According to the latest survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, a significant majority of voters (55%) express support for a proposition to broaden the jurisdiction of local governments, granting them increased powers to implement rent control measures on residential properties.
The findings illuminate a growing sentiment among voters in favor of addressing housing-related issues through expanded governmental authority, setting the stage for potential shifts in rent control policies.
It is critical that investors and property owners stay abreast of the ever-changing real estate landscape. There’s plenty of money to be made in California real estate, but you need to stay on top these rules!
Check out these insights from Dennis P Block from his Q&A with the California Apartment Association.
E N J O Y ! ! !
I have a tenant who recently died while inside the apartment unit. This tenant had a live-in caretaker. In the last few months this caretaker would be the one who would tender a money order to pay for the rent. Now that the tenancy has terminated, the caretaker is refusing to vacate. She states that since she was paying the rent, she has now established a tenancy and I would need good cause to evict. My property is in the city of Los Angeles. Do I have the right to bring forth an eviction?
Answer: You certainly can initiate an eviction action. The tenancy terminated once your tenant died. The fact that the caretaker was paying the rent does not establish a tenancy, as she was merely acting as an agent for your tenant. In this situation, a 3-Day Notice to Quit would be served and an unlawful detainer action could thereafter be filed.
QUESTION #2: My tenant just brought in a dog into the unit and presented me with a letter from a local doctor that this is an emotional support animal. While my lease prohibits pets, I do understand that I must allow my tenant to have a dog, based on his disability. Here is my problem. The dog has been here only 1 week and continually howls when my tenant goes to work. I have received 6 complaints from the other residents in this short period of time. I am afraid I might lose some tenants if this continues. Any suggestions?
Answer: Under the California and Federal Disability Act, a landlord must allow for a reasonable accommodation where an individual requires an emotional support animal. The issue is whether this would constitute a reasonable accommodation. Based on the complaints that you have received, I do not believe that this would be a reasonable accommodation. You should write your tenant a warning letter that this situation cannot continue. Either your tenant will have to control his dog or replace it with a different dog.
QUESTION #3: My apartment building is located in the city of Los Angeles. It was built in 2015 and I understand that I am not subject to any rent control. I recently served a rent increase notice to my tenant. I raised his rent 25%. He has now sent me a letter stating that he intends to move, because of this increase. He is demanding $10,075 as relocation fees. He claims the city of Los Angeles requires me to pay him this amount, as I am displacing him from his 3-bedroom apartment. Is this true?
Answer: Your tenant is correct. Under the city’s new ordinance, a tenant who receives a rent increase, in excess of 10%, may elect to move and demand relocation based on the City’s Economic Displacement Relocation chart. This ordinance is clearly illegal, based on the fact that it contradicts the State’s Costa Hawkins law. There is currently a lawsuit filed against the city, which seeks to overthrow this ridiculous and illegal requirements to pay this relocation fee.
QUESTION #4: I leased my condominium to a very nice couple. Soon after they moved in, a flood occurred which came from an upstairs unit. The homeowner’s association has been dragging their feet to get the repairs completed. My tenants are complaining that the repairs have taken too long to complete. I feel bad for them, but my hands are tied. Any suggestions on what I should do?
Answer: A landlord has an obligation to make necessary repairs in a reasonable period of time. The fact that the homeowner’s association is not acting responsibly, does not absolve you from liability. You should make a demand to the association that if the job is not immediately done, that you will have your contractor commence the repairs and hold them liable. In addition, I would offer your tenants a reduction in rent for the time that the unit was not fully habitable.
QUESTION #5: I have a husband and wife that have lived in my unit for the past six years. Recently they have not been getting along and the husband has moved out. He is now demanding that he be removed from the lease as he is no longer occupying the unit. Am I required to remove him from the lease agreement? The wife is also telling me that he should be removed.
Answer: There is no legal obligation to remove the husband from the lease. A “partnership” leased the unit, and the “partnership” will be responsible until the unit becomes entirely vacated. Assuming the wife is not financially able to pay the rent, the husband would still be legally responsible.
QUESTION #6: My tenant has not paid rent for over three months. My manager informs me that she has not been at the unit for this length of time. I checked the unit, and it appears that most of her items have been removed, though there is still a bed left in the apartment. Am I required to go through an eviction process, or can I simply just change the locks? I have received no notice from my tenant as to her intentions.
Answer: Based on these facts, I do not believe that you are required to file a formal eviction. In any event, you cannot just change the locks. You would need to go through an abandonment procedure. Under the law, if a landlord has a reasonable belief that the premises have been abandoned and rent is owed for 14 consecutive days, an abandonment notice is required to be sent to the tenant’s unit. The letter explains that the unit will be deemed abandoned in 18 days unless the tenant declares that he/she has not abandoned the premises and an address where the tenant can be served legal process by certified mail. If no letter is received from the tenant, the locks can be legally changed after the 18- day period expires.
QUESTION #7: I have an 8-unit apartment building in the city of Los Angeles under RSO and a 16 unit building in Lynwood. Each of the buildings have not been renovated in over 25 years. I am constantly having to make repairs on a daily basis. Am I allowed to ask the tenants to move, so that I might do a major renovation on both buildings? If so, am I required to give relocation and what type of notice must be served?
Answer: In the city of Los Angeles, that is not a permissible reason to terminate a tenancy. I guess the city would rather have buildings slowly deteriorate. That is not the case in Lynwood. You would be able to terminate the tenancies on the basis that you intend to perform major renovation. Major renovation is defined as work taking longer than 30 days to complete, for each unit, and work that requires obtaining a building permit. A 60-day notice is required.
QUESTION #8: My units are all located in the city of Los Angeles. Magically, when the city declared that the “State of Emergency” was over, my tenants all started paying their rent. I want to know if I can commence an eviction based on the rent that was owed in the past. I know for a fact that these tenants were just “gaming” the system. I am truly fed up with these lying tenants and the despicable city officials that allowed my rent to be stolen.
Answer: I truly know how you feel. Many clients, in your situation, would express how these tenants would purchase a new car and yet not pay their rent. Under the city rules, rent owed from March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021 was due on August 1, 2023. Rent owed from October 1, 2021, through January 31, 2023 will be due on February 1, 2024. A landlord may bring forth an unlawful detainer action for the rent owed during this first rental period. It is required to serve a 15-day notice to pay rent or quit for any rent owed from March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. There is an exception, however. If the tenant served a Declaration of Financial Hardship due to Covid, then the month that the declaration was received would be exempt. You would only be able to bring forth a civil lawsuit for those months where a declaration was received. In most situations, these declarations were not served. Our firm has already brought many actions based on this rental period.
Dennis Block, of Dennis P. Block & Associates can be reached by visiting www.evict123.com.
Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dennisblock or text him at 818-570-1557.
“Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.
To Your Freedom,
Chad and The CSQ Properties Team