Laundry Leases

When you purchase a building, you are subject to all existing leases. Laundry leases entered into by the previous owner now become your lease upon purchase. Typically, leases like this should have been disclosed during the escrow process. Many laundry leases have very long terms and grant the laundry company additional option periods which automatically renew unless you take the steps to properly terminate them during the lease term. These leases have been upheld by the courts. Unfortunately, as the new owner you will have to honor the lease. Anyone considering dealing with a laundry company should negotiate the lease for the shortest term possible with no option to renew.

Judgments

A judgment is valid for 10 years and can be renewed for an additional 10 years. In order to collect on a judgment, you need to find assets. This can include current employment or bank accounts. In order to obtain this information, you would generally need to do an asset search. These can only be conducted by licensed collection agencies or an attorney. Once the information is obtained, you would need to have the court issue a Writ of Execution for Money. This would then be delivered to the appropriate Sheriff’s office with wage and/or bank levy instructions. It should be noted that our experience suggests that older judgments are easier to collect. When a tenant is evicted, it would indicate that the person is not gainfully employed or has sufficient funds in a bank account. Years later, it is more likely that the tenants have turned their financial situation around and collection becomes an easier proposition. 

Licensed General Contractors and Repairs

Generally, you do not need a licensed contractor to do repair work for your rental properties. Naturally, there are occasions where a permit is required, and the work must be performed by a licensed contractor. You may be faced with tenants who demand to know the qualifications of repairmen that perform work in their unit. Tenants sometimes deny access to the repairmen on this basis. Understand however that the tenant cannot legally make this demand and failure to provide access to the unit constitutes grounds for eviction.

Appliances

In many instances, tenants will vacate their unit leaving behind their stove and/or refrigerator. It is tempting for landlords to offer these items to the next tenant. Be advised that if you allow the new tenant to use these items, you will be charged with the responsibility of it repair and maintenance. To avoid this possibility, you might want to put a provision in your lease agreement that the stove or refrigerator was left as an accommodation and that the tenant is responsible for its maintenance and repair.

San Diego Landlords Forced to Accept Section 8

Effective August 1, 2019, landlords in the City of San Diego are forced to participate in the Section 8 Housing Voucher Choice Program, as well as other rental assistance programs. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on the applicant’s source of income. The ordinance defines the source of income to include “rental assistance from any federal, state, local, or nonprofit-administered benefit or subsidy program, or any financial aid from any rental assistance program, homeless assistance program, security deposit assistance program, or housing subsidy program, whether paid directly to the program participant, landlord or representative of either.”

Landlords must include the rent subsidy as income, in determining whether the applicant meets the rent-to-income ratio. Landlords are strictly prohibited from advertising that they do not participate in Section 8 or any other housing assistance program. Failure to comply with this ordinance may result in a lawsuit being filed as well as injunctive relief against the landlord. It should be noted that the source of income is not the only method that a landlord can use to evaluate an applicant. Other factors, such as their credit reports, can be used to deny an applicant.

Accessing Your Unit

Under Civil Code 1954 a landlord may access a unit when a tenant is in possession. The landlord is required to serve a written notice at least 24 hours prior to entering. This written notice must be handed to the tenant or may be placed on the tenant’s door. The notice must indicate the date, time and a proper reason why the landlord will be entering the unit.

Proper reasons include, 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 or to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1950.5. A landlord may also enter to check to see if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

It should be noted that no notice is required during an emergency situation, such as flood. Lastly, the tenant does not have to be in the unit for the inspection to take place. If the tenant is not present, a landlord may use the pass key to enter or hire the services of a locksmith.

Demand for Return of Security Deposit

Many times, landlords will lease a unit to more than one tenant in a roommate capacity. The issue concerns when one roommate issues a 30 day notice to vacate, and demands a proration of the security deposit to be return. Is the landlord obligated to make a partial refund? The answer is clearly NO! The tenancy should be viewed as a partnership. On that basis, unless the partnership vacates the unit, no accounting for the security deposit need be given. In addition, the tenant who is vacating is still responsible under the terms of the rental agreement.

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”.