Acceptance of Partial Payments Via Bank Deposit (Residential Tenancy) 

There is no obligation to accept partial payments during the pendency of a 3-Day Notice or any time after the notice has expired. If you have it set up to where the tenant is to deposit funds into your bank account and the tenant deposits a partial payment pursuant to a 3-Day Notice, you may issue a personal check to your tenant after the funds clear and mail the check back to the tenant via USPS Certified Mail back to the tenant. You should include a note letting the tenant know that those funds represented an unauthorized deposit into your account. By returning those funds, you are permitted to resume the unlawful detainer action.  1

Frequency and Amount of Rent Increases Under AB 1482

AB 1482 permits a landlord to increase the rent every 12 months and at a rate of 5% plus CPI – Consumer Price Index (which is currently 2.9% for the Western Region). To illustrate as an example: If you had raised the rent on March 1, 2019 at a rate of 10%, you would have been well within your rights to do so as your rent increase would have taken effect prior to March 15, 2019 (cut off period pursuant to AB 1482). In this example, you would only be able to increase the rent again on March 1, 2020. If however, you raised the rent April 1, 2019, the law would apply retroactively back to March 15, 2019.  Therefore, if you had raised the rent 10%, the law says you would have to go back to whatever the rental rate was on March 15, 2019 and only raise the rent 5% plus the CPI. 

AB 1482 and Utilities

A landlord is not permitted to change the terms of the tenancy and increase the rent beyond 5% plus CPI under AB 1482 and have the tenant absorb the cost of utilities. At present time the law is silent on this issue so it may be taken up by the courts, if challenged. This would, in effect, be a rental increase beyond that which is permitted by the statute. 

Time Period for Repairs – What Is Reasonable? 

A landlord must act in good faith and within a reasonable period of time to make repairs when prompted by a tenant. The time period is evaluated on a case by case basis and sound judgment and common sense should be exercised. If it is winter time and the heater is out of commission, prompt attention is required. You must be able to show that you exercised due diligence to ensure that the process begun as soon as possible. Contrast this example with a heater that needs repair in the summer. The latter example is obviously one that requires attention but not with the same immediacy as the former example. Thirty days is usually a reasonable period of time. 

Partial Vacancies and Security Deposits

Where there are multiple occupants in the unit and one remains behind, the question is when is the security deposit accounted for? A landlord is not required to account for the security deposit until the unit is completely vacated. At that time, a landlord has 21 days to account for the security deposit and is able to deduct for any rent owed, unusual wear and tear, as well as cleaning fees. If any funds are owed to the collective tenants, you may divide it equally and give each of the tenants their return regardless of who paid/tendered what sum at the inception of the tenancy. 

Emotional Support Animal Limitations

As a landlord, you may place restrictions on the size of the dog, for example. In some cases, you may also limit the breed if the breed is known to have aggressive tendencies and also is not covered by your insurance. This is permissible under the Fair Housing laws as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act as it is still considered a “reasonable” accommodation under the laws. Please note that simply because a dog is accepted as an emotional support animal does not mean the owner of the animal is absolved with the adherence to other municipal ordinances. For example, the tenant/owner must still clean up after the dog and dispose of their excrement in a sanitary fashion. The tenant/owner must also adhere to leashing laws. If the dog barks excessively and creates a nuisance where other tenants complain, a landlord may still be able to evict for the nuisance. 

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”.