Bird Streets Blog

305 Arnaz Dr | Arnaz Grove

Arnaz Grove
305 Arnaz Drive
Los Angeles CA 90048

Arnaz Grove is a 4 story, 16 unit, contemporary Mediterranean style condo building in Beverly Center. Built in 2004 by Dariush Khakshouri of Wellesley Manor Corp, these condos are quality construction. I love the landscaping in front- with a row of 40 ft. king palms and planter beds. This building is one of a handful of newer construction buildings in the Beverly Center neighborhood. When an Arnaz Grove condo comes for sale they usually sell fast and in multiples. Since the building doesn’t have any major amenities, the HOA dues are low, even with Earthquake Insurance coverage.

Location

Arnaz Grove is Beverly Hills adjancent and walking distance to Cedar Sinai hospital. This location has a high walk score because of its proximity to restaurants and cafes on 3rd Street and the high end retail of North Robertson. The newly renovated Beverly Center + Beverly Connection shopping mall offers plenty of stores for whatever your favorite brand is, and the West Hollywood design district in not far.

There are several sit down restaurants within a five minute walk from Arnaz Grove- one of these could be your new home away from home for those evenings when you aren’t in the mood to cook in your beautiful new kitchen. Or you can rotate!

Pizzeria Il Fico (Italian)
Le Pain Quotidien (Cafe)
Jack N Jill Too (American)
Café Angelino (Italian)
The District (Vietnamese)
AOC (American)
Locanda Veneta (Italian)
3rd Stop (American)

For Grocery Stores, there is a Trader Joe’s on the ground level of 8500 Burton, Beverly Hills Ralphs and Bristol Farms on the corner of Beverly and Doheny, and the West Hollywood Pavilions.  

This neighborhood is very quiet and Safe.

Real Estate

There are 4 condos on each floor- stacks 1 and 2 face the street (across the street are some beautiful jacaranda’s that bloom each year) and stacks 3 and 4 face the rear. There was about a $30,000 premium for street facing units when the building originally sold out, but since these condos rarely come on the market (it’s a small building), prices are determined by market demand.

All condos are 2BR/2BA, between 1,400 and 1,500 sqft. Floorplans are single story.

The developer installed bamboo hardwood floors in the living rooms, entry, and dinning rooms which was somewhat unusual finish for the year built. Bedrooms are required by CCRs to be Carpeted except for the 1st floor. Kitchens have stainless steel appliances, cherry shaker cabinets, and bullnose granite countertops. The condo has gas, so you get a gas range. The living Room has a balcony and gas fireplace.

The master bedrooms suit has it’s own finished walk in closet, and private master bathroom with double vanity, frameless shower, and separate soaking tub. The tile in the bathroom is travertine.

There is a common area water heater and boiler on the roof that supplies hotwater to all the units. Windows are milgard, and all the doors have chrome hardware, and raised panel solid core doors.  

Prices Range $850,000 to $1,000,000

Amenties

This building has no amenities except for an elevator. This keeps HOA Dues very low, especially considering the building carries Earthquake Insurance.

Parking & Laundry

 

Each condo has 2 Parking Spaces in a gated subterranean garage, most of the spaces are tandem. There are 5 guest parking spaces total. 

Laundry is stacked inside the unit, in a closet in hallway.

Home Owners Association

 HOA dues Monthly Cost? $500/mo.

 HOA dues cover? Water, Trash, Building Reserves, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance.

 Owner Pays? Electricity, Gas, Internet and Cable, Condo Insurance.

 Any special assessments? No

 Pet Policy? 2 pets max, no weight or breed restrictions.

Rental Policy? Leases must be 1 year or more. There is a draconian $5,000 fine for signing a lease prior to getting HOA board approval. A condo in the building was levied this fine, but the HOA and owner worked out an agreement for partial payment. Only 5 condos may be rented in the building at any time, 4 are currently rented. The HOA is not very receptive to rentals because I believe in the past they had some problems.

 Move in Fee? $350

 EQ Insurance? Yes, $6,000,000 policy

Building Reserves? 65K in reserve +10K per year, approximately 60% funded.

  Can you have BBQ on balcony? Yes

 Property Management Company?

Saba Properties
http://www.sabaproperties.net/
12609 Woodgreen St
Los Angeles CA 90066
310-398-3900

 

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Los Angeles Real Estate Photographers

Pictures are the #1 marketing tool for selling listings (although in the future I expect videos to supplant pictures). The trend is clear, all buyers start their search for a new home online. The most important factor for buyers when they are considering which of the listings they view online to see in person, is the photos. Great photos will get you more showings. More showings means more offers. More offers mean a higher sales price. When I am determining a marketing budget for a listing I never scrimp on the photographs.

High End Real Estate Photographers

 The amount you can spend on a listing depends on the commission. For high end properties of $10M+ there is a lot more elbow room to spend money to market. With these properties, you can do multi-day photoshoots, to catch every room of these sprawling mansions at the golden hour. And have the cities top photographer’s come in with an assistant or two and a lot of equipment to capture the perfect magazine cover shot. Prices on photoshoots from these photographers starts at $1,500 and up.

Berlyn Photography
www.berlynphotography.com
310-489-9666

 

Nick Springett
www.nickspringett.com
310-493-5166

$850-$1500

Everett Fenton Gidley
www.efgidley3.wordpress.com
310-990-0106

Everett Frenton Gidley has been an architectural photographer in Los Angeles for X years. He has shot many of the most important architectural homes in the city, including some commercial buildings. There is no real estate photographer in town with more experience.

Michael McNamara
www.michaelandrewmcnamara.com
424-273-1300

Michael McNamara is a very prolific photographer. He started his business as a high end photographer, but in recent years created a new brand: www.shootingla.com that focuses more on the middle of the market.

Proficient Real Estate Photographers

Real Estate Photography is usually more about getting the job done than making art. You are taking photo’s to sell the listing, remember? Most agents want the photo shoot scheduled within a few days of signing a new listing, and when a photographer comes to shoot, they want it done in 2-3 hours (real estate agents are notorious for being impatient). Proficient Real Estate Photographers do 2 -3 shoots a day, 5 to 6 days a week, sometimes 7 if they are hungry. They don’t charge as much as the high end photographers, but make up for it in volume. Prices range from $400-$600 for a shoot, and they usually offer to add a website for an extra $200. They will take 20 to 30 photos, and then edit them. I hope for a 1-2 day turnaround on delivery of pictures once they are taken, after three days it starts getting late. 

Shooting LA
www.shootingla.com
424-273-1300
manager@shootingla.com

Virtually Here Studios
www.virtuallyherestudios.com
310-910-7355

Clients: Altman Brothers, Joe Babijian, lots of rodeo realty

Alex Zarour is an Entrepreneur. He owned his own insurance company but wasn’t happy. He wanted to be creative. So he sold that business and bought a camera in 2012 and hasn’t looked back. Alex is a young buck, and does very professional work.  

Adam Latham – Bel Air Photography
www.belairphotography.com
310-525-0100
adam@BelAirPhotography.com

Clients: Jason Oppenheim

I have shot with Adam a few times, he is just awesome. He lives in Beverly Glen or Benedict Canyon in a cool modern house (which he has shot from every angle) this is where he goes to relax, because he is shooting 24/7. I was shooting a house with a tenant and the tenant was very upset, Adam was very professional and handled the situation calmly. He has a tri-pod technique where he raises it above his head to get a pseudo drone shot. For one shoot, Adam climbed up on the counter tops of the kitchen to get a tight angel( it was a condo). He has a really good eye for angles.

Sky Photography
www.skyphotographyla.com
310-595-0822
skyphotographyla@gmail.com

I love Rani Sikolski! Rani is Israeli. He is the most friendly and bubbly person, it’s hard not to get along with him! Skyphotography are the best/most ballsy drone photographers/pilots in Los Angeles handsdown/period. In addition to photos, they do great videos as well. They are one of the top real estate video makers in the city as well. Everybody around town uses them for at least something. Great company to have in your rolladex.

Val Riolo
www.valriolo.com
310-497-5609
val@valriolo.com

Val is very professional and takes pictures. His set up is a trip pod and he does HDR. I have worked with Val on several occasions and found his prices competitive and his services reliable. 

Charmaine David
www.charmainedavid.net
626-641-2592
me@charmainedavid.net

Clients: Courtney + Kurt, Rob Kallick, Urban Hillside RE

Charmaine is #1 Photographer on the Eastside, she lives DT. Her websites and photos a great. She has expanded in recent years and has added another photographer- David Jo. Probably the best Bungalow photographer in the whole city, but she shoots everything. Her interiors are stark white which is the taste on the eastside and she is not afraid to shoot vertical shots which I like also.

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LA Light Photo
www.lalightphoto.com
310-994-3050

Clients: Dennis Chernov, Harma Hartouni

Erik Grammer
www.propertylistingspro.com
323-928-2241
info@egpimaging.com

Unlimited Styles Real Estate
www.unlimitedstylerealestate.com
310-280-6049
info@unlimitedstylerealestate.com

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SAE Photography
www.saephotography.com
805-501-8867
scott@saephotography.com

Swift Pictures
www.swiftpictures.com
323-899-1819
swift@swiftpictures.com

Marco Franchina
www.photographyforrealtors.com
818-429-1422
marcofranchina@sbcglobal.net

Lee Manning
www.leemanning.biz
818-621-4111
lee@leemanningphoto.com

Clients: David Offer, Kurt Rappaport, Carl Gambinio, Ernie Carswell (Former)

Lee has been a photographer for 20 years, which means he use to shoot with film! Before he picked up a camera he was a recording engineer and producer in the music industry (He’s got some interesting music stories! He has produced film music, rock and roll, reggae and pop). Lee’s wife worked in the ads department for the LA TIMES and Lee kind of stumbled into Photography because his wife needed photos for her ads. He was a staff photographer for many years at dream homes magazine. Lee is a stickler about no camera tilting which distorts pictures. He likes straight lines, and to shoot rooms wide to make them look larger. He also believes in not over processing pictures in post, which can make photos seem a little cartooney.  Lee currently lives in Ventura with his family and shoots on the Westside + Valley.

Luke Gibson Photography
www.lukegibsonphotography.com
310-980-9020
luke@lukegibsonphotography.com


DNA Image – Darwin Nercesian
www.dna-image.com
310.701.8970
dn@dna-image.com  

Darwin is actually an amazing street photographer. He is a sole practitioner, and sometimes his dad helps him out on shoots. He is very passionate about photography, and has his own style – which is very close up, dark, and heavy.

Pierre Galant
www.pierregalantphotography.com
424-245-5257
info@pierregalantphotography.com

In a prior life, Pierre was a real estate agent. He was frustrated by the poor quality of real estate pictures and decided to switch to photography. He is a photographer who thinks like an agent. His style is all about natural light, he hates artificial light, so when he shoots he turns off all the lights- which might seem weird, but it gives him more control over the light. This gives his photos a very light and authentic quality. Pierre is obsessed with shooting tight and straight shots. He shoots angles, but his favorite photos are straight on shots. He doesn’t believe in shooting a hundred pictures of a property from every angle. He likes a little mystery. For him, he wants fewer shots, but all the shots to be really great. He uses a view finder to line up his shots, I’ve never seen a photographer so good at framing shots.

Post Rain – Jeff Ong
www.postrain4.com
626-487-7794
Jeff.ong@postrain.com

One of the original pro real estate photographers in LA along with Planomatic. Jeff has shot over 11,000 properties and still counting! He doesn’t take new clients anymore because his existing clients keep him very busy. But it never hurts to try and see if you can book him. He has set the standard for professional photos in Los Angeles. In addition, he has kept up with new technology, like drone photos and 3D modeling.

Planomatic
www.planomatic.com
866-599-7526

Aaron Rose created a huge company, now nationwide, they have a staff of 15 people and 2 dogs. They still shoot in their back yard, good ole’ LA.

Rancho Photos
www.ranchophotos.com
office@ranchophotos.com
1-800-575-8203

Rancho is a San Diego company that has expanded to LA. I have seen a lot of valley agent’s use them- for the price they provide astounding quality. I expect to see more of this company around LA in future.

Mark Singer
www.go.marksinger.com
310-844-7797

LA Home Photo
www.lahomephoto.com
323-683-5991
joe@lahomephoto.com

Dream Home Photo – Jeff Elson
www.dreamhomephoto.com
818-601-5954
jeffelson@gmail.com

Avenue Eye
www.avenueeye.com
310-943-6476
admin@avenueeye.com

Tom Hunter
www.tomhunterphoto.com 
626-825-2694
tom@tomhunterphoto.com

Tom lives in Sierra Madre and was trained by Lee Manning. He shoots all over town but is based on the Eastside. 

Cristopher Nolasco
www.nolascostudios.com
310-920-7466
cris@nolascostudios.com

Clients: Peter Lorimer 

Open House Foto – Narek “Nick” Avetisovich
www.openhousefoto.com
626-290-4664
nick@openhousefoto.com

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Los Angeles Staging Companies

Large Staging Companies

Large staging companies stage 50 or more houses at any time and over 200 houses a year. They are more expensive then smaller boutique staging companies because they have higher overhead, but offer a wider selection of furnishings. They do not do partial stagings. One big advantage of large companies is their capacity- they can stage homes quickly- sometimes in just a few days, whereas smaller companies might need two weeks or more if they are busy.   

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Meridith Baer
www.meridithbaer.com
(310) 204-5353
home@meridithbaer.com

Meridith Baer is the Largest staging Company in US. They have about 150 homes staged at any given time, and stage over 800 homes a year. In more recent years MB has expanded to other big city markets, like San Francisco and New York, among others. Meridith Baer has a huge 200,000 sqft warehouse in South Gate – 4100 Ardmore Ave, that houses all of their furniture. The minimum staging cost is $5,500, and it can go up to $30,000 – $50,000+ for large estates. MB stays up to date with the latest design trends. No other staging company has as large of a selection. They can do any style. 

Jeff Marshall
www.marshalldesigngroup.com
310-435-5293
Jeff@MarshallDesignGroup.com

Jeff Marshall stages 100 properties at any given time – and roughly 400 homes a year. Marshall Design Group services all of Southern California. They are known for a transitional style that is an updated traditional with modern touches, that appeals to high end buyers- a conservative look that is light and clean. “with staging your trying to appeal to the broadest audience, you don’t know who the buyer is going to be, and you don’t want to turn anybody off with a bold decision” – Jeff Marshall. Marshall has two sister staging companies that focus on High End Staging: MDG Estates www.mdgestates.com and High End Staging www.highendstaging.com

Elite Home Staging
www.elitehomestagingca.com
310-776-9469
info@elitehomestagingca.com

Elite Home Staging is based in Canoga Park in the Valley. They stage about 100 homes each year and this year is their 11th year in business. Like other big staging companies they have several designers. Their style is conservative updated traditional. 

Westside Staging Companies

Designed to Move (DTM) Interiors
www.designedtomove.com
310-274-5878
office@designedtomove.com
super high end, love the staging for Jan Horn listing. Aimee Miller

K+V Home Staging
www.kvhomestaging.com
917-553-7622
ck@kvhomestaging.com

Christina Kretschmer is based in Pacific Palisades. She has a beach influence on her staging. She has a very sophisticated style that appeals to buyers on the westside.   

 

Chimera Interiors
www.chimera-interiors.com
310-652-8624
sarah@chimera-interiors.com or marina@chimera-interiors.com 

Sarah Chavez and Marina Mizruh are interior designers. They also do some staging but it is not their main focus. Their staging is straight out of a magazine, and great for high end homes with a distinguished pedigree. Expect to pay for quality.

Fictional Homes
www.fictionalhomes.com
424-348-8455
info@fictionalhomes.com

Michael McCraine has a quirky, creative style with pops of color. Definitely right at home with Markets like Venice and Silverlake. The might be a few $1,000 more expensive then other staging companies, but they have a lot of depth and are very handson. If you are looking for something a little different- fictional delivers.

AO Design Studio
www.aostudiola.com
310-895-3250
hello@aostudiola.com

AO Design is an interior design firm that also does some staging. They spend a lot of time searching all over the US for unique pieces, so they definitely have some cool antiques to mix in with more traditional fare.

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Dressed Inc
www.dresseddesign.com
310-556-0418
inquiries@dresseddesign.com

The Valley

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Luke Stephens Staging
www.lukestephensstaging.com
(203) 913-0635
lukestephensstaging@gmail.com

Juxtaposition Staging 
www.juxtapositionla.com
310-625-6399
juxtapositionla@gmail.com

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LA Staging Company
www.lastagingcompany.com
310-947-0981
info@LAstagingcompany.com

Color Me Sold Staging
www.Colormesoldstaging.com
323-559-7767
chris@colormesoldstaging.com

Chris Curcuru of Color me sold staging is located in Burbank.

Lotus 888 Designs
www.lotus888designs.com
818-268-5317
info@lotus888designes.com

Eastside Staging Companies

The Eastside of Los Angeles has a very different vibe then other parts of LA. The buyers tend to be younger (30s-40s), first time home buyers that are attracted by affordable prices. Home Prices start at $600,000 and averaging around $900,000 on the Eastside, with the high end properties going for $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 (except for Pasadena). These younger buyers are more daring, so staging companies on the Eastside are pushing the envelope on design with colorful fabrics and objects and very busy patterns that sometimes clash, with a dash of vintage. 

Stage of Mind
www.stageofmind.net
626-394-3220
info@stageofmind.net

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Madison Modern Home
www.madmodhome.com
213-820-0371
ernie@madmodhome.com

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Graceful Habitats
www.gracefulhabitats.com
323-397-0361
erin@gracefulhabitats.com

Eleven Interiors
www.eleven-interiors.com
Linda Graveline
info@eleven-ineriors.com
323-236-2878

Craft Home Staging 
www.crafthomestaging.com
Jessica Young
jessica@crafthomestaging.com
323-456-3901

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Modern Mecca Staging
www.modernmecca.com
310-359-5107
info@modernmecca.com

Here Staging
www.theherecompany.com
562-858-6396
hello@theherecompany.com

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Platform Staging
www.theplatformexperiment.com
323.364.3847
staging@theplatformexperiment.com

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Niche Staging
www.nichehomestyling.com
(323) 515-0556
info@nichehomestyling.com

John Douglas Design
www.johndouglasdesign.com
310-780-8720
jddesigns@mac.com

John Douglas was the founder of Lasalvage Staging , which was dissolved 2017. John now stages under his new company John Douglas Design. JDD is a boutique company that focuses on the Eastside. John sometimes creates custom art or furniture for his staging projects. He dislikes staging that looks like a furniture company “threw up” all over a house. He tries to bring in custom elements to his staging projects to make them unique. For John he is not trying to sell a look, but a lifestyle.   

She Stages – Sharon Tan
she-stages.com
909-618-5236
sharon@she-stages.com

Based out of West Covina, Sharon Tan has a very light and delicate touch to staging. 

Upstage
https://www.upstagela.com/
310-926-2625
get2kimberly@gmail.com

ur warehouse is based in Glendale and we serve surrounding areas including Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Altadena, Glendale, La Crescenta, San Marino and the entire San Gabriel Valley region as well as Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

 

Uncatagory

www.upstagedesign.com

www.su-zanne.com

 

The Staging Co.

2658 Griffith Park Bvld #124

Los Angeles CA 90039

323-841-0028

www.thestagingcompanyla.com

 

http://www.stagetosell.biz/

310-384-1084

Annie Pinsker-Brown 

 

Upstage LA

Upstagela.com

Kimberly Behling

Get2kimberly@gmail.com

310-926-2625

Leslie Whitlock Staging

www.lesliewhitlockstaging.com

 

 

 

 

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Laurel Canyon

Laurel Canyon
Zip Codes: 90046, 90068

Laurel Canyon is an intimate hillside community with soul power. it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in Los Angeles. A bohemian artist refuge, Laurel canyon is where you run away from home, hideout from the authorities, and write music, read books, and watch plays.

Residents form spiritual bonds with the nature of the canyon, which you are completely submersed in. When you are there, you feel connected. Towering oak trees, dry chaparral bushes, and gold grass inhabit this authentic Southern Californian landscape. Laurel Canyon has a Wildside. Unfamiliar sights and sounds bewilder unaccustomed city dwellers. Songbirds sing, owls hoot, hawks glide on thermal updrafts, deer wander, coyotes, bobcats, and hermits roam. Hardly your typical LA experience.

Laurel Canyon has country folk rock roots. The list of famous residents is long and always growing. Some can argue that music in Laurel Canyon reached its Zenith in the summer of love in the late 1960s. The Musicians who made this time: The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors, CSNY, Frank Zappa, and Joni Mitchell.  Laurel Canyon’s next generation are Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Slash from Guns and Roses who both grew up in Laurel Canyon. New music continues to bubble up from this wellspring. To be young mad and in love. Good Vibes.

Location

Laurel Canyon has a symbiotic relationship with the Sunset Strip and Hollywood/West Hollywood. With their tides, so does Laurel Canyon’s fortunes rise. Many residents work and play in those cities and live in Laurel Canyon. Laurel Canyon’s close proximity to these entertainment districts make it one of the most convenient hillside communities to live in (much livelier than Benedict Canyon). There is no freeway noise in Laurel Canyon like you get in the Cahuenga Pass from the 101.  

Laurel canyon is the best canyon boulevard for traveling between the valley and the westside. So the studios in Burbank, and the lowkey nightlife of Ventura Blvd in Studio City are also within arms reach.

Landmarks

Laurel Canyon Country Store
2108 Laurel Canyon Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 654-8091

Located in the heart of Laurel Canyon, the peace sign emblazoned Country Store is a hitching Post for the community. Legend has it that Mama Cas once lived in the basement. The Store has basic groceries and wine. There is a lunch deli counter that makes sandwiches. You can buy fresh sage for $2.99 at the register (impulse buy!). 100% wood paneled. There is a great Dry cleaners around the corner too!

Lookout Mountain Inn (Burned down 1918)

Lookout Mountain inn played an important role in Laurel Canyon’s early history. Opened in 1910, as a 24-room hotel, it attracted visitors to the new Laurel Canyon Developments of Bungalowland and Lookout Mountain Park. Placed on one of the choicest view lots, you could see for miles in all directions. The Lookout Mountain inn had incredible views. Guest paid $15/week for room and board. One of the experiences of staying at the inn was driving (or racing!) the long curving canyon roads to get to it. Automobile clubs held regular meetings at the inn. Upscale Society used the inn for banquets and social events. Unfortunately, in 1918 a brush fire, reportedly started by a group of boys cooking sausages, raced up the canyons and reduced the wooden inn to charcoals.

The Mansion (2451 Laurel Canyon) & Houdini Estate (2400 Laurel Canyon)

The Mansion: Longtime residence of mega producer Rick Rubin, who used the property as a recording studio and rock and roll dormitory. The main residence was built in 1925, and burned in 1959, but was rebuilt. Errol Flynn use to live at this residence in the 1930s, and it is said that at one time there was a tunnel connecting this property to the Houdini Mansion across the street.

Houdini Estate: Called the Houdini estate, although Houdini never owned it, although he is rumored to have rented the house while he was in Los Angeles. This location is now available to rent for weddings and events. Built by Department Store Magnate Ralf M. Walker- the house also burned down in 1959 fire and was later demolished in 1970. A new house was built.    

Case Study House #21, Bailey House

9038 Wonderland Ave. Designed in 1959 by Pierre Koenig as part of the case study home project. The house was built with sturdy steel framing, that allowed long spans to create huge open spaces, a precursor to modern tastes today. Since the property has no eaves, Koenig controlled the temperature inside the house with screens. A very simple and beautiful modern design. 

8021 Rothdell Trl (Jim Morrison House)

The Lizard King, Jim Morrison lived in Laurel Canyon with his girlfriend Pamela Courson from 1967-1969. They nicknamed Rothdell ‘Love Street’ because there were so many hippies all over the place. The Doors song “Love Street” mentions the nearby Canyon Store -“I see you live on Love Street/ there’s this store where the creatures meet”. The house has burned down, been rebuilt, and extensively remodeled. It now is Spanish Mission style. 

Lookout Mountain Laboratory

Former US airforce base that made military films from 1947 to 1969. Their most famous films are about nuclear explosions. The base employed over 250 people. Being a movie studio, the compound had offices, recording rooms, and screening rooms, but also had military rooms, such as a bomb shelter, helicopter pad, vaults. The 2.5 acre studio is still one lot, and owned by a celebrity actor/musician, who uses the property like an art gallery, and it has a pool.

Frank Zappa Cabin

2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Today, all that remains of the cabin are rubble and an empty lot. The cabin was the first building in Laurel Canyon. It was called the “Bungalow Inn” and had a dinning hall, reading room, ladies parlor, room service, a one lane bowling ally, riding trails, stables and garages, and a tennis court.

The Inn attracted visitors to Laurel Canyon’s first subdivision “Bungalowland” comprised of about 300 lots. The developer, Chas Mann, sold lots for $100 – $250 each. Later, movie star Tom Mix bought the cabin (His trusty sidekick and wonder horse “Tony” is supposedly buried there).

In 1967, the cabin was run down and completely dilapidated. Rising rock star Frank Zappa rented the house with his wife Gale and their new baby moon unit. The home was a hippy commune and round the clock rock and roll boarding house for the 60’s most influential artists. In 1981 the cabin burned down.

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123 S Clark Dr | South Clark

South Clark
123 S Clark Dr
West Hollywood CA 90048

South Clark is a no frills traditional Mediterranean newer construction 14 condo building in the Beverly Center neighborhood of Los Angeles. The condos are spacious ~1600 sqft 3 Bedrooms and 3 baths, so this building is great for buyers looking for a large condo for a growing or extended family.

123 S Clark Drive Lobby

The developer installed bull-nose Granite Countertops, travertine floors and cherry recessed panel cabinets in kitchens with stainless steal appliances. Appliances include a U-line wine cooler, double oven, and a massive Fridge! Unlike older buildings- Condos have a Viking gas stove and plenty of overhead recessed lighting. The condos have two gas fireplaces, one in the living room and one in the master suit, which comes complete with walk in closet and private master bath. Master bath has double vanity and separate shower and tub.  The bedrooms have Berber carpeting. Living Room has 4 inch maple engineered wood floor. The Penthouses have nice roof decks.

HOA’s are $450/mo. in addition to this there is a $900payment each year for Earthquake insurance. Side by Side Laundry inside in a laundry room in each condo and they have central HVAC. Two parking spaces and some guest parking. The building has an elevator and a receiving area in the lobby. Prices are $950,000 to $1,150,000

ORIGINAL SELL OUT PRICES

Unit BR/BA SQFT Original Sell Out Price
#101 3BR/3BA 1,595 $819,000
#102 3BR/3BA 1,606 $824,000
#103 3BR/3BA 1,666 $820,000
#104 3BR/3BA 1,901 $929,000
#201 3BR/3BA 1,610 $839,000
#202 3BR/3BA 1,606 $839,000
#203 3BR/3BA 1,666  
#301 3BR/3BA 1,610 $859,000
#302 3BR/3BA 1,629  
#303 3BR/3BA 1,666 $840,000
#PH1 3BR/3BA 1,610 $929,000
#PH2 3BR/3BA 1,629 ???
#PH3 3BR/3BA 1,666 $899,000
#PH4 3BR/3BA 1,901 $959,000

 

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141 S Clark Drive | The Rob Clark

The Rob Clark
141 S Clark Drive
Los Angeles CA 90048

The Rob Clark is a fashionable and trendy 105-unit low rise condo in Beverly Center Neighborhood of Los Angeles (Rob Clark is not in the city of West Hollywood although West Hollywood is very close). Built in 1973, the building was converted to condos in 2007. Rob Clark Buyers love the remodeled kitchens, bathrooms, and real hardwood flooring, and other upgrades that were added during the conversion. Unlike a bunch of older buildings in the area, with condos in original condition, the Rob Clark doesn’t need one lick of work! Condos also have Central HVAC.

For Buyers looking for large condos, the Rob Clark may not be the best option because it’s condos tend to be on the smaller side, with the largest two bedrooms being 950 sqft, and the average condo size coming in at 650 sqft.

A lot of owners in the Rob Clark are energetic professionals who are busy and on the move, so they don’t spend a lot of time at home (in fact they travel a lot as well). These owners don’t want to pay for space they don’t use, and would prefer to trade a larger space for better condition. They have zero interest in taking on a renovation project.

However, designing their condo’s interior is a whole ‘nother story. Buyers tend to have a strong sense of their own personal style and enjoy decorating and redecorating their Rob Clark condo. The building has a very landlord friendly rental policy so many of these condos make great investments as well. It’s like living in a hip boutique hotel.  

In addition to offering very affordable prices for the condition and area, the building has low HOAs and a totally awesome gym!

Location

Finding a walk-able location in LA is hard to find in this city but Rob Clark offers a walker friendly convenient location. Cedar Sinai Hospital, the Beverly Center Shopping Center, the design district of West Hollywood, the high end retail and restaurants of Robertson BLVD, and the restaurants and cafes of 3rd Ave all within walking distance make this a walkers paradise.

5 Minutes to West Hollywood and 5 minutes to Beverly hills. There is a great restaurant Lemonade that hits the spot for lunch, and Beverly Hills Bristol farms, although the Whole Foods and Pavilions of West Hollywood although slightly further away will probably have a stronger draw.

I really like Joan’s on Third for brunch, and there is both a Starbucks and coffee bean at Robertson and Beverly so you can pick you favorite spot to get a latte.  Toca Madera is a popular local watering spot that is great for some nightlife. 

In the Beverly Center is the Pacific Theater, which is great for watching an academy award contender, summer blockbuster, or whatever kind of cinema you are into.

Real Estate

Condos in the Rob Clark are single story floor-plans. A big selling point for the building is CENTRAL HVAC. Not every property in this price range and area have it. The Galley Style Modern Kitchens of the condos feature an open concept with a seating area on the other side of a massive quartz counter top with room for stools. The condo’s Kitchens came equipped with new Stainless Steel Frigidaire Appliances.  In the kitchen, there is a European style all-in-one washer/dryer unit laundry solution. For those that prefer traditional laundry- there is a community laundry room off the lobby.

I love the very rich looking dark engineered Hickory Floors. They run throughout the living room AND bedrooms. In the living room is a floor to ceiling gas chiseled white Quarts fireplace, that adds a bit of pizzazz. Bathrooms have combo tub showers with glass sliders and aquamarine glass tile. Bedrooms have an excellent walk in closet.

CONDO MIX

(22) 2BR
850 sqft  to 950 sqft
$650,000 to $700,00

(68) 1 BR
650 sqft to 800 sqft
$550,000-$650,000

(15) Studio
420 sqft to 500 sqft
$400,000 to $450,000

Record Sale $750,000 2/9/2017

Turnover 7% (about 6 a year or one every two months)

Appreciation 3% (very hard to tell long term trend since only 10 years of sales history)

Amenities

Heated Pool and Outdoor BBQ

Gym

Lobby

Parking & Laundry

Each condo has a European style all-in-one laundry unit in the kitchen. In addition to this, there is Community laundry room.

Every condo has at least one parking space in gated garage. The two bedroom condos have two parking spaces. Sorry, there are no Guest Parking spaces. 

Home Owners Association

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $350/mo to $420/mo.

HOA dues cover? Water & Trash, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance, and Reserves.

HOA exclude? Electricity, Gas, Internet, Cable, H-06 insurance

Any special assessments? No

Pet Policy? 2 Pets per residence.

Rental Policy? No AirBnB. Otherwise no restrictions. 

EQ Insurance? No

Building Reserves?

Special move in instructions?

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Management company?

LBPM
4730 Woodman Ave #200
Sherman Oaks CA 91423

Alma Karic (Association Manager)
akaric@lbprop.com
818-981-1802 EXT 251

 

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960 Larrabee St | Larrabee Manor

Larrabee Manor
960 Larrabee St #303
West Hollywood CA 90069

Larrabee Manor is an 86 unit, courtyard style, midrise condo located in the Norma Triangle Neighborhood of West Hollywood. The Building was built in 1963 as apartments and converted to condos in 1987. The unit mix in this condo complex is 90% 1 bedrooms and Studios, so this is a great building for buyers looking for well located/affordable West Hollywood 1 bedroom condo or for condo investors, since this building’s CCRs and  HOA have a very investor friendly leasing policy. HOA’s are only $350/mo. which is the lowest you will find in the area (HOAs include basic Direct TV and internet too!).

Location

Conveniently located between Santa Monica BLVD and Sunset, you can walk to either location. West Hollywood’s Santa Monica BLVD is just steps from this condo for lots of nightlife, restaurants, and Trader Joes. The Newly Opened Shake Shack has become an instant neighborhood hit! For the past decade the Abbey has been the #1 nightlight life destination in the area, and it was recently expended with the “Chapel”.

Real Estate

Larrabee Manor is about Economy. Economy of size, economy of expense, economy of home owner’s dues.  This building offers one of the best locations at the most affordable price. 

 Record Sale Price: $550,000 9/25/2013

Turnover Ratio: 5%

Appreciation: 4% – 5% (if updated)

All of the floorplans are single story. There is no central HVAC, so Air is a Wall Unit (sorry Central HVAC may not be installed). Some owners have upgraded to split systems. Kitchens have electric stoves. Dining Rooms are a bit small at about 8′ x 8′, they seat 4. The 1 Bedrooms have a wall and full baths, where as the studios have open floorplan. Kitchens are galley style with Dishwasher, Stove, Microwave. Some owners have added a washer and dryer in the kitchens, otherwise there is a community laundry room. There are two elevators in the building, and numerous stairs. The hallways are open air in some areas and enclosed in others. Units facing Larrabee (West) have huge balconies. Units that face the courtyard have normal balconies. The units that face out from the courtyard have no balconies. One thing I really like about these condos is that they have a lot of windows- the dining room, living room, and bedroom all have a window. 

CONDO MIX:

(40) Studios
450 sqft to 700 sqft
$350,000-$400,000

(40) 1 Br
700 sqft to 800 sqft
$400,000 – $450,000

(6) 2BR
900 sqft to 1,100 sqft
$500,000-$550,000

Amenities

Heated Pool (year round)

Roofdeck (Great Views!)

Dog Run

Storage in Garage (some condos have an overhead locker + ground storage bin, others just ground bin, and a few have no garage storage)

Parking & Laundry

1 Parking Space per condo regardless of size in gated parking garage. There is guest parking??

Laundry is in a laundry room with coin operated machines. Some owners have installed laundry inside their condos.

Home Owners Association

Board Member’s Website: http://www.960updates.com/

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $350/mo.

HOA dues cover? Water & Trash, Building Insurance, Basic Direct TV package and Internet, Reserves, 

HOA does exclude?

Special Assessments? Yes, currently a $1,500 per unit special assessment to redo the hallways. The board is considering two other assessments: Elevator Modernization (2K per unit) and Earthquake insurance ($40/mo.) 

Pet Policy? 2 Pet limit. Dogs may not be over 20 inches high full grown and be of a “gentle disposition”.

Rental Policy? No restrictions

EQ Insurance? No

Building Reserves?

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Property Management company?

First Service Residential
https://www.fsresidential.com/

6080 Center Drive, Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Phone: 310-574-7426 or 310-981-9909

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321 S San Vicente Blvd | Westbury Towers

Westbury Towers
321 S San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90048

Westbury Towers is an 82-unit 11 story high-rise in Beverly Center. The building was built in 1976 as condos and is solid construction with concrete and steel. The HOA has not made any updates to the exterior, lobby, hallways, or laundry rooms since it was built so the building is dated now. That said, Westbury Towers has an incredible location, and the condos are very generous in size. This is one of the most affordable buildings in the area. The HOA, levying a modest assessment, could make this building really shine.

Location

Westbury towers is walking distance to both Cedar Sinai hospital and the Beverly Center Shopping center (which is directly across the street).  The Restaurants and shops on 3rd St/Robertson are also nearby. This location provides easy access to both West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

There is a Trader Joe’s market in the new 8500 Burton building. I personally love the Larder in the same building- they have great food! You also have to check out Andre’s Bazaar at SLS hotel- really cool place to get a cocktail!

For your coffee fix, check out the Coffee bean and tea leaf at La Cienega and 3rd.

Real Estate

Record Sale: $775,000 6/17/2016

Appreciation? 4%

Turnover Ratio? 4% (about 3 condos a year)

The Condos are a mix of 1 Bedrooms (22) and 2 bedrooms (60) ranging in size from 950 sqft to 1,300 sqft. All the floorplans are single level. One Bedrooms are selling for $400,000 to $500,000 and 2 bedrooms are selling for $600,000 to $700,000.  The bedrooms and living rooms are really large. Bedrooms can fit a king and most floorplans have a walk in master closet. The kitchen have electric appliances and are square. The Kitchen has a bar area to looks into the living room. Every condo has one or two balconies. Condos on the higher floors have great views. 

Amenities

Pool and Spa

Lobby with on site manager, and nightly security patrol

Paddle Court

Elevator

Storage Locker

Parking and Laundry

Parking is in two underground garages- 1 bedrooms ahve 1 parking space and 2 bedrooms have 2 parking spaces. For two parking spaces it is a mix between tandem and side by side. Guest Parking?

Laundry is community, with a washer and dryer on each floor. 

Home Owners Association

HOA dues Monthly Cost?  $498/condo

HOA dues cover? Water and Trash, Building insurance, Common area maintenance, Reserves

HOA does exclude? Electricity, Internet, Cable, Condo Insurance

any special assessments? No

Pet Policy?

Rental Policy?

EQ Insurance? No

Building Reserves?

Special move in instructions?

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Management company?

 

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6728 Hillpark Dr | The Highlands

The Highlands
6700-6760 Hillpark Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Highlands is a hidden gem! Located in a picturesque setting of natural canyons just off the 101 freeway in the Cahuenga Pass, the community has a resort like feel and is the most affordable way to ‘get in’ to the Hollywood Hills.

The Highlands has 192-condos that are grouped into 16 different buildings. Built in 1966 by developer Theodore Bentley, a third generation builder. Bentley’s grandfather was the founder of Pomona, and his father worked on highway projects and the aqueduct. The Highlands opened at an inopportune moment,  the US economy was in recession and sales were slow. Instead of selling, the condos were leased as apartments until 1973- when Lindley Enterprises purchased the property and infused another $1.2M into improvements and sold them as condos.  

The property has 14 acres of grounds, with many different species of trees and other greenery that was planted on site when it was built. This landscaping is now mature and very pleasing. The most noticeable trees are the towering pines, but there are wide assortment of varieties. In addition to the expansive grounds, the land to the south of the site (about 20 Acres) is reserved as open space.

Location

Being located in the Cahuenga pass, the Highlands is very convenient for commuters to either the valley or the westside. Some employees who work in the studios at Burbank also choose to call the highlands home. Being so close to the 101 you can pick up the 134 to go east to Pasadena, or head west on 101 towards 405, as well as take 101 South straight downtown.

Since the community is a little bit off the beaten path, it is quiet and safe. Hillpark Drive is a cul-de-sac. The property is hillside with a slight rising grade.

Unfortunately, the Highlands, much like it’s neighbor across the 101, Cahuenga Tennis Club, is not very walkable. However there are so many amenities on site, the reduces the amount of trips. Cahuenga Blvd has a ton of restaurants which provide a lot of dining options. A few of my favorites are: Mercado, the Baked Potato (great jazz!), Miceli (don’t love the food, but love the live singing waiters!), In’n’Out, Joes Falafal, GC Marketplace.

Universal Studios is right around the corner! Check out Universal Studios City walk for a fun night out.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Highlands next store neighbor, the Hollywood Bowl

As far as groceries are concerned, you can go north to Ralph’s Studio City at 10901 Ventura Blvd, or drive to Beachwood’s Bristol farms. There are a few smaller markets around the neighborhood for a quick run if you run out or forget something.

Real Estate

Turnover Ratio? 4%

Appreciation? 4%

Record Sale: $739,000 5/8/2015

There are 16 buildings and each building has 12 condos. Condos on the second and third floors are four corner units with no common walls and have balconies. There are two condos on the 5th floor of each building with sun decks, and two condos on the first floor. Each building has its own private elevator.

Square footage on units ranges  from 900 sqft to 1,400 sqft. Floorplans are 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bedroom + Den, and 1 bedrooms. All the floorplans are single story.

Pricing

1BR (50)
900 sqft-1000 sqft
$400,000

1BR+ Den
1,100 sqft – 1,200 sqft
$450,000-$500,000

2BR 
1,200 sqft-1,400 sqft
$550,000-$600,000

The original finishes from the 70’s were well you know… umm. Except for the front doors which are very vintage. Many owners have updated their condos. The original condos had popcorn ceilings. Many owners have smoothed their ceilings and added recessed lights. The kitchens had country style raised panel wood cabinets and ceramic tile counter-tops. Just a simple coat of paint can really change the look of the cabinets if you don’t want to replace them. Condos have a huge combined dining room and living room (500sqft – 700sqft) with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that lead out to balcony. Kitchens have a bar area that can seat 2 or 3 stools. Central HVAC. 

Amenities

2 Heated Pools (Upper and Lower) + Spa

Lower Pool

 

Upper Pool

Gym

2 tennis courts and a Paddle court

Club House

Dog Area

Storage lockers

 Parking & Laundry

Parking is in a gated underground parking garage. Condos have 1 or 2 parking spaces. The 1 bedrooms have 1 parking space and the 1 bedroom + den and 2bedrooms have 2 parking spaces. In addition, there is plenty of street parking on Hillpark. Guest Parking?

For Laundry, the complex was original built with Community laundry. Laundry rooms are where?

The HOA allow owners to install laundry in their condo as long as it is a special compact/ventless washer dryer approved by HOA. Installing a Washer/Dryer is owner’s expense. The HOA can provide a list of approved models that owners are allowed to install.

Home Owners Association

HOA PHONE:

(323) 851-4883

323-436-0340

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $494/mo. per condo

HOA dues cover? Water + Trash, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance, Reserve, EQ Insurance

HOA does exclude? Internet, Cable, Gas, Electric

Any special assessments? No

Pet Policy? 2 pets max. No pitbulls, Dobermans or rottweilers.

Rental Policy? Must own the condo 1 year before leasing. Leases minimum 1 year term.

EQ Insurance? YES

Building Reserves?

Can you have BBQ on balcony? Yes

Management Company?

FHA Approved? YES

 

 

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Security Deposit

When you lease or rent property in Los Angeles, landlords collect a security deposit along with the first month of rent. The security deposit is like an insurance policy for landlords. If the tenant damages the property or breaks the lease- the landlord can retain some, or all, of the security deposit to cover their loses.

For tenants, you may not like having the additional upfront expense, especially when you are already paying for a move, and you may need to buy furniture for the new place, but you are just going to have to get use to it, because landlords need some of your hard-earned cash to hold onto to feel safe.

Everything in real estate is negotiable, and so is the security deposit. California State Law addresses the handling of Security Deposits in CA Civil Code 1950.5.

Security Deposit Legal Maximums 

The Legal Maximum Security Deposit in California for an Unfurnished Lease is (2) Month’s Rent. For Furnished leases, the legal maximum is (3) Month’s Rent. However, there is no legal maximum on prepaid rent. Commercial Properties have no limit on security deposits.  

For example, let’s suppose that you rent an unfurnished apartment for $2,000/mo. The legal maximum a landlord can collect as a security deposit is $4,000. The landlord will also want first month’s rent, so the total move-in cost would be $6,000. 

There is no such thing as Non-Refundable Security Deposit in California. Some Landlords will try to charge a “reservation fee” or “holding fee” on a unit or say that a portion of the security deposit is non refundable, while they wait for the new tenant to move in. This is illegal (**cough cough** Barrington Plaza’s $500 holding fee). Unlike rent, which belongs to the landlord, security deposits belong to the tenants. Landlords “hold” the security deposit for the tenant and may only deduct from it for specific reasons, and non-refundable holding fee is not one of them. 

MOVE IN

It is incredibly easy nowadays to take pictures because everyone carries a cell phone, and all the new smart phones have cameras. I recommend that BOTH landlord and tenant take pictures of the condition of the property during move in. Keep the pictures somewhere you can find them later. You may need to refer to them when moving out. The condition of the property when you received it sets the precedent for how the property should be returned. In the event of a disagreement, pictures are worth 1,000 words.

Usually during move in, the tenant requests fixes or ask for permission to make changes. In my experience, I find that New tenants expect everything in their new place to be working and are pickier than long term tenants, especially if they are paying higher rents.

For Move in fixes, try to set a realistic time line for repairs with the tenant, and prioritize the most important things first. The little stuff sometimes just goes away. As a landlord, once a tenant has moved in and is settled, I do not replace consumables like light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, garage remote batteries, or HVAC vent screens but I will make sure the tenant has a fresh set when they move in.

Tenants will often ask for permission to paint the rental the color of their choosing. If you give the tenant permission to paint the unit a new color that is not a neutral such as off white- it may make the unit more difficult to re-rent when the tenant moves out.  Be sure to clarify with the tenant, if you give them permission to paint the unit, who is responsible for painting the unit back to a neutral color at move out.

Another point with move in is changing the locks. Most landlords I know don’t change the locks between tenants. It is not required. I personally have no problem if the tenants want to change the locks- all that I ask is that they notify me and provide me with a copy of the new key. 

MOVE OUT

The move out process begins with the appropriate notice. Some properties in Los Angeles have rent control. Rent control properties have their own move out rules. Evictions too.

*Helpful Post from DCA on Moving out http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/moving-out.shtml#notices

For regular situations of serving notice to end a month to month tenancy, or moving out at the end of the lease- the landlord must give the tenant a 30 day notice if the tenant has lived in the property less than 1 year, or a 60 day notice if the tenant has been living in the property more than a year. Tenants on the other hand, are only required to give landlords a 30 day notice. Ca Civil Code 1946.1

I recommend for both Landlords and tenants to do a move out inspection 3-14 days prior to the move out date. The Landlord will be able to assess the condition of the unit, and if there are anything they plan to deduct- it gives the tenant the opportunity to remedy the situation themselves first.  Once again, take pictures to document the condition of the way the property was left. If you leave the property in the same condition as you got it, you should expect your entire security deposit back. Lock the property up and return the keys and provide the landlord with your new mailing address, so they can mail you your security deposit check. 

*Helpful Post from DCA on Security Deposit Refunds http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/sec-deposit.shtml

Tenant’s have been waiting a long time and been looking forward to get their security deposit back- in my experience they expect the entire security deposit returned, so if you know you will be deducting something be very clear. By law, landlords have 21 days to return the security deposit after move out. There is nothing that says the landlord can’t return it sooner.  If the landlord deducts any expenses from the security deposit they must give an accounting of those expenses. A landlord may only deduct from a security deposit for the following reasons:

Legal Reasons For Security Deposit Deduction:

  1. Unpaid Rent
  2. Repairs beyond normal wear and tear
  3. Cleaning (includes disposal of trash) 

What is Normal Wear and Tear?

There is no set definition for normal wear and tear since it can be interpreted so broadly. This can be frustrating. The main idea, is that- as things age and are used, they wear out. Even with the most careful use, wear is inevitable. Therefore, normal wear and tear is the reasonable amount of wear to be expected for the time of use. Keep in mind, that if something was already quite old before you moved in, that should be factored in. For understanding wear and tear- I like to think about tires on a car. If you obey all the rules of the road, new tires should last 50,000 miles or 3-4 years. However, if you are racing and squealing out your tires all the time, those tires may only last one year. 

Let consider some real estate examples. First Paint: Let’s suppose you lived in an apartment for two years and at the end of the lease when you moved out, there were some scuffs and scratches on the walls from foot traffic and bumping furniture. If all that is required is a little touch up painting, this would be ordinary wear and tear. Let’s suppose instead, that this apartment was a no smoking rental, and you smoked inside your apartment anyways for two years straight. When you move out, that apartment has a strong cigarette odor, and the walls have yellowish smoke stains. This is beyond normal wear and tear. Or, lets suppose that you have kids, and the kids were allowed to draw all over the walls. Painting is going to be deducted from your security deposit. 

Lets consider a different example: Carpet. Let’s suppose you moved into your apartment and the carpets were already five years old. They had a few discolored areas and had some excess wear in high traffic areas around the hallways and doors. Three years later you move out, but before you move you have the carpets professionally cleaned. The landlord may not charge you for brand new carpets. It may be true that the carpets do need to be replaced (carpet lasts 8-10 years on average) but that is because of their age, and not because of misuse. No matter how many times a carpet cleaner goes over a patch of old carpet, it is still going to be old carpet. Carpet cleaning isn’t magical and make carpet new again. When it is time to replace the carpet, it is time. 

Let’s suppose instead that the carpet was 3 years old, and you stayed there for 2 years. When you moved in the carpet was in pretty good condition. While you were living in the apartment your children decided to rollerblade inside the house on the carpets when you were not home, and they torn and ripped the carpet in a several different areas. Then you spilled some wine on the carpet and never cleaned it up. Then you carelessly dropped a hot iron from the ironing board and it melted a portion of the carpet. Then a pet urinated on the carpet. That poor carpet. This has gone way beyond normal wear and tear. When you move out expect money from the security deposit to be deducted for replacing the carpet. However, you should not be responsible for replacing the entire carpet with new carpet, as it is 5 years old now. Let’s say that replacing the carpets costs $3,000 – well since it was 5 years old that should be prorated to half, and you should expect about $1,500 to be deducted from your security deposit. 

 You are going to have to use some common sense and judgement to figure out what is normal wear versus something extraordinary. 

DISPUTES

There are two disputes than can arise with security deposits: the landlord has suffered damage in excess of the security deposit from the tenant and seeks the difference (much more common with commercial leases), or the tenant feels that the landlord has made unlawful deductions to their security deposit and wants money returned (much more common with residential leases).

In most cases, for residential leases, the security deposit is less than $10,000. For civil disputes of $10,000 or less for an individual or $5,000 or less for an LLC, those cases go to small claims court. You may want to go to small claims court anyway even if the security deposit is larger than $10,000, because there are no lawyers in small claims court, which greatly reduces legal fees, and it’s a lot faster to get a trail date and the process is simpler. 

FAQ

Q: What happens to my security deposit once I give it to my landlord?

A: The answer is- you don’t want to know. Most mom and pop landlords spend it, lose track of it, and forget about it, until they get a 30-day notice from the tenant, and then they have to scramble to come up with it before the tenant moves out. If you have had a bad experience with a landlord unfairly withholding your security deposit in the past, I recommend asking the landlord before you rent, how often they keep security deposits from their tenants. Most professionally managed apartments handle security deposits very fairly. 

Q: What happens if the property is sold?

A: What usually happens is the current owner transfers the security deposits to the new owner at time of sale. The new owner would then be responsible for returning the security deposit to the tenants when they move out. Sometimes when a new owner takes over, they ask for increased security deposits (and increased rents too!). 

Q: I don’t know the new mailing address of my tenant who moved out- where do I send the security deposit accounting?

A: All you are required to do as a landlord is mail the accounting to the tenant’s last known address. If the tenant left and did not inform you of their new mailing address then you should mail the accounting to the leased property’s address. Most tenants have the post office forward mail to their new mailing address by filling out a change of address form after they move. If the accounting letter comes back to you marked “undeliverable”, keep it in your records as proof that you attempted to send an accounting. I would try contacting the tenant first by calling or emailing them (if you are on friendly terms) to find out their new mailing address before sending it to their old one.

Q: I have never done an accounting of the tenants security deposit before is there a special form or way to do it?

The burden of proof is on the landlord if there is ever a dispute. So you need to prove if you do deduct something from the security deposit that it was warranted. There are no special forms, I have seen landlords just type something up on a word document on their computer or write a letter by hand. There are some important information that should be on the accounting- 1) Date 2) Property Address 3) Tenant Name 4) the amount of the security deposit 5) any deductions. Deductions should have the amount and a description. 6) Balance of Security Deposit. If you have estimates or bids, for work done or to be done for the deductions those are good to include also. 

Q: I just bought a building and the rental units have low/no security deposits- how do I collect more security deposits?

A: While tenants are on a lease you cannot collect an additional security deposit, however, after the lease term is over, or if the leases are month to month, then you can request an increased security deposit by having the tenant sign a new 1 year lease. 

Q: I have two tenants who are roommates, and one of the tenants is moving out. Do I as landlord need to return half of the security deposit to tenant moving out?

A: No, in a roommate situation, both tenants are responsible jointly and severally- which basically means even though they are each 1/2 of the lease, they are both responsible for all of it. So when one roommate moves out, you should tell that roommate to settle any security deposit issues with their other roommate, because the lease is still continuing if either one of them stays. 

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