackling Mold: A Property Owner’s Guide 28 5 Hacks to Avoid a Tax Audit 30 Proper Renter Screening Protects Everyone 32 INSPIRE Property Providers Can Step Up to Help At-Risk Renters 34 ADVOCATE You are your Best Advocate 46 INDUSTRY PARTNERS EBRHA DIRECTORY 50 LAST LOOK Creative Space-Saving Products 51 AD INDEX EAD72/ADOBESTOCK Contents MARCH/APRIL 2024 A wet winter has caused lush growth in the East Bay hills of Northern California.

EBRHA members can earn a 2% annual rebate on all in-store and purchases. Sign up for your free Home Depot Pro Xtra account and use program code HDNAA-EBAA to start earning today.

Plus, save up to 20% OFF BEHR® Paints, Stains and Primers. Contact a BEHR PRO® Account Manager at for details or sign up at

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With over 2000 pieces of new state-wide legislation, ever-evolving local housing policy, up-and-down-ballot races, and local recalls, navigating the rental landscape will have challenges and opportunities in 2024. This month, EBRHA’s state lobbyist, Ron Kingston, reports on the key housing state bills (of over 150) that will have a significant impact on the rental housing industry. While a record-breaking number of bills have been introduced by our state legislators this year, there is plenty to track at the local level across Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

EBRHA’s two-county territory includes cities like Alameda, Antioch, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, Pleasanton, Richmond, San Leandro, and Walnut Creek. All these cities have grappled with their own unique set of housing challenges over the years. Some cities can claim successes by enacting thoughtful pro-housing and integrated policies, while others have failed in their attempts and have made their housing crisis demonstrably worse.

We’ve devoted this issue of Rental Housing Magazine to spotlight the City of Concord, where rental property owners and homeowners have been fighting back for months as the mayor and city council impose more Rent Control and Just Cause legislation – well beyond what the state’s renter protections under AB1482 already provide. The city is adopting the same convoluted and disjointed housing policies that have failed in Oakland and Richmond. Tenant-activist attorneys promote these draconian policies from nonprofit groups like ACCE, The Eviction Defense Center, Causa Justa, and Centro Legal de la Raza that produce disastrous outcomes.

Concord legislators and housing staff have a golden opportunity to refocus their efforts on providing incentives and programs to spur housing production, preserve small legacy rental owner businesses, create and expand renter subsidy programs, and establish “means testing” or “needs testing” to ensure lower-income households get prioritized access to housing that is below market rate – including rent-controlled housing.

Many Concord property owners, like Maurice Carbajal, reject these dangerous housing policies that will invariably harm renters over the long term, creating a housing market that emulates Oakland and Richmond. As the recent rallies at Concord City Hall further demonstrate, our collective voices matter. EBRHA will continue devoting its resources to help build short and long-term strategies and coordinate a strong ground game in targeted areas. Additionally, there are many local candidate races across the East Bay in the 2024 election cycle. If legislators are unwilling to listen to their constituents, disenchanted property owners are ready to elect their replacements in November.

As we delve into the year, other challenges persist, but opportunities for innovative leadership, thinking, and solutions will also emerge. Economists and housing experts acknowledge several key problem areas in the housing market, but also they see potential avenues for continued progress. Let’s explore a few of these critical areas.


According to a California Housing Partnership Corporation report, over 50% of renters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are considered rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Economist Gabriel Zucman emphasizes the widening wealth gap, exacerbating the affordability crisis in the East Bay. Rising rents outpace income growth, rendering housing unattainable for many residents. This imbalance perpetuates socioeconomic disparities and threatens community cohesion. In addition to rising housing costs for low-income communities in the region, she also emphasized the importance of creating affordable housing options, which many area cities have yet to accomplish.


Housing expert Matthew Desmond highlights the shortage of rental units in the East Bay. In the last cycle, many cities did not meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) production goals. Data from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley indicates that between 2010 and 2020, Alameda County fell short of meeting its housing needs by over 58,000 units while the broader population increased – contributing to the region’s housing shortage. Over 130k residents could have had new or alternative housing options in the county but did not.

Derek Barnes
“By embracing innovative approaches, stakeholders can forge a more equitable and sustainable housing future for the East Bay. ”

Even when developers built new housing units, below-market rate production lagged far behind plans. The situation is mainly due to regulatory barriers, restrictive and punitive housing policy, stringent zoning regulations, lengthy permitting and approval processes, and the high cost of materials and labor.

These conditions impede new construction, exacerbate supply constraints, and discourage many rental property owners from renting available units. This ultimately and adversely impacts renters. Some estimates reveal that Oakland may have more than 10k+ vacant rental units because of the high risk of renting housing to non-compliant residents and threats from unscrupulous renter attorneys. As a result, demand consistently outstrips supply, driving up rents while disincentivizing property improvements, creating blight and habitability issues, and worsening the homeless crisis, as we’ve seen in cities like Oakland.


The Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley has documented the rapid gentrification and displacement of low-income communities in the East Bay, with many residents and property owners forced to move further away from job centers and essential services. The Alameda County Public Health Department’s Health Equity Index highlights disparities in housing stability, revealing that communities of color in the East Bay experience higher rates of housing instability and displacement due to gentrification.

Sociologist Saskia Sassen warns of gentrification’s adverse effects, particularly in historically marginalized communities like West Oakland. As affluent residents flock to urban cores, long-standing residents face displacement, cultural erosion, and diminished access to affordable housing. When investment dollars and capital don’t flow into the hands of legacy property owners, long-term residents, and local businesses, gentrification intensifies social stratification, erodes neighborhood culture, and dismantles communities. It also displaces longtime residents, property owners, and local businesses which alters the neighborhood’s socioeconomic fabric.

While affordability, supply, and gentrification pressures

persist, economists and housing experts offer insights into more viable pathways. Inclusive zoning policies, public-private partnerships, and innovative financing mechanisms represent promising strategies to address housing inequities and cultivate resilient, inclusive communities. By embracing innovative approaches, stakeholders can forge a more equitable and sustainable housing future for the East Bay.

There are other threats to rental businesses and properties too, especially with the massive amounts of rain over the last several months. Maria Recht, EBRHA Board Member and Sr. Property Manager at Green Tree, contributes to this issue with insightful recommendations for tackling mold. Rental property owners and managers encounter a plethora of issues routinely. However, unvetted and damaging housing policy remains the biggest threat to the housing industry, renters, and rental property owners/managers.

A November ballot measure of great importance to our industry is a third attempt to dismantle Costa-Hawkins (“Justice for Renters Act”) by a Michael Weinstein-sponsored bill. Costa-Hawkins allows owners to adjust rents to the current market rate when a renter, previously paying below market rent, vacates the property – vacancy decontrol. If it is repealed, local jurisdictions will also have free rein to impose and expand Rent Control and Just Cause provisions – including single-family homes and condominiums. It is imperative that all rental property owners stand together and fight in this new attempt at vacancy control and contribute to the EBRHA Community Impact Fund

The rental housing landscape in 2024 presents a complex tapestry of boobytraps for the unwitting, and we must stay informed while standing together. EBRHA continues to evolve to meet the needs of our members and the housing community. In November, we’ll also see a number of candidates and ballot measures, and we will continue to provide information to help our members stay informed. By demanding more collaborative, pragmatic, and forward-thinking approaches from our elected officials, we can build an equitable and fair housing ecosystem in the East Bay that creates stronger relationships between renters and housing providers that does no harm.





Women’s History Month


2 – 3:30PM

The Roundtable

Presented by Wayne Rowland


Daylight Savings Begins


2 – 3:30PM

Mold Abatement and Remediation

Presented by HHD & Reactic Restoration

* MARCH 17

St. Patrick’s Day


3 – 4:30PM

Member Meeting


2 – 3:30PM

The Corporate Transparency Act


5:30 – 7:30PM

Member Mixer

* MARCH 31




April Fool’s Day


2-3:30 PM

Financial Planning

Retirement Preparation

Presented by Gabriel Galiothe


2 – 3:30PM

The Roundtable

Presented by Wayne Rowland


3 – 4:30PM

Member Meeting

* APRIL 18

Tax Day


2 – 3:30PM

The Forum

Presented by Dan Lieberman


5:30-7:00 PM

External Mixer

Left Bank Brasserie


If you would like to submit an event, please send an email to .

Sunset over the Diablo Hills, San Ramon

Out & About


EBRHA CEO, Derek Barnes speaking against Rent Control during Public Comment at the Jan 30th Concord City Council meeting Concord Rental Property Owners Rally at the Jan 30th Council meeting to Stop the City from passing Rent Control and Just Cause ordinance. District 4 County Supervisor Nate Miley with his supporters at a January 26 event at Fluid510. Alameda County Supervisor Candidate Chris Moore talking with the Home Depot/Behr reps at the February 22nd Mixer Concord City Council Rally on Feb 13th. Oakland leaders met on Jan 3 for the first Housing Alliance meeting, hosted at the EBRHA office. Guest socializing at the EBRHA Legal Fundraiser, hosted by John Protopappas. Derek Barnes and Oakland Housing Authority rep Katazia Lopez at the February 22nd Networking Mixer




Norman Romero, founder of Macano Tech, an electrical contracting company that’s electrifying the future with cutting-edge technology and unmatched expertise. A Bay Area collegiate alumnus, Romero graduated at the top of his class with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. His academic excellence laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial journey, leading to the establishment of Macano Tech in 2018. Romero’s expertise in engineering and commitment to innovation have positioned his company as a key player in the EV charging infrastructure industry, reflecting his dedication to environmental stewardship and advanced technology.

Macano Tech is dedicated to pioneering efficient and sustainable electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions. Our mission is to bridge the infrastructure gap for EV charging. We aim to enrich communities by providing accessible, reliable and innovative charging systems, aligning with our vision of a greener, more technologically integrated future.

Q: Where do you see the current status of EV Charging Stations as far as rollout in 2024?

As of 2024, the rollout of EV charging stations is accelerating, particularly in urban and suburban areas. However, there is still a notable gap in rural regions and certain underserved communities. The push from both government incentives and private-sector investments is driving expansion, but consistent growth is needed to meet the rising demand from the increasing EV adoption rates.

Do you feel the infrastructure is readily in place to add these stations to multi-family and multi-unit complexes?

While there have been significant advancements, the infrastructure for EV charging stations in multifamily and multi-unit complexes is not yet fully realized. The common issues are lack of power, retrofitting older buildings, navigating property ownership and management, and most importantly price. However, new constructions are increasingly

“ The newer builds providing the needed amenity is forcing older building owners to make the move sooner than later.”

including EV charging solutions in their design. The newer builds providing the needed amenity is forcing older building owners to make the move sooner than later.

This program on your website was unique: Every business that has an electric vehicle charging station gets added to a directory that drivers can access online through a mobile app, think of that as extra advertising for your business without you spending a dime! Once you get placed on that map it will make it easier for potential clients to find you. Did that get your interest up? Give us a call today or email us for more information.

Can you please elaborate on the program? How did your company come up with this solution and what is its current status in terms of businesses being added to it.

I wish I could take credit for thinking of this idea, but apps like PlugShare and Blink, take the credit for that. They allow business owners to take advantage of their investment to drive business to their properties. It’s a winwin program that boosts visibility for businesses while facilitating the daily lives of EV users. All we do at Macano Tech is bridge the gap between the property owner and the end user.







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MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM 11 Design & Construction All Under One Company! | 510-271-0950 | License: B797467
, I .
RON KINGSTON Legislation

Over 2,200 legislative measures were introduced in just six short weeks this year.

We identified 194 of those measures pertaining to residential rental property.

Eighty-one of the “194” were what we refer to as Tier 1 bills (of high importance to the industry.

And for the record, 5,269 measures have been introduced during the 20232024 state legislative session.

I’ve been advised, keep our descriptions of some of the key bills short, to the point and avoid legalese. Let’s dive right in by subject matter.

Interest on security deposits.

Assembly Member Lori Wilson seeks to change the law regarding security deposits and screening fees. She seeks to make two key changes in existing law. Lessors (residential rental property owners and their agents) would be required to deposit renter security deposits into interest-bearing bank accounts within 30 days of receipt. If enacted, lessors would be then obligated to return the security deposit along with the interest to the lessee upon tenancy termination.

The other key change in law the Assembly Member proposes that is significantly different from existing law is that the bill seeks to adjust the screening fee annually based on the CPI, to capping the fee to $50 without any provision for CPI adjustments. This change departs from a law that was negotiated with all interested parties in the late 1990s. That law initially set the screening fee at $30 per applicant and allowed for an annual CPI adjustment which increased the cap over time to

this year’s maximum fee of $62.02.

Additionally, the bill outlines scenarios in which lessors would be required to refund the screening fee. These scenarios include situations where the fee is not used for its intended purpose, which includes failing to perform personal reference checks or obtain credit reports or if the applicant is not selected for tenancy. The last example is particularly troubling. Interestingly, the bill also seeks to require lessors to include a clear statement of the refund policy in all tenancy application forms.

Lessors May be Required to allow

pets. Assembly Member Matt Haney recently introduced AB 2216. Mr. Haney explains the reasoning behind the bill is that there are more lessees than there are lessors. Mr. Haney’s research turned to Zillow listings and found that 18% of apartment listings in Sacramento allow cats and dogs.

Mr. Haney’s supporters determined that 829,000 renters have pets in their units without the knowledge of the lessor. They claim that the “cause for concern due to damages that are unable to be mitigated.”

The Humane Society of the United States firmly believes that household pets are an integral part of families. The Society has adopted, as part of their support for the bill, that housing is a fundamental right that should not be limited because lessees are “forced to choose between keeping their pet or putting a roof over their head.”

Mr. Haney’s bill proposes to prohibit applicants from inquiring about pets on rental applications and aims to eliminate extra monthly fees, commonly known as “pet rent.”

According to a news article, CAA


believes that a “more balanced approach is necessary . . . and seeks to find a middle ground that safeguards the investments of housing providers.”

The bill, in our judgement, is extremely problematic. It does not take into consideration damage, the interests of other renters, the design of rental units that cannot accommodate the needs of pets, etc. This measure is unquestionably a bill that engenders a spirited debate.

New State Office Could be Established to Strengthen Renter Protections. Yes, you read it right! AB 2187 (Byron) is proposing to create an Office of Renters’ Rights and Protections. This would be in addition to the state and many local governments setting aside millions of dollars for renters to have a “right” to counsel. Mr. Byron is actively pursuing the measure. He is exploring how lessors would pay for the costly operation of establishing and operating the office.

Expansion of Enforcement

Actions of the state Civil Rights Department (CRD). Existing law authorizes the CRD to enforce civil rights laws relating to housing and employment. For decades the department seeks to gain and maintain the rights of individuals employment and housing free from discriminatory practices. Re-

cent changes in the law also authorizes the state Attorney General, the county district attorney, city attorney, or any person discriminated against to file a civil lawsuit when there is reasonable cause to believe someone is infringing on civil rights. The law also allows for civil remedies for civil rights violations and penalties. The remedies can be quite significant. Mr. Maienschein’s AB 2232 would extend the authority to bring a civil action. It is important to note that the CRD, like the Attorney General, county district attorney, city attorney, or any other person generally writes the complaint, investigates it, and makes a determination if a discriminatory practice may have occurred at no charge. The ever-present question is how much more authority is needed to investigate a discriminatory practice?

Obligations of Lessors to Make Repairs. Current law requires lessors to maintain rental properties and dwellings and to undertake necessary repairs to make the property habitable. Exceptions to this requirement include if the lessee significantly violates the lease and causes a material breach of contract. AB 2059 (Flora) seeks to amend current state law that would allow a reasonable time to rectify repairs. The measure proposes that a repair undertaken within 30 days post notification is considered the

lessor acted with a reasonable timeframe, thus the lessor would be given a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence. We like the direction of the bill but note that it has a long way to go. If the author is to be successful, the bill will undergo significant amendments. One of the amendments that must be addresses is to maintain the obligation of a lessor to respond to emergencies, interior premises water repairs etc.

AT&T proposes to abandon landline service. AT&T is facing mounting criticism and opposition over its proposal to scrap landline service in most of the state. Increasing opposition is now coming from cities and counties, rural areas, seniors, and the disabled communities. The opposition claims that residents could be left without a communications lifeline in case of a natural disaster, power outage or health crises. Counties a threatening to subpoena to obtain information about how cutting landlines could aversely affect rural residents. AT&T has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to be dropped as the “carrier of last resort,” a designation requiring it to provide phone service to anyone wanting it in its service area. The telecommunications giant argues that fewer than 7% of households in


its territory uses traditional landline services, which because of the requirement, no longer serves a “valid public purpose.” Further, AT&T claims that cell phone and Internet phone service can replace landlines and in the event

of power outage and disaster-damaged infrastructure have shown those technologies to be unreliable. AT&T also believes that copper landlines are outdated and there are more advanced technologies that are available, which

include higher speed communications like fiber and wireless.

For our next article, we will feature other substantive and extremely important issues to our members that serve the needs of lessees.




Have you ever sleuthed out an amazing deal on a rental property and felt so excited you made the purchase happen? You found a property, one of those fixer-uppers perhaps in a great neighborhood, but largely overlooked because the repairs might seem costly. You weighed the pros and cons and quickly realized, with minimal investment you could turn “one person’s trash into another person’s treasure?” Or, maybe you haven’t figured out the strategies to find these types of properties that could blossom into something so much more than you ever expected. In either case, you can use some practical insights to find more incredible rental properties to expand your portfolio and enjoy long-term profits.

Garrett Ham, CEO of Weekender Management, laid out some specific tips to follow once you decide to get started.


Just as in creating a compelling rental property story, understanding your potential renters’ needs is crucial in rental property hunting too. For example, if your target group is young professionals, real estate properties closer to the city center with modern amenities would likely be more profitable.


An important strategy is to analyze the location beyond its immediate features. I advise looking into the area’s growth prospects, market trends, potential development plans, occupancy rates, or the neighborhood’s average rent. Being able to anticipate market changes can help you snag a bargain before prices inflate.


Lastly, collaborating with legal, financial and real estate professionals can be invaluable in discovering property deals. A keen attorney or an experienced property manager, for example, can provide insights and expertise beyond initial appearances, helping you find a reasonably priced property with excellent potential. As a case study, consider a property owner in San Francisco who, with legal and real estate counsel, purchased a property in an up-and-coming neighborhood. The area witnessed rapid development within a couple of years, significantly raising the property’s value and rental income, which proved how foresight and professional consultation can reap major benefits.


Look for smaller property owners: People who only have a few units or a single building are often much less aggressive about raising their rents, and they also tend to be highly responsive property owners who are easy to get ahold of.


Rental real estate is all about scale. The more units you have under management, the more efficient you’ll be able to be. This means that large complexes with lots of units tend to have lower rents, since the property owners can afford to go low on price and still make a profit.


Rental units in urban areas tend to fill up quickly and then get expensive. Rentals in suburbs and exurbs, on the other hand, are much less in demand among the local population. A small town that’s a short drive down the interstate from a major city can be a great place to find affordable rents.


Another expert, Seamus Nally, CEO of TurboTenant, suggested property owners consider finding true gems at auctions. Seamus advised, “These aren’t always the best route for buyers to take because homes sold at auction often have problems that would otherwise make them difficult to sell, but that’s not always the case. It never hurts to look and see what’s available. You may be able to score a good deal and a fast sale.”

Further, he suggested prospective buyers find an excellent real estate agent to assist in finding the best deals. Nally urged, “Find someone who networks well and knows what properties are going to hit the market before they actually do. Hiring someone like that can make a huge difference, as they will have good connections, negotiation skills, and expertise.”

If you know where you want to buy, spend some time driving around looking for properties that look like they may be abandoned or otherwise not regularly occupied. This is often a sign that homes are about to be put up for sale, and you may be able to beat others to the chase by talking to the owner first.”


Step 1: Decide if immediate cash flow or longterm cash appreciation is more important. This will help to narrow down the areas to put at the top of your search. Popular cities in the East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley) have rent control. So, a buyer would get a lower immediate cash flow, but as renters turn over, owners could get an immediate significant increase in cash flow. Cities without strict rent controls would provide higher cash flow on day one, but there will not be as much of a gap between current rent and market rents.

Step 2: Create a “must-have” list. You have to be realistic. I have spoken to so many buyers who say, “I want great location, a pristine building, and great in-place rents – and for a really good price.” Well, that’s not going to happen. As your trusted advisor, I have to give honest feedback. I’ve had multiple times when I gave an owner a realistic price for their property. They respond, “Thank you, but I’ve found an agent who can get us much higher.” In 100 percent of those cases, it doesn’t sell. The market will tell us the value.

Step 3: When you are searching, your agent has to do a lot of due diligence. a) How long have rents been there? b) Are all the renters on the lease? c) Has the current owner passed through all allowable rent increases? d) Most recent vacancy, did owner get market rent? All these questions affect the value of the building.

This process will only be successful for the buyer if the agent has this specific experience, and the buyer has really been educated for short-term and long-term benefits/challenges.

John Caronna is an East Bay multi-unit owner for 24 years and a Real Estate Multi-Unit Specialist.  For information, email




In the dynamic world of real estate investment, the savvy property owner is always on the lookout for opportunities to expand their portfolio and maximize returns. For owners of multi-unit properties in Oakland, where the real estate market has seen both steady growth and increased regulation, the prospect of diversifying into new markets becomes an enticing option. This article explores the benefits of exchanging properties in the San Francisco Bay Area for opportunities in cities with comparable cash flows and fewer restrictions, with a particular focus on the burgeoning real estate scene in Atlanta.


The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a hub for real estate investment, characterized by soaring property values and robust demand. However, with rising prices and tightening regulations, owners of multi-unit properties in Oakland are exploring strategies to maintain and enhance their wealth.

One approach gaining traction is exchanging properties within the Bay Area for assets in cities that offer comparable cash flows but come with fewer regulatory hurdles. This strategic shift allows investors to diversify their holdings and unlock new opportunities while mitigating risks associated with a singular market.


One market that has caught the attention of astute real estate investors is Atlanta, Georgia. Recognized as one of the hottest rental markets in the country, Atlanta presents an enticing blend of affordability, strong job growth, and a thriving cultural scene.

Atlanta has experienced a steady influx of millennials and professionals seeking a high quality of life without the exorbitant living costs associated with cities like San Francisco. The city’s diverse economy, driven by industries such as technology, finance and healthcare, has fueled job growth, making it an attractive destination for renters and investors alike.



When considering an exchange of properties, it’s crucial to assess the potential cash flows in the new market compared to those in the Bay Area. While the Bay Area undoubtedly offers high rental income, the entry costs and regulatory constraints can impact the overall returns.

Atlanta, on the other hand, provides an opportunity for investors to achieve attractive cash flows with a lower barrier to entry. The city’s lower acquisition costs and relatively favorable regulatory environment contribute to a more balanced risk-reward profile. Additionally, Atlanta’s increasing population and a steady demand for rental properties enhance the prospects of sustainable cash flows for investors.


For owners accustomed to the intricacies of California’s real estate regulations, venturing into a new market requires thorough due diligence on local laws and ordinances. Atlanta’s regulatory landscape, while not without its challenges, generally offers a more property-owner-friendly environment compared to some parts of California. Understanding renter laws, eviction procedures, and property tax structures is crucial for a smooth transition.

The 1031 exchange, a provision in the Internal Revenue Code, presents an excellent opportunity for property owners to defer capital gains taxes when swapping one investment property for another. By strategically utilizing a 1031 exchange, owners of multiunit properties in Oakland can unlock the potential for wealth accumulation in emerging markets like Atlanta, all while deferring taxation.


One groundbreaking initiative facilitating this strategic expansion is “The CA-GA Connection,” spearheaded by Deeana Owens, founder of Owens Real Estate and esteemed Board member of EBRHA. Known affectionately as The Listing Lady, Owens brings a wealth of knowledge, resources and experience to the real estate realm. As a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and having lived in Atlanta for over 10 years, Owens has a keen eye on the burgeoning Atlanta market.

The CA-GA Connection is designed to serve as a bridge for Bay Area multi-unit homeowners and aspiring real estate investors. Leveraging her expertise, Deeana aims to provide invaluable insights on inventory and opportunities in Atlanta, creating a seamless conduit for those looking to diversify their real estate holdings beyond the confines of the Bay Area. “For many of my clients, owning Bay Area income property is like wearing a pair of golden handcuffs, while they may be valuable, they are restrictive, inflexible and limiting. I had to develop a sound solution,” Deeana exclaims. As The Listing Lady extends her reach to the South, this program offers an unprecedented chance for investors to tap into a wealth of information and capitalize on the dynamic opportunities unfolding in the vibrant real estate landscape of Atlanta, Georgia.

As the real estate landscape in the Bay Area continues to undergo transformation, the strategic exchange of properties is becoming an increasingly appealing option for owners of multi-unit properties in Oakland. The prospect of diversifying into markets

with comparable cash flows and fewer restrictions is further facilitated by innovative programs such as The CA-GA Connection. This initiative serves as a vital bridge, offering Bay Area investors unparalleled access to the dynamic opportunities unfolding in the thriving Atlanta market. By leveraging her expertise in both markets, Deeana is not just expanding Owens Real Estate into southern markets but is also creating a valuable avenue for multiunit homeowners and aspiring investors to navigate and capitalize on the promising real estate landscape of Atlanta, Georgia. As investors embrace this strategic shift, the synergy between the Bay Area and Atlanta markets through programs like The CA-GA Connection ensures a holistic and informed approach, setting the stage for continued success in the evolving world of real estate investment.

For more information on this program, contact The Listing Lady, Deeana Owens directly @ (510) 225-5810.




Like we all do with our doctors, we don’t often call our lawyers until there’s a problem. But as an attorney that housing providers often call to help navigate disputes that have arisen with their renters, I can offer some simple tips to consider in hopes you won’t have to:


Although this might seem obvious, I frequently am called upon to talk to housing providers about problems

with their renters that could have been prevented by good due diligence. Of course, starting with a solid rental application is the first step. Actually reading and making sure that application is complete is step two. Following up on what you read is step three. It is that third step that can provide crucial insight. If, for example, you notice discrepancies in a renter’s rental history, stated income, or you see anything else that seems out of the ordinary, follow-up until you receive a satisfactory explanation. Call the prospective occupant’s references. If you receive an explanation that isn’t believable,

such as an odd reason for why a renter cannot provide a better reference from a prior property owner or employer, move on. Also, don’t overlook the value of the Internet, as social media and other online sources such as available court records can provide invaluable (and free) insight into who your prospective renters are.

2 ESTABLISH A GOOD LINE OF COMMUNICATION, AND BE PROFESSIONAL AND RESPECTFUL Disputes often arise from a lack of trust, and a lack of good, open com-


munication. When renters are made to feel at the outset that they are trusted, and that their requests are considered and responded to in good faith, they are more likely to engage with housing providers in a similar manner. Consider it a version of the Golden Rule. Making sure renters have good contact information to reach you, following-up on their notices and requests in a timely manner, and being respectful in doing so, are all excellent ways to establish a productive relationship and prevent disputes from arising.

On a related point, maintaining a professional tone in your correspon-

“When renters are made to feel at the outset that they are trusted, and that their requests are considered and responded to in good faith, they are more likely to engage with housing providers in a similar manner.”

dence with your renters is also a great way to prevent disputes. While understandably emotions can run high when unexpected repair issues arise or vendors aren’t able to respond as quickly as a renter (or housing provider) might like, keeping your cool and focusing on providing respectful and responsive communication is always best. Bear in mind as well that if and when disputes do arise, it is often how the parties are perceived by Rent Board hearing officers, judges and juries that matters most in the outcome. Taking the high road in your communications with your renters not only helps defuse situations before they get worse, but it also pays dividends even after they do.


While conducting a pre-move-in inspection is a good way to set a baseline for the condition of a property, regularly checking in after the renters have moved in is a great way to prevent disputes from arising. Even though the law doesn’t necessarily provide a right to inspect a rental unit annually “just because,” making it a practice of doing so is often well-received when it starts from the beginning. Occupants then view the inspections as a usual and customary thing, rather than an intrusion with a possible ulterior motive,

and housing providers can identify and fix any items in need of repair before they worsen. When coupled with good and respectful communication about the check-ins, they can be very effective at spotting and resolving problems early on.

The related benefit of frequent inspection of your property is that you will invariably see and hear other things that are of interest. An occupant coming or going from an adjoining unit who is not familiar to you, misuse of a common area, or items of general building maintenance that might be impacting the particular renter whose unit you are there to inspect, are all things you might learn about just by regular visits to your property. Spotting these issues and following up on them in a timely and professional manner, is also a great way to keep bigger problems from arising.

Being a housing provider is tough. Despite their best efforts, housing providers are sometimes thrust into disputes with their renters. However, by taking the above steps, our hope is that the next time you call your attorney to talk, it will just be to say “hi.”

Scott Freedman is the managing shareholder of Zacks & Freedman, a real estate law firm with offices in San Francisco, Oakland and Soquel, dedicated to protecting the rights of property owners throughout California. For more information, please visit:


Local Spotlight


We’re introducing a new section that spotlights each of the cities and counties represented by East Bay Rental Housing Association. Following is a local property owner named Maurice Carbajal, who owns properties in Concord.


I have been a local insurance broker for over 35 years in the Bay Area. After servicing my insurance clients for many years, I noticed that there was a need to help them with real estate, asset investments, and if needed, property management.

My wife and I had started investing in multifamily real estate in 1998 to supplement our income, generate wealth for tax purposes, and create a legacy. A few years later, we decided to manage properties ourselves after the management company that we had engaged in went into retirement.

In 2009 my wife and I founded GCM Realty to help achieve the goal of fulfilling more of our clients’ professional needs and investments. We specialize in real estate sales, wealth and property management. As we expanded the number of rental units we managed, our client base increased as well, for both commercial property sales and our management services.

We have been involved in over $200 million of commercial real estate sales, mostly multifamily residential but also shopping centers, offices and warehouses. Agents in our office handle a lot of residential real estate throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Our plan was to invest in value-added properties in the Bay Area for ourselves and clients, remodeling apartments to give renters a good and decent place to live. It wasn’t long until we established a full-service team to help our clients

maintain their investments and their future purchasing needs.

We were all able to leverage our positions because of the favorable interest rate environment and opportunities in the area.

After doing the same a few times, we decided to pool our resources with other investors and purchase properties in Concord and other surrounding cities.

We managed to enhance these properties by investing heavily in renovations and positioning them as better places to live; because of this change, many families have moved into our units, and we have many long-term renters residing on these properties.


Today, our business supplies housing and jobs to many families. I have always been interested in having my clients, associates, friends and partners reach financial independence through passive-income opportunities with a high return on investment.

Not only do we sell multifamily real estate, but we also help clients manage them, making the investment as passive as possible.


Concord has always been a great place to work and own property. It has many positive attributes such as affordability of housing, many opportunities for employment, and good transportation networks, which easily connect it with the rest of the Bay Area.

Over the past few years, we have seen a deterioration of the quality of housing stock as well as the amount of housing available for the newcomers to the area. Our units are usually rented before they are even advertised. This lack of housing has caused rental rates to increase to a level that most households deem unaffordable, causing two or three families to live together. This causes excessive wear and tear to the apartment units and increased maintenance and utilities cost. The lack of new construction has limited the options for new apartment dwellers.


Rental rate restrictions will cause a further reduction in available housing. Some of the renters that have subsidized housing will refuse to move elsewhere even for better opportunities. The punitive rental caps imposed by the city of Concord will cause a reduction in maintenance expenses to the older housing


stock that will speed up “slumification” of the city – that is, if not quickly reversed.

Another issue called “Just Cause” will result in a reduction of single-family housing rentals as many homeowners would rather sale their properties than deal with relocation costs of their renters once their lease expires.

It was our expectation that the new renter protections ordinance would at least allow housing providers enough capital for the rising cost of labor, materials, insurance, and other business expenses so that they would have enough resources to reinvest in their properties for the renter’s benefit.


We are where we are because many

municipalities in the Bay Area have failed to provide sufficient affordable housing. Cities should have a financial and moral responsibility to provide housing for their residents. Restrictions imposed on housing providers will further exacerbate the challenge of housing supply. Rental restrictions will further constrict the supply of housing.

It is an easy solution for city governments, as it will not cost them anything; but the effects of these misguided policies will not be felt for years and, at that point, the problem will be for others to resolve. The costs are borne by small housing providers. This has become a political issue rather than an economic one. Unrealistic rental rate caps do not make good policy.



CONCORD | Rent Control: No

Percentage of residents who rent: 40%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,281

WALNUT CREEK | Rent Control: No

Percentage of residents who rent: 35.46%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,577


Percentage of residents who rent: 48%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2313

ANTIOCH | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 38.13%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,099

PITTSBURG | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 38.13%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,232

Other cities such as Oakland havebeen able to provide housing, and rental rates have had significant reductions. It is disconcerting that the city of Concord wants to emulate Oakland and Richmond rather than becoming more like Walnut Creek or Dublin.


It is sad to say, but the overarching goal in 2024 and beyond is to diversify our clients holding out of the city of Concord. We are looking to municipalities that are more supportive to housingproviders and apartment dwellers. This diversification may take us out of California and into other states. We are currently in the process of procuringlicensing in Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.


OAKLAND | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 59%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,680

ALAMEDA | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 53%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,736

SAN LEANDRO | Rent Control: No

Percentage of residents who rent: 42.73%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,302

HAYWARD | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 44%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,381

FREMONT | Rent Control: Yes

Percentage of residents who rent: 38%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,730

CASTRO VALLEY | Rent Control: No

Percentage of residents who rent: 27.63%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,454

PLEASANTON | Rent Control: No

Percentage of residents who rent: 32%

Average rent for 1 to 2 bedroom housing: $2,828




Mold is a word that can unsettle any property owner and sicken renters. It cannot be ignored, as outcomes on renters’ health can be quite serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.”

Thus, it’s critical for property owners to safeguard their renters

by preventing or removing mold. Start by understanding the basic reasons for potential mold growth and implementing simple, effective strategies that can make all the difference.

If surfaces are left moist and wet, mold can grow. Trying to determine how much growth is present or the level of a health hazard is hard, so as suggested by the California Department of Public Health, a better use of a property owner’s time is to determine a path of remediation. Determining the source of dampness or water intrusion, getting rid of soiled material, and treating/cleaning the area has proven to be the best plan of action.

California has health codes, so if mold is left to grow or become worse, and a property owner doesn’t take steps to remediate the issue, residents can report the problem to the city, county and rent board. The potential for costs if the mold gets out of control becomes high.

Most property owners have dealt with mold issues, and it continues to be a nagging concern that causes sleepless nights, worrying what steps to take to keep the property in good condition, to keep the residents safe and happy, and to not drain every last dime of the property owner’s bank account.

Here are a couple scenarios that use the same basic path of remediation; determine the cause of the leak/water intrusion, fix it, remove soiled material, rebuild, and clean.

Scenario A: A resident reported mold on clothes and belongings in a closet. Technicians discovered a leak in the closet, which dampened everything. Despite this, the residents didn’t remove their belongings. The leak was repaired, the resident cleared the closet, the walls were dried and repaired, and the resident received compensation for damaged belongings.

This outcome not only demonstrated the efficacy of the remediation but also highlighted a crucial consideration: proactive testing can be significantly more cost-effective than the potential financial and time costs associated with court proceedings. This scenario serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of collaborative efforts involving the residents, management and property owner in mold remediation.

Scenario B: Condensation and brown spots were found on the ceilings and walls of a resident’s unit. The unit was unusually cold, with windows covered to block out the chill. After further investigation, the cause was a blownout pilot light; the resident had avoided using the heater to save on gas bills, leading to condensation. After being informed, the resident began heating the unit, resolving the issue.

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Ignoring mold can lead to significant issues for both residents and property owners. Immediate action is vital to prevent mold from arising due to leaks. Property owners aim to preserve their properties, while residents seek a healthy living environment.

To navigate the misconceptions surrounding mold, consider these tips:

1. Recognize Everyday Activities as Potential Mold Sources: Activities such as showering, cooking, cleaning, and even breathing contribute to indoor humidity. This moisture can condense on cooler surfaces, creating

“Ignoring mold can lead to significant issues for both residents and property owners. ”

what appears to be mold.

2. Monitor Indoor Humidity: Post Covid we use our homes more. Many people joined households or work from home. Not opening windows, despite the cold weather, can cause condensation sometimes mistaken for mold. Overcrowded homes and closets within homes can cause surface condensation.

3. Keep the Bathroom Dry: Encourage residents to keep bathroom doors closed and the fan running or window open for 30 to 60 minutes post-shower. This practice helps prevent moisture migration and discourages the appearance of brown spots or condensation in other areas.

4. Maintain Adequate Ventilation and Heating: Remind residents that

it’s necessary to not only open vents/ windows but to also heat their homes, which in turn helps keep humidity levels in check. It’s crucial to remind residents of the need for adequate ventilation, as they may forget despite the cost of utility bills or not having enough storage space.

As a property owner, always start by identifying the problem source. Where is the water intrusion? What is causing it? Maintain a detailed log of actions taken to manage mold and track outcomes and resident cooperation. This diligence fosters a healthy living environment and safeguards your investment.

Maria Recht is senior regional property manager with GreenTree Property Management.

MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM 27 With Offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Soquel | 415-956-8100 Puzzled by Bay Area real estate laws? We have been finding solutions for Bay Area property owners for over 25 years. To read more about our recent success in fighting to keep Oakland trash collection rates more affordable, or our to help housing providers mitigate the impact of the eviction moratorium, please check out



Property owners run a business. When you run a business, you need to scrutinize your tax filings to ensure the one dreaded outcome no one wants: the infamous tax audit. A tax audit means hours and hours of spending time answering the auditor’s demands. If you’ve gone out of your way to be accurate and responsible in your tax filings, an audit can feel intrusive and time consuming to do – time that could be better spent on your business activities.

So, what can you do to prevent being flagged by the IRS? Well, if the audit is truly random, then you can’t do much other than keep your records in order. If you’ve recorded expenses in your profit and loss (P&L) statement that somehow calls your tax returns into question, then it could have been prevented by understanding tax laws and acting accordingly.

NO. 1


Don’t try and manipulate the numbers and tax write-offs. If you write something off your taxes, double-check it’s an authentic write-off versus just a guess. You can easily research what can or cannot be written off. In the end, if you’ve been truthful, it will make an audit much less stressful and painful to go through.


Whether you end up with an audit or not, your records need to be organized and on-the-ready just in case. This way you won’t spend countless hours pulling your records in place should the worst-case scenario, an audit, be required. You will feel confident that any questions can be easily answered. Use both physical receipts and digital tracking in your bank accounts. Consider specific bank accounts and credit cards be used to pay for expenses. This way you can easily match your printed receipts to the digital footprint of your expenditures. Why make an audit a tedious task to identify expenses when it need not be.

NO. 3


Use a spreadsheet and the auto-sum feature to ensure the numbers you recorded as tax write-offs line up. When you receive your 1099 numbers, you have to match it all up. Look at your bank records and compare the number of income vs. expenditures. If someone has paid you and provided a 1099 to the IRS and you didn’t accurately

report the income, the IRS will see the discrepancies. Inaccurately recorded figures will reveal obvious mistakes, and if it’s plainly obvious something doesn’t match up, then you’re going to face unwanted consequences.

NO. 4


The IRS lists recognized deductions. You may be reaching to find as many deductions as possible so you don’t have to pay more taxes than is required. Yet some deductions, depending upon the industry you work in, may not be permissible. To ensure your deductions are legitimate, ask yourself, “Does this deduction really apply to my property business?” If you cannot justify a questionable deduction, don’t use it. A clear business case will enable you to effectively answer any questions about it.

NO. 5


This tip is so easy-to-use, it makes no sense not to do it. You can pay a professional who knows the ins and outs of tax law to prepare your taxes. It saves you money even though it costs you money to have your taxes prepared. Here’s the positive results, a pro knows much more about taxes than you do and can actually save you money in the long run. You may be missing out on deductions you didn’t know you could take. Just knowing your taxes are in educated hands can give you peace of mind that your taxes are done right, which is well worth the expense.

Michelle Gamble is a business owner and editor of Rental Housing Magazine.


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As many property owners know, once a renter moves in and something goes wrong, it can be sometimes nearly impossible to evict him or her. Not only do evictions require lots of time and attention, but also can be difficult to do. As a result, property owners need to go that extra mile to ensure they don’t get a bad deal with their renters. Thus, effective renter screening policies need to be in place to prevent long-term problems. However, property owners must also be aware and avoid any discriminatory practic-

es or processes that could cause legal issues.

First, property owners and operators need to get their renter screening processes established. In fact, any new property owners must make renter screening a top priority. As noted, bad renters can not only cause problems with the rental property itself, but any unwelcomed noise and nuisance can drive away other renters, especially in multiunit complexes.

“Comprehensive renter screening involves running reports (credit, criminal, eviction history), collecting

income documentation, speaking with the applicant’s employer, speaking with their current and former property owners, and ideally inspecting their current home,” said Brian Davis, property owner and founder at SparkRental. com. “An applicant’s income tells you if they can pay, while their credit tells you if they will pay. That’s a distinction too few property owners appreciate. Their eviction history also speaks volumes about their history as a renter.”

“The two sources of information I tend to rely on most are references and credit scores,” said Leonard Ang, CEO


of iProperty Management Leasing. “I know that credit ratings agencies can be opaque with some of their formulas and have a history of discrimination in some cases, but I need some objective measure of financial health to consider, and this is the best one out there. References are where the real value lies. They can reveal details about a person’s exact situation and personal character that can be key in making these decisions.”

Many renter screening and background check services are available for hire. However, experts like Ang suggest that “relying entirely on outsourced services, especially for things like background checks and credit scores, is going to throw out a lot of good candidates with the bad ones. While some managers simply have too many applicants to give each one personal consideration, it’s far from an ideal situation.”

“One of the most critical mistakes that property owners can make when it comes to renter screening is relying solely on a credit score,” explained Zackary Smigel, real estate expert and founder of Real Estate Wizard. “A credit score doesn’t provide a complete picture of an applicant’s financial situation, and it may unfairly discriminate against individuals who have experienced financial hardship in the past, so I advise considering other factors, such as income and rental history, in addition to credit when screening potential renters.”

Joy Aumann, a licensed realtor and founder of, agreed and added, “As a real estate agent, I have witnessed several property owners commit serious oversights regarding renter screening. One of the

“One of the most critical mistakes that property owners can make when it comes to renter screening is relying solely on a credit score...”

most typical is determining a renter’s eligibility based on their credit ratings. Credit reports are an essential tool, but they only give a partial picture of a renter’s financial history. To determine a renter’s capacity to pay rent and maintain the property, property owners must take into account criteria other than credit ratings, such as income, job history and rental history.”


Additionally, property owners and operators absolutely must prioritize and use processes that do not inadvertently discriminate against prospective renters. It’s vitally important that property owners follow all of the rules and regulations stipulated by state and local government. Education and awareness about these laws can prevent lawsuits and complaints. This is why joining organizations like East Bay Rental Housing Association (EBRHA) can be so beneficial. Trade associations like EBRHA keep property owners up to date on the latest rules, regulations and legislation that affects their industry. Discrimination isn’t always intentional but often done out of lack of awareness.

“To screen renters in a way that also protects existing renters, I suggest having a clear and transparent screening process that’s applied equally to all applicants,” said Eric Bramlett, a realtor and owner of Bramlett Residential. “This process should be documented and include specific criteria for approval or denial, and should be

communicated clearly to all applicants. I’d say that the most critical mistakes are not following fair housing laws and basing screening decisions on discriminatory factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and family status. This can lead to legal issues and tarnish the reputation of the property owner or management company.”

“The best thing you can do is have a clear screening process in place that is applied consistently to all applicants, which can serve as proof that you’re treating all applicants fairly and avoiding any appearance of discrimination,” said Smigel.

Davis added, “As for avoiding discrimination, the easiest rule of thumb is to never describe the ‘ideal’ renter. Just because a tiny studio apartment is ideally suited for a young professional –and not a family of five – doesn’t mean you can say that. Have a strict screening process in writing, and follow it. Apply it equally to all applicants, and rent to the first applicant who meets your written criteria. Keep all your screening reports and interview notes on file, for both approved and rejected applicants, so that you can easily produce evidence that you applied the same screening process to all applicants.”

These suggestions are just a handful of great strategies. Transparency and proper documentation provide the most effective means to screen renters and protect your business at the same time.

Brea Harper is the editor of Rental Housing Magazine.




Compassionate property owners often have prospective renters who are in dire need of housing show up without the ideal set of requirements (e.g., good credit score, high income, rental history), but with an urgent need for assistance. Concern for our fellow citizens matters. If we want to help with the homelessness problem, but also don’t want to compromise our own business and security, a balancing act must be applied.

Here’s an example of an untenable situation. An 18-year-old young man ends up on his own. He has no reliable family to help. He wants to finish high school, which he is months away from graduation. His parents both have a criminal record, and he discovers that his mother took out credit in his name. Now his credit is compromised even though he didn’t know his parent had done this to him. He wants to finish his education. He works part-time, and he has nowhere to live. So, he realizes standard rents are out his reach, so he opts to find a room to rent. However, even while no one says it, many property owners don’t want a young man with compromised credit. So, now what? What can someone in this position do to simply keep himself off the streets?

This situation begs for compassionate property owners to think outside of the box. Not everyone shows up as the ideal renter – and when you have a housing shortage and can easily rent properties, what do you ethically and morally feel responsible to do to help disenfranchised renters like this young man? Also, someone this young and inexperienced (or even senior citizens whose fixed monthly income may not meet their rent) might have no idea

what kind of social assistance could be available to help solve the problem.

These types of scenarios behoove property owners to raise their awareness to be able to at least advise these renters on their options. Reality is, though, you own property and you’re not required by law to solve the homelessness problem or even assist those in-need renters who have no one to help and nowhere to go. Yet you’re a human being with empathy and compassion, and you choose to voluntarily assist your fellow humans. So, what can you do?

Start by identifying or directing these renters toward programs designed to solve these individual situations. You may not end up renting to one of these groups, but you can at least put them on the road toward recovery and shelter.


First, start with basic assistance programs available in the state of California. If someone shows up with financial hardship (just the basic needs for food, shelter, clothing), direct his/her attention to private social programs, low-income benefits, such as food stamps available through electronic benefits transfer (EBT), income that can be derived through disabilities programs, and healthcare available through MediCal or Covered California.

Next, look to housing funding programs. Social programs exist to fund high-risk renters who have low income. The California Department of Community and Development offers grants and funding to assist those seeking housing. Their website describes their mission: “By administering programs that provide grants

and loans (from both state and federal housing programs), HCD creates rental and homeownership opportunities for Californians from all walks of life, including veterans, seniors, young families starting out, people with disabilities, farmworkers, and individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.”

One such program called HomeKey has to date funded 14,652 homes, 240 projects and 156,842 households served. “Homekey is an opportunity for state, regional and local public entities to develop a broad range of housing types, including but not limited to hotels, motels, hostels, single-family homes and multifamily apartments, adult residential facilities, manufactured housing, and to convert commercial properties and other existing buildings to permanent or interim housing for the target population.”

To be eligible for HomeKey, you must


meet the following guidelines: Awarded funds must be used to provide housing for the target population of individuals and families experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness and who are inherently impacted by or at increased risk for medical diseases or conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other communicable diseases. For grantees utilizing HOME-ARP funds as match, the target population also includes individuals and families who are ‘fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking’ and ‘other populations’ as defined in HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) Notice 21-10.” For more information, visit their website at

A federally funded program is called Home for Homelessness Assistance and Supportive Services (HOME-ARP). “The American Recovery Plan (ARP)

provided $5 billion for a new federal homelessness assistance and supportive services program: HOME-ARP. In September 2021, HUD published Notice CPD-21-10 establishing the requirements for HOME-ARP. HOMEARP may be used to develop affordable housing, for renter-based rental assistance (TBRA), to provide supportive services, and for the acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units.” For more information, visit

As a property owner or operator, are you required to help people this way? No, but as a good-hearted person who cares for his/her fellow humans, this knowledge and these suggestions could actually save lives. Just knowing what can be done to help in and of itself can go a long toward solutions – and that is a good deed to be done.

Michelle Gamble is the editor of Rental Housing Magazine.


Here in the East Bay, renters struggling to find housing can turn to a group called the East Oakland Community Alliance (EOCP). The group’s mission is as follows: “EOCP empowers individuals and families who are homeless in Alameda County to regain a life of self-reliance. We provide dignified emergency and transitional housing and compassionate, comprehensive support services that prepare homeless people to successfully transition to well-being and sustainable permanent housing.”

Property Owners can direct individuals experiencing hardships to contact EOCP to put them on a track toward finding shelter. The group aims to build relationships with people in housing crises to help them overcome barriers from finding appropriate, safe housing. The website says, “We focus on genuinely understanding a person or a family for who they are, not what happened to them.”

For more information, visit. or call 510-532-3211.




Since the pandemic and its end, the rental property industry has seen a precipice rise in property-related rules and regulations. Holland Knight, a real estate group, reported on Oct. 31, 2023 that the 2023 California Legislative session saw the enactment of a large number of significant new housing production laws. We’ve also reported here in Rental Housing Magazine a substantial number of laws passed. Now add in the rising number of eviction filings due to the eviction moratoriums across the East Bay (CapRadio cited 800 eviction cases filed in Alameda County right before the moratorium lifted), and you’ve got a rapidly changing legal landscape.

Rental property owners cannot ignore all of the changes in the laws, rules and regulations or not be informed about them. Lack of knowledge in a litigious environment leads to unwanted legal hassles. Pleading ignorance won’t win over judges. Sometimes even when property owners have joined trade associations like EBRHA and do stay abreast of legislation and changes in the laws, legal problems still crop up. Further, what has become evident, especially since the pandemic and an atmosphere biased more toward renter’s rights than property owners’ considerations, it has become tough to be a property owner in 2024.

An adversarial relationship between property owners and renters opens the door for unwanted litigation. When heavy bias goes toward renter’s rights, it tips the scale against property owners who often spend thousands of dollars in legal fees just to keep up. Attorneys cost a lot of money and can drain a property owner’s business or worse put that owner out of business. As a result,

“An adversarial relationship between property owners and renters opens the door for unwanted litigation.”

it’s more important than ever to learn the laws and do what’s called self-advocating. Step up and take an active role in the decision-making process when laws come up for discussion at your local city council meetings, which are open to the public.

EBRHA actively invites its members to participate and gives them a platform to have a voice. If you’re not a member of EBRHA, you can join, take advantage of our many resources and stay informed. We recently urged our members to attend a panel discussion to review issues surrounding the repeal of Costa Hawkins, which is a state law that exempts certain kinds of residential rental units from rent control ordinances and allows property owners to reset the rental rate on rent-controlled rental units where they become vacant or where the last rent-controlled renter no longer permanently resides at the unit (including where they move and leave behind subtenants). The repeal of Costa-Hawkins would end Vacancy Decontrol – the ability of an owner to raise the rent to a market rate after a renter moves out.

Through this kind of advocacy, a record turnout of property owners showed up at the city council meeting, contributing to nearly four hours of public comment on the city’s proposed rent control ordinance. Although the vote was originally scheduled for that night, the council decided to defer the decision to Feb. 13. By the time this ar-

ticle publishes, the issue will likely be somewhat resolved or moving forward. However, it goes to show the power of property owners to protect their own best interests.

It’s critical you attend meetings like the one EBRHA hosted. It’s your business and livelihood, and any missteps can damage it. By attending meetings, writing your city council members and communicating your position, you at least know you’ve had some sort of say in the process. You will also be apprised of what new laws pass and any rules and regulations that can impact your business. Becoming an active advocate for your own interests gives you an opportunity to influence outcomes. You can also learn a lot about what you can and cannot do when renting your properties.

Knowledge gives you peace of mind. That way when issues arise, and any property owner knows things happen, you will know whether or not you have any kind of liability. You will know when renters have become unreasonable and aren’t following the laws. You will know if a renter has a case or you will know if a renters doesn’t have a case, which will set your mind at ease.

Just remember you are your own best advocate. You have a vested interest in taking the lead in the decision-making process and getting involved. Who’s going to care more about your business interests than you do?

Michelle Gamble is the editor of Rental Housing Magazine.


Help Stop the Repeal of Costa-Hawkins 2024 Contribution Campaign


To help stop the so-called "Justice for Renters" initiative, which will be a proposition on the ballot in 2024, the East Bay Rental Housing Association is asking for your support. We need to fight this third attempt to repeal Costa-Hawkins, led by the same anti-housing activists who failed twice with Propositions 10 and 21 in 2018 and 2020. We are helping our state affiliate, CalRHA, raise $5 million towards this campaign, so we are all in this together.

Protect Vacancy Decontrol

Protect New Construction, Single-Family Homes, and Condos from Rent Control


The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act is a California state law that It also protects VACANCY DECONTROL - a policy that allows rental housing providers to reset the rental rate on any rent-controlled apartment after a renter moves out. Costa-Hawkins is extremely important because it exempts single-family homes, condominiums, and new construction built after 1995 from RENT CONTROL.

To help raise money to fight the repeal, EBRHA members will receive a special assessment notification and invoice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 510.893.9873 or

We are all in this together

Late afternoon view of the historic downtown city center of Oakland, California, USA.


Preparing an Apartment Building

Aveteran broker told me early in my career:

“The happiest and saddest day of a broker’s life is closing a deal.” For me, signing a listing, especially after competing with other firms, brings excitement as it’s another opportunity for our team to heavily market and secure a buyer. Preparing an apartment building for sale often poses significant challenges for owners, especially notifying renters in efforts to make the transition to ownership smooth. By late winter, the sales market warms up as the holiday hangover passes and hungry agents want to make deals happen. August and December are two of the most challenging months for conducting business, while spring and fall historically yield more sales as buyers can focus more on purchasing.

Much preparation during the winter and summer months takes place to allow time for any major capital improvement projects, including exterior renovations, to be completed prior to going to market. Many owners tend to fall into the mindset of “let’s paint and landscape and put it up for sale,” but miss out on many issues that can put downward pressure on price and could have been addressed in the months prior to going to market.

Often owners sell because they are tired of dealing with management issues or do not have the resources for major capital projects. Even with low sales volume, deals are still trading and buyers are out there looking for higher Cap Rates. We’ve survived more challenging markets with waves of foreclosures and have yet to see many distressed sales in the East Bay.

We will primarily focus on Oakland and Berkeley, as they tend to have their own time of sale ordinances unique from most of the East Bay. To Berkeley’s credit, they started many of these ordinances with surrounding cities in the Bay catching on and ultimately passing their own versions with slight, varying nuances. When Oakland first passed their soft story ordinance in 2008, Berkeley had already passed their own version with a shorter timeframe for compliance. In a recent


conversation with Josh Milnes of Chase Bank, he reminded me that as a policy, Chase is unlikely to make a loan on any San Francisco apartment buildings that are out of compliance with the soft story ordinance.

As we reported in a recent article on the market conditions, sales are down 60% to 70% in Oakland/Berkeley and surrounding areas. The market expected an interest rate cut from the Fed in spring, but that may be delayed due to positive economic reports and persistently high inflation. Higher mortgage rates will likely keep transaction volume low, along with a sluggish rental market. Given these challenges, an owner needs to be prudent in prioritizing tasks to prepare a property for market.

Zillow, Redfin, Loopnet, and other websites dedicated to directing buyers toward listings do a great job of presenting a property to a broad audience. The technology professional photographers utilize to air brush photos, along with drone shots and virtual tours allow an owner and their broker to portray a great first impression of property before a buyer has stepped foot on the site. On the one hand, curb appeal and creating a memorable first impression is key. As we will discuss below, there are a lot of “landmines” that come up in selling apartment buildings that require a broker and owner to anticipate and do their best to mitigate any price reductions/credits to negotiate. Depending on an owner’s budget to prepare a property for sale, it may not be feasible to cure all of the issues prior to going to market.

Electrical and insurance seem to play the role of “deal breaker” as some carriers leave CA and refuse to renew policies. The insurance costs historically did not move the needle on sales price as options were plentiful and bids competitive. We’re now in a position of seeking out insurance quotes prior to going to market to make sure a new premium will be in line with our underwriting assumptions and avoid a renegotiation on price due to unforeseen spike in cost for a new policy.

In prior articles and presentations for EBRHA, we discussed two broadly different buyer profiles that either prefer a property that is more turnkey with some long-term upside or a “value-add investor” that seeks distressed properties with high capital needs. We can guide our client on where to allocate capital and resources to prepare the property for sale and ultimately net the highest proceeds from the sale. When a property is turnkey and fully in compliance with all local ordinances, a property owner will expect to net more from the sale as it opens up the door to buyers who will pay a premium when nearly all major work is completed, similar to a single family home.


As we alluded to earlier, Oakland and Berkeley have unique local ordinances that require an owner to address or pass on to a buyer to complete within a certain time period after close of escrow. Berkeley changed their energy savings ordinance name from RECO (sounds like a criminal statute, Residential Energy Savings Ordinance) to BESO (Also Spanish for “a kiss” and more pleasant sounding, Berkeley Emissions Savings Ordinance). The old ordinance required a certain amount of energy or water saving upgrades be completed on a property, where the new ordinance merely requires an energy saving report be completed by a qualified vendor. One can imagine a buyer that is new to Berkeley and hearing about the list of local ordinances and feeling a bit spooked by all of the regulations.  Berkeley passed a law in 2016 requiring all decks and balconies to be inspected called E3 (Exterior Elevated Elements). Two years later the state of CA passed SB-721 and SB-326 to requires all properties with three or more units, including condominium complexes, to complete similar inspections and finish any work by January 1, 2025. With the due date for compliance approaching in less than a year, we expect this will come up more in negotiations in property

Spring in bloom in Berkeley
Berkeley Real
“We’ve survived more challenging markets with waves of foreclosures and have yet to see many distressed sales in the East Bay.”

sales. As we discuss below, obtaining third-party reports and addressing as many issues as possible will lead to a smoother sale with fewer negotiations and credits.


Given the age of the housing stock in the Bay Area, most buyers will order at least one or two inspections depending on their experience in construction and years of ownership of apartment properties. We normally recommend obtaining at minimum a termite/wood-destroying pest report well in advance of going to market. It gives our client time to address and clear any major issues that come up. Many items can come up in apartments with renters and are difficult to address with an occupant in the unit. A termite report will issue a bid to cure all items uncovered and serves as a good negotiating tool.

A property inspection report will do a more thorough inspection of the buildings systems, roof, foundation, crawl space, and exterior areas to give a “bill of health” to a property. While most of these reports do not offer dollar amounts to cure items, they are helpful in ranking items of concern that are more urgent to address. For a 2-4 unit sale, these reports are more important as the buyer pool for smaller properties are typically less experienced than those for midsize apartment complexes.

Many realtors in the 2-4 unit space are also accustomed to having full reports and disclosures prior to submitting an offer, where commercial brokers who focus on midsize apartment buildings can make a competitive offer subject to inspection of all units.


Whether you rent out a vacant unit or sell a property, the building’s curb appeal and interior aesthetics plays an important role in luring buyers to your listing over a competitor’s. With increase in software technology for photographers and easier use of drones to capture aerial pics of a property and the surrounding area, an owner and broker have options to best capture the property and cure any blemishes. Parked cars in front of the property or driveway can be airbrushed out, along with other blight from the adjacent properties or on the sidewalk.

The vast majority of professional photographers can also produce floorplans and Matterport tours of apartment units. For properties in Berkeley with close proximity to campus, the ability to show a student housing investor a floor plan of each representative apartment that allows them to underwrite the potential to add more bedrooms depending on zoning, location of existing kitchens/bathrooms and total square feet of the apartment.

Despite Berkeley’s rent control laws, it remains a popular market as the inventory of residential units has not kept up pace with demand. The market rents on brand new units are out of most student’s finances, helping to maintain buoyancy of rents on older, rent-controlled properties. UC Berkeley remains the top public university in the world and has relayed plans to increase student enrollment over the few years, even though the housing needed to support the new students is not yet built.

Lastly, an exterior paint job helps the property shine over others, but carries a large cost that may limit what an owner can do to the building. Often paint on fascia boards and other exterior trim will start to peel and chip. Addressing those areas, along with some interior common-area paint work can be sufficient to bring a property to market and let a buyer decide on new color schemes.


Non-paying renters, especially with balances going back to early 2020 when the lockdowns were initiated, are a headache to navigate. A lender typically will not tolerate more than 10% vacancy or non-paying renters at a property. First Republic Bank and Silicon Valley Bank catered to clients with larger balance sheets and cash deposits and could often look past vacancy or non-paying issues on low Loan-to-Value purchases from a strong borrower. Given the increase in interest rates and other bank failures from last, the commercial lenders that are still active have more conservative underwriting.

Alameda County was late to lift their eviction moratoriums and has limited the number of evictions they will allow each month. This puts an owner in a bind as we would prefer to have a renter settlement negotiated in advance and ideally a buyout prior to going to market. We’ve had success in closing escrow and allowing a new owner to negotiate with residents after the sale, but it negatively impacts the final sales price.

With the increase in insurance costs, it’s challenging to find reduced annual premiums as more carriers leave the state. Upgrading the electrical prior to going to market will help a buyer secure a more competitive policy. Increasing any allowable banked rents prior to going to market improves net income and ultimately the final value.

In summary, preparing a property for sale requires a diligent broker to work with their client in the months prior to selling. A client’s budget, both cash resources and time, rarely allows for all capital improvement projects to be completed before going to market. With a full disclosure file and available third-party reports to share with serious buyers, an owner can expect to navigate a smooth escrow with moderate negotiations for long-term capital project needs.

Grant Chappell works with NAI Broker.

40 MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM INSI DER INSIGHTS into Renter Safety and Security

In the state of California, property owners are legally required to provide safe, secure and habitable housing. Part of creating habitability requires property owners to create safe spaces where renters can secure their domiciles. Failure to comply with even the basics (e.g., locks on doors) can result in legal ramifications, especially if the renter becomes injured due to this lack of responsible security.

What describes “habitability”? When it comes to safety and security, all property owners must do at least this one basic: provide an operable dead-bolt lock on each main swinging entry door. However, this requirement identifies only the bare minimum standard. Most property owners understand

the liability of not securing the premises and act accordingly. Those owner operators, who go beyond the minimum requirements, not only attract more renters whose personal safety is a priority, but also demonstrates their overall compassion and concern for those who live on properties.

In cities like Oakland in the East Bay, which is ranked by many media outlets as the eighth most unsafe city in the U.S., constituents face serious safety concerns for everybody, not just renters. This means property owners are behooved to invest even more money, time and effort to protect those renters who depend upon their efforts to safeguard not just the people, but also their own properties.


Safety, though, requires a two-pronged approach. “At Titan Security Europe, we believe that the best approach to securing residences is a combination of both tech and nontech systems, depending upon the needs of the specific client and area,” explained Ellie Gibson, marketing manager. “When securing a residence, the first thing we do is take into account the crime rate and type of crime in that specific area to ensure that we provide the best and most effective service for that individual client, in this case, the owner or renter of a rented property.

“What works for one client may not work for another,” she said. “In one instance, the main potential issue faced by the renter may be that of theft, in which case we would certainly recommend intruder alarms and surveillance on the doors of the property. In another, the main threat of that area may be break-ins that turn into attacks, especially against women living alone. In this instance we would offer alarm response teams.”


These days most people think of technology solutions (e.g., doorbell cameras, standard alarms systems, etc.) to protect renters. However, old-fashioned security is where it all begins. Sometimes property owners need to recognize that physical security offers the best defense against criminals.

Why does this matter? Because any notion that technology offers an end-all-be-all solution for security are people who do not understand that the best barricade is not ones and zeros (programming language), but good ole basic locks.

“Obviously, having locks on all doors and windows is one of the most important and helpful ways to secure properties from theft and other crimes,” said Seamus Nally, CEO, TurboTenant. “So, invest in good locks and make sure to double-check that everything is locked before you leave your property.”

According to Danny C. Burton from ThermostatNeed, “Deadbolts provide added door security. Window locks prevent break-ins through windows. Door and window alarms can be easily installed. Peepholes allow you to see who’s at your door before opening it. These simple non-tech measures can enhance security in your rental property.”

Some physical solutions are so easy to identify and install, which makes it an easy solution. “For renter safety, it’s often the simplest measures that make the most significant impact, said James Koskela, owner and founder of Zero Day Gear. “An affordable yet effective tactic is the replacement of standard hinge screws with longer ones. The ones that come with an install kit are often times only an inch and a half. Longer screws reinforce the door’s attachment to its frame, substantially increasing resistance against forced entries, a common burglary method.”

Another line of defense involves gated communities – or at least parking lots that block non-residents from simply walking into a multi-unit complex or even home property.


According to EXP Realty in an article titled “What is a gated community? Everything You Need to Know,” “A gated community is a type of residential community in which access to the community is restricted to residents and their guests.

“The gates that control access are typically manned by security guards and/or gatekeepers. Gated communities are common in affluent neighborhoods. But they can also be found in other settings, such as senior communities, retirement communities and military bases.”

The article continues: “There is no single definition of a gated community, but most definitions include some combination of the following elements:

Restricted Access: Only residents and their guests are allowed into the community.

Controlled Entry: There are gates or other means of controlling entry into the community.

Security: There is usually some form of security present to protect residents’ community homes from crime and vandalism.

Private Space: Gated communities are typically designed to create a sense of privacy for residents.”

Sometimes just providing standard physical security also comforts renters. “When we hear that a renter’s safety has been compromised, it is a sign that at least for the near future, they need a more intensive security system than they already have,” explained Burton. “We would also offer to the renter a constant security presence, such as a guard outside the residence in a discreet car on a 24/7 basis, or mobile pa-

“... invest in good locks and make sure to double-check that everything is locked before you leave your property.”

trols to dispatch randomly to the residence to check it and the surrounding area. We would also run through the action plan the renter should take should they be afraid that their safety is being compromised again. Whatever this action plan is will differ person to person, and will be amended as and when it needs to be.”


Today, we have dozens of security choices to safeguard persons and property. The following solutions aren’t cost-prohibitive, and even if the first alarm (see next paragraph) isn’t economically feasible to add to every domicile in a multi-unit complex, it can at least be installed in front entries, lobbies or common areas.

This tech solution, called an Intruder Alarm, activates when an uninvited person attempts to enter the domicile. These electronic devices sound off with a loud noise to alert the renter or others about the intrusion into the home. Intruder alarms use keypad or app codes to turn off the system. “This acts as both an access control feature and a way to alert security teams and the renter themselves if an intruder has entered the property,” said Gibson.

Another alarm system is called the panic alarm. “The installation of panic alarms around the house will ensure that, even in an instance in which the renter has allowed someone into their home only for them to turn violent or attempt to steal from them, they can press a button and alert a remote security team or even the police that they are currently not safe in their own home,” added Gibson who also cited CCTV systems as an alternative.

“While expensive and probably ineffective if installed around the property, installing CCTV on the doors of a property ensures that in the event of any attempted crime, the perpetrator is caught on camera. This will allow for investigations to be carried out effectively,” said Gibson.

Also, these tech solution work best when combined with response teams. Gibson said, “These work hand-in-hand with alarm systems. The remote monitoring of the system leading to an immediate dispatch of a team the moment an alarm is triggered ensures that help arrives for the renter within minutes of the breach. In more severe cases – such as the trigger of a panic alarm – the police can also be contacted.


Another combined approach is called concierge security. This technique works best in an instance where the rented property is an apartment block with a reception,” she explained. “We would suggest concierge security to our clients. Concierge security does exactly as it says on the tin, combining the role of front-of-house concierge with that of a security guard, ensuring only residents and approved guests enter into the block and allowing no potential intruder further than reception without absolute consent from the resident they are attempting to visit.”

Other technology-related options to consider, according to Burton, “Smart home security systems with remote control features. Video surveillance systems in common areas. Access control systems using key fobs, access codes or biometric scanners. Evaluate your property’s needs and budget when choosing a security system to create a safer environment.”


When a renters safety is threatened, how should property owners handle it? In case of safety compromises, property owners and property managers should assess the situation: Determine the nature and severity of the safety issue and take appropriate action,” explained Burton.

For example, use the following criteria to mitigate problems and risks to safety:

• If there is a fire, evacuate the building immediately and call the fire department.

• Communicate with renters; keep renters informed of the situation and any actions being taken to address it.

“... prevention goes a long way toward overall property security. Preventing safety/security issues can be accomplished through regular maintenance checks.”

• Provide clear instructions on what they should do to stay safe.

• Take corrective action: address the underlying cause of the safety issue. For example, if there is a problem with the building’s security, take steps to improve it.

• Provide support: offer support and resources to renters who may be affected by the safety issue. This could include counseling services or temporary housing.

• Document everything: Keep detailed records of the safety issue, actions taken, and communication with renters. This documentation may be necessary in the event of legal action.

Of course, prevention goes a long way toward overall property security. Preventing safety/security issues can be accomplished through regular maintenance checks. “Inspections are key to preventing issues,” added Burton. “For example, a property management company implemented monthly inspections, addressing safety concerns promptly and creating a safer living environment.”

Michelle Gamble is the editor of Rental Housing Magazine


Industry Partners




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California Strategic Advisors 916.447.7229

Law Office of John Gutierrez 510.647.0600

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Shepherd Law Group


The Law Offices of Alan J. Horwitz

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC 415.956.8100


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Pacific Home Decor 510.732.8668


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West Coast Premier Construction, Inc



R & S Overhead Garage Door 510.755.2717


Ecology Action 831.515.1341

Google Fiber 415.770.2766



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City of Oakland Housing and Community Development 510.788.0462

Oakland Housing Authority 510.587.2110

Oakland Rent Adjustment Program (RAP)







Commercial Coverage 415.436.9800



Continued on page 40 I BELIEVE CAN FLY/ADOBE STOCK

Continued from page 38

State Farm Insurance –Kelly Lux


Toggle Insurance, a Farmers Company 818.679.4516


WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems, LLC 800.421.6897


Alameda County Healthy Homes Department



Michelson Found Animals Foundation 503.407.6689


Marichals Pest Control



Aventis Property Management


Bay Property Group 415.409.7611

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Openworld Properties 510.681.7771



Seville Property Management 510.244.1289

SKM Property Management






312.320.0110 DoorLoop 786.373.5842 source=ebrha


Renter Insight 303.586.4420 Snappt 310.383.5465

Story by J.P. Morgan 201.961.4022

Yardi Systems 800.866.1124


Advent Properties Inc 510.289.1184

NAI Northern California –Grant Chappell


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City of Oakland

Rent Adjustment Program

Rent Registration in Oakland

The City of Oakland is requiring property owners to register their rental units this year by July 1, 2024, and annually thereafter by March 1. For more information on Oakland’s new rent registration requirements, go to RAP’s website at and click on "Rent Registry” .

Questions? Contact RAP's Rent Registration staff at

Rent Increase Moratorium

Oakland's Emergency Moratorium continues to prohibit rent increases above the CPI on units covered under the RAP Ordinance through June 30, 2024 (this includes banked or petitionbased rent increases).

CPI Announcement

Effective August 1, 2023, to July 31, 2024, the CPI is 2.5%

Questions about the Emergency Moratorium? Contemplating a rent increase? Contact a RAP Housing Counselor at 510-238-3721 or

Upcoming Workshops

Small Property Owner Workshop

March 20, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

The Moratorium Workshop (Owner Focused)

April 3, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

Rent Registry Workshop: How to Register

May 15, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

Rent Registry Workshop: How to Register

May 29, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

Rent Registry Workshop: How to Register

June 5, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

Rent Registry Workshop: How to Register

June 12, 2024, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

To stay updated on the 2024 Workshop Calendar, please visit our website at & join the RAP listserv at

Rent Adjustment Program Housing & Community Development 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Suite 5313 Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 238-3721

Last Look


You have a rental unit or house that has limited square footage and you want to create a space that at least has the perception of storage capabilities, what do you do? Many unique and inexpensive products can make your space more effective for storage, but also create a more attractive rental that will make your property more competitive. The following are products to help accomplish those goals (these products are recommended by EBRHA on an Amazon page: eastbay_rentalhousing ).


Let’s say your kitchen area has no pantry and hardly any cupboards for storage, what do you do? This kitchen pantry opens and unfolds a wealth of storage space while its footprint is limited. It’s described as follows: “This white pantry organization and storage has an elegant and smooth white finish and beautifully flowing lines, exuding an air of sophistication and elegance. Whether your home is decorated in a modern or retro style, this food pantry cabinet fits perfectly and reflects your extraordinary taste!”


Here’s a real space-saver – a magnetic spice rack and holder that can be installed above the stove. It’s described as follows: “The magnetic stove-top shelf is equipped with six magnets that keep it firmly over the stove top. Because of its soft silicone material and magnetic suction design, it can be fit for the stove flat top or curved top both.”


If you have a tight space in a bathroom, the over-the-toilet storage rack offers an innovative solution. It’s described as follows: “A perfect pick for your bathrooms. It has a one-roll holder, three removable hooks to hang toilet paper, brushes, bath balls and other bathroom utensils for easy access and use.

1 2 3


This organizer works wonderfully for studio apartments, bathrooms, bedroom closets and kitchens with pantry doors. It’s described as follows: “Boasting five generously sized pockets, each measuring 15” (L) x 6.7” (W) x 6.5” (H), this organizer is perfect for accommodating bottles and lotions up to 10-inches tall. The clear front PVC window allows for effortless content identification.”


Here is an excellent idea for property providers who rent to students or those folks who live in bike-friendly towns (e.g., Davis, Ca). It’s the Schwinn Bike Hook Wall Mount, and here is how it’s described: Vertical wall-mounted bike hanger provides an easy and space-saving solution for storing your bike; silicone-covered hook safeguards your bike from scratches and also protects the tire rim; and it’s great for small spaces, apartments or garage organization.


MARCH+APRIL 2024 / EBRHA.COM 51 ATTORNEYS Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC p. 27 CONCIERGE SERVICES Premium Concierge Services p. 26 CONSTRUCTION & RESTORATION West Coast Premier Construction p. 11 CLEANING & MAINTENANCE Alameda Enterprises p. 47 GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Oakland Rent Adjustment Program (RAP) p. 49 INSURANCE Acrisure p. 51 (this page) INTERCOMS & ACCESS CONTROLS Home Depot And BEHR® Paints p. 5 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE Yardi Breeze Inside Front Cover REAL ESTATEBROKERS & AGENTS NAI Northern California p. 1 RENT ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM Oakland RAP p. 41 LEAD, MOLD & PEST MANAGEMENT Alameda County Healthy Homes Department p. 47 Quake Brace Mfg. Co. p. 25 TENANT SCREENING SERVICE Intellirent p. 45 WASTE MANAGEMENT Bay Area Bin Support Back Cover
Acceptance of an advertisement by this magazine does not necessarily constitute any endorsement or recommendation by EBRHA, express or implied, of the advertiser or any goods or services offered. THE HIGH-TECH, HUMAN APPROACH TO INSURANCE Rick Callaway | 925.771 2334 | | icÔøE
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EAST BAY RENTAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION (EBRHA) is a nonprofit trade organization representing rental owners and managers of apartment buildings and communities, small multi-unit properties (2-4 homes), condominiums, and single family homes. EBRHA members range in size from small investors with just one property to large property management companies that own or manage hundreds of units.

Our membership consists of more than 1,500 rental housing owners, property managers, attorneys and other service contractors. Altogether, EBRHA represents over 43,000 rental units and serves over 25 cities throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.


• Monthly Mixers to meet other housing providers in our community

• Annual in-person events to learn about industry resources and trends

• Open Q+A sessions with board members, industry experts, and other seasoned providers

• Weekly Webinars featuring new services, products, laws, forms, and more!


• Subscription to bi-monthly Rental Housing magazine, monthly Rentrospect newsletter, and weekly digest.

• Newsflash, Red Alerts, and more virtual message updates from EBRHA


• EBRHA RPM Certification Courses included with membership

• 1:1 support to help you navigate current laws

• The latest Rental Forms with optional 1:1 consultations (available 24/7 through our digital library)

• Reliable renter screening services through Intellirent


• Committees organized around our efforts and mission

• Legal & Political Action Funds

• Rallies, designated lobbyist efforts, and active bill tracking

Industry Partner Companies who provide products , services, and/or industry expertise for rental housing providers Property Management Co. Businesses who manage/own 21+ rental housing units/homes in Alameda and/or Contra Costa counties Rental Community Individual multifamily properties who typically have 10+ units and staff in Alameda and/or Contra Costa counties. Independent Rental Owner An individual who owns/ manages 20 units or fewer in Alameda and/or Contra Costa counties.


1. 2.

Has managing rental property expectations/ relationships been a challenge in recent months?

Are there unit vacancies you need to fill right now?


Is it difficult to constantly navigate all the housing legislative changes?


Are you worried about the protection of your property rights?

Do you have at-risk renters who have been paying rent reliably this year?

Have any of your renters not paid rent OR are they paying reduced rent?

7. 8.

Are you unsure who’s defending your business interests?

Are you concerned about the health of your rental housing business in 2023?

Why not join EBRHA?

If you answered “YES” to any of the questions above, then EBRHA is a partner that you can’t afford to be without. Membership provides endless benefits!



California: Alameda County

Founded: March 25, 1853

Population: 1,510,000

Area: 821

Seat: Oakland

California: Contra Costa County

Founded: February 18, 1850

Population: 1,050,000

Area: 804

Seat: Martinez

5. 6.



Junk Hauling

In-Unit Junk Hauling

Trash Cleanups

Overflow Management

Compactor Service

Illegal Dumping


Trash Valet

Waste Sorting





Pressure Washing

Hauler Liaison

& Pull Service
Customized Service
rental property owners, property managers, businesses, and
HOA boards with trash management services from start to finish!

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