Question One: My current renters were on an AOA lease for six months. It has now expired and they currently are on a month-to-month tenancy. On the 19th of the month, I was presented with a 30-day notice to vacate. They have indicated that on the 1st they will only be paying a proration of the rent for 19 days. This is a single-family residence and it will be very difficult to find a replacement mid-month. My question is whether a tenant can serve a notice to quit which expires in the middle of the month.
Answer One: If your renter is on a month-to-month tenancy, a notice to quit can be served on any day of the month. It will require that the rent be prorated for the following month.
Question Two: I am trying to sell a house in the city of Los Angeles which is tenant-occupied. She is on a month-to-month rental agreement. Am I allowed to show the unit with 24-hour notice? Also, when can I give a 60-day notice?
Answer Two: Under Civil Code 1954 a 24-hour written notice is required to access the dwelling in order to exhibit it to potential buyers. Unfortunately, during these pandemic times, a tenant would be justified in refusing access. This would not be considered a breach of the agreement. With regard to your second question, a 60-day notice to vacate can be served on your tenant as a single-family residence is not under rent control. Currently, the City of Los Angeles has a moratorium on “no-fault” evictions. You will need to wait for the Emergency State order to be withdrawn before issuing a notice to quit.
Question Three: I have a duplex in the City of Hermosa Beach. I would like to occupy one of the units. Am I permitted at this time to request that a tenant vacate, or will I have to wait for the pandemic to be declared over?
Answer Three: Under the Tenant Relief Act, AB 3088, a landlord Is permitted to terminate a month-to-month tenancy on the basis that the owner intends to occupy the unit as a primary residence. Under Statewide Rent Control, AB 1482, relocation would be required to be paid to the tenant. Relocation is equal to one month’s rent, which can be paid directly to the tenant or as a credit against future rent.
Question Four: I have a tenant who owes me over $20,000 in rent. Of course, he claims that he is affected by COVID-19. I have been told by other landlords that I should not apply for the Rent Relief Program. What are your thoughts on this matter and what are the requirements?
Answer Four: Under the newly enacted statute, SB 91, landlords and tenants are allowed to apply for rental assistance due to the pandemic. The website is: www.housingiskey.com
Under this statute, landlords can receive 80% of the rent owed for the period of April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. Landlords must be willing to forgive the remaining 20% of the rent and they cannot attempt to collect it or use this as the basis of an unlawful detainer action.
To qualify, tenants must make less than 80% of the median income for the county in which they reside. One person in the tenant’s household must have lost a job or income, due to the pandemic. They must also show a risk of homelessness, due to the failure to pay rent. Once the landlord applies for this relief, an invitation will be sent to the tenant. The tenant must jointly apply with the landlord. If the tenant does not apply, rent relief will not be given.
While this is just another governmental program likely to bankrupt our nation, my belief is that 85% of the rental debt will never be collected. Landlords are facing monumental losses due to our politicians deciding that the financial burdens facing tenants should be placed on the shoulders of landlords. With that in mind, if you can apply for this relief, I would definitely take advantage of the program.
Question Five: I recently purchased a seven-unit building in the city of Los Angeles, built in the 1960s. All the tenants have been there for over five years and are currently on a month-to-month agreement. When the L.A. moratorium is over, I want to issue RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing) so that the tenant will be responsible for their portion of the water. Since it’s month-to-month, will I be able to amend the agreement to include RUBS for water in the City of Los Angeles?
Answer Five: Your property is subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance for the City of Los Angeles. You cannot change the terms of the tenancy to decrease services. Since the tenants were afforded water as an amenity of the agreement, you are prohibited from changing that item. You can however, institute this for new tenants.
Question Six: I have a single-family residence in the City of Azusa. I recently built an ADU, (Accessory Dwelling Unit), in the rear of the property. Will that unit be subject to Statewide Rent Control, AB 1482?
Answer Six: Statewide Rent Control does not apply to units built within the last 15 years. That house would not be subject to any rent control. It should be noted that the front house could now be subject to the statute assuming the front house received a certificate of occupancy over 15 years ago. If you are contemplating constructing an ADU, be certain that the rent on the front house is increased to the current market value.
Question Seven: I have an apartment unit in Orange County. I have three tenants that share the unit. Only one is claiming an inability to pay due to COVID. I am currently receiving only 25% of the rent. What options do I have to collect the rent from the other two tenants?
Answer Seven: The statute does not make any accommodations for this fact situation. If any tenant claims a financial loss due to the pandemic, the landlord must accept 25% as full payment of rent. The remaining 75% of the rent is considered a civil debt and a civil suit can be brought on August 1, 2021. (Please note that at the time of the writing of this column, the Tenant Relief Act is to be terminated as of July 1, 2021. There has been some indication that this will again be extended.)
Question Eight: I own a condominium in Calabasas, California. I have not increased the rent in many years. I recently had unexpected repair costs and would like to know if there is any restriction in raising the rent.
Answer Eight: Condominiums, townhomes, and single-family residences are not subject to rent restrictions, even during these pandemic times. Rent may be raised to any level. If you are increasing rent in excess of 10%, you will need to serve a 90-day rent increase notice. If you are raising rent 10% or less, a 30-day notice is required.
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”.