Excessive Complaints Can Be a Nuisance
We all have experienced tenants that are hypersensitive. They will complain on almost any issue. While a tenant certainly has the right to express displeasure, these actions may rise to the level of a nuisance. For example, a tenant cannot retaliate against another resident based on perceived excess noise. If a tenant is bothered by the noise of another resident, the proper procedure is to inform management. One tenant should not confront another tenant. In some instances, tenants have banged on the walls and the doors of the other resident. This is not proper behavior and can be grounds to evict. Management should investigate these incidents to determine if the noise is excessive. If it is normal, a letter should be sent to the complaining tenant that in a multi-family building certain noise must be expected and that any retaliation will not be tolerated.
Hoarding is a Serious Issue
Excess clutter in a unit should never be accepted. Management may experience tenants who are respectful and pay their rent on time. Yet the condition of their unit is deplorable. Tenants who are hoarders tend to collect everything. Furniture, boxes, newspapers, clothing and spare parts will be strewn about the unit. In many cases, there will be only a small path upon which the tenant can traverse around the unit. Management should not adopt a “live and let live” policy. Hoarding is a safety issue which can affect the entire building. It is much easier for fires to start and great difficulty exists in quickly putting out these fires. Exit escapes, such as the windows and doors, tend to be blocked which can cause loss of life. In addition, these apartments attract pests which can cause an infestation throughout the building. When a hoarder situation exists, send a warning letter to the tenant with a specific date when the apartment should be returned to a neat and sanitary condition. If the tenant ignores this letter, which usually occurs, you should commence a formal eviction.
Counting Days for a Three Day Notice
The current law states that Saturday, Sunday and judicial holidays can be counted within the notice period. The only exception is that those days cannot be the THIRD day. For example, if a notice is served on a Friday, then Day 1 is Saturday, Day 2 is Sunday and Day 3 is Monday. The tenant will have through Monday to pay then amount in the 3 Day Notice. Unfortunately, the law is changing as of September 1, 2019. Under Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1161 and 1167, Saturday, Sunday and judicial holidays cannot be counted within the 3-day period. Based on this change, the tenant would have through Wednesday to pay the rent.
Rent Increase Notices
Under California law if you are raising rent in excess of 10%, a 60 day rent increase notice must be served. This law is based on a one-year period. Therefore, if you raise the rent by 6%, you would be required to serve only a 30-day rent increase notice. If, within a one year period, you raise the rent an additional 6 %, a 60 day notice would be required for this second increase.
Abandoned Personal Property
Landlords are prevented from just disposing of a tenant’s belongings after the premises have been vacated. You must send the tenant an abandonment notice regarding their personal property. This form can be obtained from the AOA. The tenant will have 18 days from the mailing of the notice to retrieve their belongings. If no claim is made, the landlord is allowed to dispose of these items in any manner. There is an exception. If the total value of the items is $700 or greater, the landlord is required to hold a public auction. Notice of the auction must be published in a newspaper. The proceeds of the auction can be used to reimburse the landlord for the cost of the auction and for storage charges. If there any surplus funds, they need to be returned to the tenant.
Landlords Forced to Accept Section 8 Tenants in San Diego
Many landlords choose not to accept Section 8 tenants due to a variety of reasons. These include excess paperwork and inspections, failure to allow rent increases and difficulty in contacting Section 8 advisors.
In a recent ordinance, the San Diego City Council barred landlords from exercising their lawful right to choose how they operate their business. Under the law, they cannot just decline Section 8 applicants. If they are credit worthy, Section 8 applicants must be accepted. This is just another intrusion into the rights of property owners.
Proposition 10 Defeated But the Fight Continues
All landlords should cheer about the defeat of Proposition 10. Unfortunately, most landlords believe that they are now immune from rent control. This is not the case. The Costa-Hawkins Act prevented municipalities from instituting rent control for all units built after February, 1995. It did not prevent the initiation of rent control for units built prior to that date. Tenant advocacy groups are still marching on municipalities to institute rent control for older units. This has already occurred in Glendale and unincorporated areas of Los AngelesCounty. Expect the march on City Hall inSan Diego to continue. Be prepared to voice your opposition. Landlords know they can win, but only if they are united.
Landlords Forced to Take Third Party Checks
I have always advised my clients never to take a rent check from a third party. Rent checks should be drawn only by your tenants. A new law has changed everything. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, Civil Code Section 1947.3 (a) (3) (A) states as follows:
A landlord or landlord’s agent is not required to accept the rent payment tendered by a third party unless the third party has provided to the landlord or landlord’s agent a signed acknowledgment stating that they are not currently a tenant of the premises for which the rent payment is being made and that acceptance of the rent payment does not create a new tenancy with the third party.
Based on this statute, landlords must accept third party payments if there is a signed acknowledgment as described above.
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”.