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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need property management or can I do it myself?

Simply put, you can manage it yourself. But you will need to know and do a number of things such as: how to prepare the property so it appeals to the best tenants, market it to those tenants, be available to show the property, acquire a legal application form, get a credit and criminal background report, learn how to use that report without violating the tenants privacy rights, prepare a lease agreement which protects you while not violating any landlord-tenant or discrimination laws, document the property’s condition at move-in, collect rent, take late night maintenance calls, properly prepare and serve notices, properly handle the pre-move-out inspection, the final-move-out inspection, and the deposit return notice. Furthermore, you will need to stay current on the ever changing landlord-tenant legislation.

What does my property need to be ready to rent?

Good tenants are looking for good properties. They will only apply if it is clean and in good repair inside and out. Typically a property needs fresh paint, a cleaning, and minor repairs. We will make suggestions, secure bids for you, oversee any work you approve, and inspect the final job. (To learn more see our information sheet “How To Find A Good Tenant – Best Practices.”)

Can I save money by using contractors who are unlicensed and uninsured?

Ponderosa can only use licensed and insured contractors, the law requires it, and we are audited each year to verify we are in compliance. Besides, any savings that might be gained by using unlicensed and uninsured contractors are more than offset by potentially unlimited risk. An unlicensed and uninsured contractor is actually an uninsured employee. Without Workers Compensation Insurance you could be responsible if they are injured and need lifelong support. (To learn more please see our information sheet “Contractors: Unlicensed and Uninsured.”)

What kind of properties does Ponderosa manage and where?

We have managed single-family residences, apartments, and commercial properties in Orange County since 1978.

Do I pay for your services while my property is vacant?

No, Ponderosa’s management fee is a percentage of the money we actually collect. We get paid when you get paid.

How does Ponderosa determine the amount of rent?

Our experienced leasing department performs a comparable market study, then provides you with data and a price recommendation. The final decision as to what rent you charge for your property is yours.

How does Ponderosa market my property?

Your property is marketed on our website and about twenty of the most trafficked websites such as Zillow, Trulia,, and Craigslist, to name a few. Signs are placed on the property (H.O.A. permitting), and we can place properties on the Multiple Listing Service when that is the appropriate venue.

How long will it take to get my property rented?

The length of time a unit sits vacant depends on a number of factors: some you control such as price, condition, and pet policy; and some you don’t control such as market demand, inventory, and location. Generally, a property that is priced correctly and in good condition will get leased in three to four weeks, though of course some take longer and some lease very quickly.

Can I choose what type of pets, if any, my tenant can have?

Strictly speaking yes, you can set whatever pet policy you like. However, there are two important considerations:
1. Most good tenants have pets, and a strict no-pet-policy will exclude those good tenants.
2. Assistance Animals, for persons with disabilities, are not pets and must be accommodated.
(To learn more see our information sheet “Assistance Animals: Best Practices.”)

How does Ponderosa screen tenants and how successful are you?

We look for tenants who are able and willing to pay their rent and who take care of their property.

  • An income of three or more times the monthly rent demonstrates they are able to pay their rent.
  • A credit score of 675 or higher and a good landlord reference demonstrates they are willing to pay their rent.
  • A history of taking care of their previous property demonstrates they take care of their property.

By following these criteria we have an eviction rate of significantly less than 1%

What happens if a tenant damages my property?

The tenant is responsible for, and is charged for, any damage beyond normal wear and tear. If they have vacated the property, the amount of the damage is deducted from their security deposit. If the security deposit is not enough to cover the damage, the tenant is invoiced for the balance. The amount of the security deposit is generally a little more than one months rent.

How does maintenance get handled?

Your tenant may report their maintenance needs either through their online portal or by calling our office directly. If our maintenance staff estimates the cost of the repair to be less than the authorization limit you provided, we will just take care of it. If the cost exceeds the authorization limit, our staff will contact you, explain the issue, and seek additional authorization.

Our maintenance staff carries an emergency phone for after-hour emergencies and is available 24-hours per day. In the event you cannot be reached for approval, the maintenance staff is authorized to spend whatever funds are necessary to protect the property and the tenant.

What is the expense authorization limit?

In order to operate more efficiently and to provide better service to the tenant, most owners authorize us to take care of problems under a certain dollar amount at our own discretion and without getting the owner involved. Most owners give us an authorization limit in the range of $300 to $500.

Does Ponderosa inspect the property periodically?

Yes. We perform an inspection of the front exterior of all single-family-homes each quarter and multi-family-homes each month. We also utilize the California mandated smoke detector inspection as an opportunity to do an annual interior inspection of each unit. Any maintenance needs discovered during these inspections are reported to our maintenance staff.

When do I get the rental income?

Our internal deadline for paying the owner is ten business days after the tenant’s rent is paid. By having your funds transferred to your account electronically, you can get paid more quickly and securely.

How can I get more information?

Contact us at 714-921-1622 or and we will be happy to speak with you, meet you in person, or even inspect the property with you and make recommendations. You can also get more information on our website at