Selling Your Apartment Building

Assuming your building is subject to Statewide Rent Control-AB1482, you cannot ask your tenants to vacate on the basis that you are selling the premises. That is not a ground to evict under the statute. You would need to sell the premises as a tenant occupied property. The new buyer could evict on the basis that units are required as a personal residence or for close family members. The notice could only be served once the property has been sold. The new owner could also elect to evict on the basis that major renovation will be accomplished. This reason can only be instituted once the eviction moratorium has been lifted, which is currently July 1, 2021. In either case, relocation equal to one month’s rent would need to be paid for each unit.  

Raising Rent

Landlords are not prohibited from raising rent, even during these pandemic times. If your property is not subject to any rent control statute, you may raise your rent to any level. If you are intending to raise rent in excess of 10%, you would need to serve a 90 day notice to increase the rent. If the rent increase is 10% or less a 30-day notice would be required. If your property is subject to Statewide Rent Control- AB 1418, you may increase the rent at this time 5% plus the CPI as computed in the month of April, 2021.

Unauthorized Tenants

A violation of terms of the rental agreement will allow for a landlord to bring forth an eviction. The prohibition on evictions due to the pandemic only applies to failure to pay the rent. Therefore, if your tenant is violating a term of the lease agreement, an eviction can be brought at this time. In many instances, tenants bring in additional occupants. This creates additional cost for the landlord with utilities and added wear and tear to the unit. If your tenant has brought in additional persons, a Notice to Perform or Quit may be served. If the tenant does not remove these additional occupants within the three days, an action can be filed. Under state law, an additional 3 Day Notice to Quit would need to be served before an unlawful detainer can be filed.

Access  

Civil Code Section 1954 allows the landlord to access a dwelling for a specific purpose. These reasons include:

  • In case of emergency.
  • To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors to make an inspection.
  • When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
  • Pursuant to court order.

A notice to access the dwelling must be served at least 24 hours in advance stating the date, time and reason for entering.  However, during these pandemic times, the right to enter the dwelling has been suspended in most instances. A tenant does have the right to deny access on the basis of issues relating to the pandemic, barring an emergency.

Commercial Tenants

Be advised that the Tenant Relief Act, AB 3088 and SB 91, does not apply to commercial tenancies. Unless there is a local jurisdiction which is affording protection, landlords are able to bring forth evictions based on non-payment of rent. A notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy may also be served. In addition, regardless of any local jurisdiction, landlords are free to serve rent increases on their commercial tenants that are on a month-to-month tenancy.  

Gaming the System

I have heard from thousands of clients of the abuse by tenants in using COVID-19 protections to avoid their contractual responsibilities. Our elected officials and judges clearly know that these statutes have been bastardized. I hear case after case of tenants who are working and are just “gaming” the system.  Landlords are now facing a loss of rent up to 16 months, with little hope that these rents will be repaid. This State has created an all-out war against income property owners with no help in sight. My belief is that over 85% of tenants failing to pay rent is not related to the pandemic.

 

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”.