This article was posted on Wednesday, Jan 01, 2020

Tenant Death in a Unit

California law requires that prospective tenant be informed where there has been a death in a unit. This disclosure must continue for a 3-year period. It is only where the actual death occurred in the unit. It also does not apply to other units on the property, only that unit where the resident died. There is one exception to this law. If the tenant dies due to complications from AIDS, then that does not have to be disclosed to applicants. 

 Demand to Remove a Tenant from the Lease Agreement

Oftentimes, roommates will get into an argument where one will vacate the premises. Usually in that situation the remaining tenant will ask that the departed tenant be removed from the lease agreement. The general advice to landlords is to avoid getting involved in this situation.  A landlord cannot just remove a tenant from a lease agreement.  This tenant would be required, in writing, to consent to this change.  In addition, if the tenant is removed, the landlord would have to account for the security deposit.  

Pet Deposits

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Landlords have the power to charge extra for pets. However, the way in which they can do so is regulated by California law. They cannot charge pet deposits and additional pet rent however they like. If you are required to pay extra money up front to have a pet in your rental unit, then this money is regulated the same way as your typical security deposit. California law does not dictate the minimum or maximum allowable pet deposit. However, it does regulate how much a security deposit can be. Under Section 1950.5(c), a security deposit for an unfurnished apartment can only equal up to two months’ rent. That means every part of the deposit, including the pet fee, cannot be more than two months’ worth of rent.

Purchase of House with Occupant (s)

Where a buyer purchases a single-family house with an occupant- be it the prior owner, friends of the prior owner or family members of the prior owner – the new owner may remove this lawful occupant in possession of the premises. The occupant is entitled to a 3 Day Notice to Quit pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 1161a (b)(4). If the occupant remains after the notice expires, an eviction action would be required. The occupant is not entitled to relocation assistance.

Accepting Third Party Rent Payments 

Residential landlords must accept rent payments from third party payors so long as the payor provides a signed acknowledgment with the understanding that they are not currently a tenant of the premises and that such acceptance of the rent payment does not create a new tenancy with the third party. This is pursuant to California Civil Code section 1947.3.

Tenant’s Right to Repair and Deduct

A landlord has an obligation to remedy a problem within a reasonable period of time.  If the landlord fails in their obligation, a tenant may use the repair and deduct remedy. This remedy allows a tenant to deduct up to one month’s rent to pay for repair of defects in the rental unit. The remedy may be applied only to serious conditions that affect the “implied warranty of habitability.” If the tenant has defects that are not severe enough to warrant the deduction of rent, it may result in the tenant receiving a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit for the improper deduction. 

AB 1482 – Substantial Renovations

Landlords who will be seriously impacted by this new ordinance should give serious consideration to terminating a tenancy based on substantial renovations. This remedy will allow you to terminate any tenancy by paying the tenant relocation assistance in the sum of one month’s rent. Substantial renovations are defined by the statute as follows: “The replacement or substantial modification of any structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system that requires a permit from a governmental agency, or the abatement of hazardous materials, including lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, that cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place and that requires the tenant to vacate the residential real property for at least 30 days. Cosmetic improvements alone, including painting, decorating, and minor repairs, or other work that can be performed safely without having the residential real property vacated, do not qualify as substantial rehabilitation.”

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 Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, or text him at (818) 570-1557.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at or download the app “EVICT123”.