Question One: My tenant issued a 30-day notice to vacate in the middle of the month. My rent is due on the first. On the first day of the following month, can I demand that the tenant pay a full month’s rent and then prorate the balance upon the day she vacates?
Answer One: On a month-to-month tenancy, a Notice to Vacate can be served on any calendar day. Upon the next due date, the tenant would only need to pay the prorated amount of the rent. There is no obligation to pay a full month’s rent.
Question Two: I have a tenant whose vehicle was vandalized in the garage area. He has now installed a video camera in this area. I have asked him to remove it but he refuses stating the fact that I will be responsible if there is any further damage to his car. Do I have to allow the camera and would I be responsible for further vandalism to his vehicle?
Answer Two: You would not be responsible for any damage and the surveillance camera can only be installed with your authorization. Acts of vandalism are not the responsibility of a landlord. In addition, pursuant to most rental agreements, alterations of the premises cannot occur without the written consent of the landlord. Clearly, this would be a violation of the agreement.
Question Three: I allowed my tenant to sublease to another person. I thought this would help my tenant in paying his rent. My tenant is now involved in a lawsuit with this person. The sublessee is now threatening to bring me into the lawsuit unless I acknowledge that I am his landlord and that he has an obligation to pay rent directly to me. I suspect that he is attempting to obtain governmental rental assistance. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer Three: You should not acknowledge something that is patently false. Many times, people threaten a lawsuit. You should not be concerned with these baseless threats. You certainly have not done anything improper by allowing your tenant to bring in a sublessee.
Question Four: I own a duplex in Long Beach. Both units are tenant occupied and I would like to relocate both of the tenants so that my adult son and I could live on the property. Since we are in a pandemic, when can I proceed to inform the tenants that they will have to vacate?
Answer Four: Assuming your property is over 15 years old, it would be subject to Statewide Rent Control (AB 1481) and the Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088). Under those statutes, an owner or a close family member may displace a tenant to occupy the property. If the tenants have lived in the unit in excess of one year, a 60-day notice to quit would be required. Relocation in the sum of one month’s rent would be owed to the tenants.
Question Five: I have mother and daughter tenants who have occupied my property for 20 years in Redondo Beach. Recently, they have started complaining of musty odors and mold on their clothes. Can I do a No-Fault eviction? I plan to replace damaged areas of flooring, walls, and ceiling. I also intend to replace tile and sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms. Love your service Mr. Block, don’t stop.
Answer Five: Thank you for your kind words. You should immediately schedule a professional mold company to inspect and to issue an inspection report. If any issues are found, they should be immediately remedied. You will be able to initiate renovation but you will need to delay your request until July 1, 2021.
Question Six: I have 4 units in the City of Los Angeles which are under rent control (RSO). One of the tenants texted me that he lost his job and will only pay 25% of the rent. I also found out today that he has changed his locks and installed his own deadbolt. Is this a ground for eviction and when does the balance of his rent need to be paid?
Answer Six: Under the eviction moratorium guidelines for the City of Los Angeles, once a tenant informs you of an inability to pay rent due to the pandemic, no rent needs be paid. The tenant will once again owe rent once the Emergency State is declared over. At that time, the following month’s rent will be owed. All rent owed up to that period will become due in one year. That issue does not excuse the tenant violating the terms of the rental agreement by installing his own lock. That would be a ground to evict, which could be commenced at this time.
Question Seven: What happens if I apply for the State governmental rental assistance and the tenant refuses to participate? I understand that I am entitled to 80% of the rent if I agree to waive 20%.
Answer Seven: Your tenant would be very foolish not to participate in this program. By participating, the tenant will not owe any rent for this period. By refusing to participate, the tenant will be responsible for all rent owed and a lawsuit can be initiated as of August 1, 2021.
Question Eight: I saw you on Fox11 News and on Inside Edition regarding a couple who purchased a house over one year ago, and has not been able to get the seller to vacate? How is this possible?
Answer Eight: This involved a couple, Tracie and Myles Albert, who purchased their dream house in January, 2020. The purchase price was $650,000. Once escrow closed, the seller refused to vacate. It should be noted that my firm is not handling this specific case. When the Albert’s attempted to evict, the eviction moratorium was initiated and eviction lawsuits could not be brought. Currently, the moratorium for this type of unlawful detainer has been lifted, but it appears that the case continues to be delayed. A trial date is currently pending for June, 2021.
In this year alone, my firm has handled over six of these types of cases where the seller refuses to vacate. If you are purchasing a home, it would be wise to inspect the house a few days prior to the close of escrow to establish that the seller is in the process of packing and does intend to vacate at the close of escrow.
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”.