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Owner FAQ

California Suburbs at NightfallWhat is the best way to communicate with management?

We always prefer communication in writing to avoid any confusion, therefore if you have a computer or fax at your disposal, our email address is or fax us at 925-553-2659.

What is the law regarding security deposits?

There are strict laws in California regarding the security deposit disposition spelled out in civil code 1950.5. The holder of the security deposit has 21 days to refund the security deposit. If any amount is withheld you must provide a written itemized statement.

Do you charge the tenant a security deposit? What about a pet fee?

Yes, our policy is that a security deposit is typically one month’s rent. When pets are allowed, an increased security deposit of typically $500.00 per animal is requested. If the animal is a documented assistive animal, you cannot charge a security deposit per federal law.

I would like to make extensive repairs for capital improvements to my property. How do I go about doing that?

Irvin Real Estate, Inc. can help by obtaining estimates for the work you want done. In the event extensive time is required by our staff, there will be a minimum fee of a $300 per day for capital improvement supervision. Our customers generally benefit from our volume discount from vendors, so these bids may be lower than you can obtain on the open market.

Sometimes I see a charge for repairs on my monthly statement that I think is work the tenant should have done and should have done for free. Why is that?

It is probably because the repair or maintenance involved was determined to be a liability or habitability issue. If the tenant does the work and gets injured, there is a liability factor involved. In California, there is strict Civil Code namely California Civil Code 1941 that the landlord must keep their property in good repair.

Why do I need to add Irvin Real Estate, Inc. as Additional Insured to my landlord policy?

Essentially, a property manager is acting on your behalf as your agent. The property is owned by you, the owner, and the property manager has no financial interest in the property. However, the property manager does have a liability interest in the property. To protect the property manager from liability suits arising from your managed property, the management firm will want to be added as an additional insured. In other words, the property manager wants to be defended alongside of you by your policy, the owner, if there is a liability claim. This is a very common requirement and that language had been incorporated into many state real estate association management agreements, including California. Irvin Real Estate, Inc. holds both E&O insurance with Loyds of London and General Liability insurance with Mercury.

With that said, how can you, the owner, comply with the management agreement? Easy! There are several ways and most do not add any cost to you. The primary way to comply is search for an insurance company that will offer property managers additional insured status. Do not accept “additional interest”. Additional interest only means that the listed party will receive notifications of any changes to the policy and offers no additional protections. We have access to seven carriers that offer additional interest status for property managers so there are resources available.

Secondly, you could consider converting your property policy from a personal fire policy to a commercial property policy. Adding property managers to commercial property as an additional insured is standard practice and absolutely not a problem. You may incur a bit of additional cost to add the property manager here but it is usually a nominal fee.

In summary, the property management firm requires additional insured status to protect their business. They are not requiring this to avoid responsibility. Also, consider the fact that the property management’s insurance policies also require that they be added as an additional insured on the property owners policies. There are insurance companies that will comply with the additional insured requirement and you just have to seek them out.