Many times, a tenant will have an issue with a specific repair person and demand that the landlord use another person. Be advised that it is the sole discretion of the landlord as to who will accomplish the repair. Unless an incident of improper conduct occurred, the landlord should not allow a tenant to micromanage the operations of the premises.
It should be noted that the Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088) generally relates to rental issues. If a tenant is violating other terms of the rental agreement, those actions can be addressed at this time. For example, if a person is occupying the premises in violation of the rental agreement, a “Notice to Perform or Quit” should be served. If the unauthorized does not vacate within the 3- day period, an eviction action may be brought. Under AB 3088, an additional 3-Day Notice to Quit must be served before an action can be filed.
(Please note: At the time of writing this column AB 3088 is set to expire on February 1, 2021 as to this aspect. You should check with an attorney to determine if an additional 3-Day Notice to Quit is required.)
My Tenant Has COVID-19
There is no requirement on the part of a tenant to divulge to the landlord that he has contracted the virus. On a similar issue, there is no requirement on the part of the landlord to inform the other residents that a particular tenant has the coronavirus. In this situation, I would distribute to all tenants the factsheet as published by the Center of Disease Control. You should not identify the specific tenant.
Service of a 15-Day Notice to Pay Rent
If a residential tenant owes rent for a period between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021, the law requires that a 15 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit be served. The tenant will have 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, to comply with the notice. To comply with the notice, the tenant must either pay the rent in full or sign the declaration which you were required to include with the service of the notice. The declaration requires the tenant, under the penalty of perjury, to declare that the failure to pay rent was due to the pandemic. If tenant returns the declaration within the 15-day period, the tenant will owe 25% of the rent for the period of September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. This payment will be owed as of January 31, 2021. If payment is not received by this date, an unlawful detainer action can be immediately brought.
Time to Repair
Many times, I get asked as to how much time is afforded a landlord to make a repair. The general answer is that the repair should be made in a reasonable time period, based on the type of repair. For example, if a toilet is clogged, a plumber should immediately be called even if it the weekend. Other repairs, such as a loss of electricity or a heating or gas issue should also be accomplished immediately. Clearly, if the repairmen cannot be reached, or if a part is unavailable, then additional time would be allotted. As a general rule, since the repair will eventually have to be made, the landlord should take immediate steps to have the job completed in the shortest possible time.
Every building should have a “no smoking” policy. Too many lawsuits are brought against landlords whose tenants are complaining about smoke that is coming into their unit. You should check your lease to see if there is a “no smoking” provision. If one does not exist, you should serve a “change of terms of tenancy” to enforce a “no smoking” policy for the entire premises. It should be noted that a “change of terms of tenancy” can only be served on month-to-month tenant.
With an increased use of online purchases, many packages are just dropped off in the lobby area. This, of course, gives rise to incidents of theft. The landlord is under no legal obligation to protect against this occurrence or be responsible for the loss. If it appears that theft of these packages is occurring, a landlord would be wise in posting a warning sign or possibly installing a surveillance camera.
Dennis Block, of Dennis P. Block & Associates can be reached for information on landlord/tenant law or evictions at any of the following offices: Los Angeles: 323.938.2868, Encino: 818.986.3147, Inglewood: 310.673.2996, Long Beach: 310.434.5000, Ventura: 805.653.7264, Pasadena: 626.798.1014, Orange: 714.634.8232, San Diego: 619.481.5423 or 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”.