NEW PURCHASE: If you purchased a building with existing tenants, you cannot demand rent unless you first serve your tenants with a written notice stating the following items:
- The name, address and telephone number of a person who is authorized to manage the premises.
- The name, address and telephone number of a person who is authorized to receive all notices and demands.
- Disclosed the name, address and telephone number of the person or entity whom can accept rent payments. If payment is to be made personally, then the usual days and hours that the person will be available to receive payments. It is also acceptable to have the money paid to a banking institution. You must disclose the name of the financial institution and the account number.
Failure to comply with this could result in a loss of your eviction action. Civil Code Section 1961.
MARIJUANA: Even though recreational marijuana is now legal in the State of California, nothing prevents an owner from establishing a “smoke free” building. It is recommended that all rental agreements contain a “no smoking” clause. If your rental agreement does not contain a provision regarding smoking, you may serve a Change of Terms of Tenancy Notice on all tenants who are currently on a month to month tenancy.
SECTION 8: It is not discriminatory for landlords to refuse to accept a Section 8 tenant. Section 8 is a Federal rent subsidy program. The Federal Government, through a local municipality or a county agency, will assist the tenants by paying a portion of the rent. A tenant may apply for a unit and present a voucher indicating that she or he is approved to be on the program. A landlord will have the option to accept this applicant upon further tenant screening. While many landlords find this to be a good business model, other landlords report negative issues. These include failure to obtain rent increases, undue and overly broad property inspections and excessive paperwork.
BROKEN LEASE: If your tenant vacates a unit during the term of the lease agreement, the tenant is still responsible for rent for the remaining lease term. The law imposes an obligation on the landlord to use his or her best effort to lease the premises during this time period. If the landlord attempts to lease the premises at a higher rate, then the tenant is absolved from further liability. If the premises cannot be leased for the current rental amount and a lesser amount is accepted, then the original tenant would be responsible for the difference.
BREACH OF LEASE: If you are evicting a tenant for a breach of the lease, other than rent, you cannot take rent during the course of the lawsuit. Many landlords believe that since the action is not based on non-payment of rent, then rent can be accepted. Acceptance of the rent during the course of the lawsuit will be considered, by most courts, as a revocation of the notice that was served and your case will be lost. If rent is received in the mail or dropped off, return it to your tenant. If your tenant makes a deposit into your bank account, send your tenant your check with a letter explaining that the deposit was unauthorized.
SAN DIEGO RENT CONTROL: San Diego might not be immune from rent control. A matter could be on the November, 2018 California ballot which will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act. The repeal of this act will allow municipalities, such as San Diego, to institute rent control. I will be speaking at the AOA Million Dollar Trade Show at the Long Beach Convention Center at 9:00 AM on May 15, 2018. This will be one of the most important topics of the decade! “The Disaster of Rent Control is Coming – What You Can Do to Protect Yourself”.
Dennis Block, of the Law Firm of Dennis P. Block & Associates, can be reached for information on landlord-tenant law or evictions. Mr. Block offers free telephone consultations and has 20 associates. His toll