Question One: My property is located in Hollywood. A tenant has moved out and we are preparing the security deposit itemization form. Is it sufficient to send it by text or is it required that I mail the document to the tenant?
Answer One: The law requires that a security deposit be prepared in writing. You cannot text the information to the tenant. The document should be mailed to the tenant within 21 days of the tenant vacating the unit. It is possible, however, that you could email the itemization to the tenant. In order for this to be legal, there would have to be a provision in the rental agreement that email is permitted for any notice regarding the tenancy.
Question Two: In an apartment in Costa Mesa, the tenant stated that there is a termite issue because her large mirror fell to the ground and broke. She is blaming it on termites in the building. I hired Lloyd Pest Control to inspect for termites. No termites were found. Now she is going to hire her own termite inspector. Am I responsible for paying for the tenant’s hired termite inspector? How do I put an end to this?
Answer Two: You certainly have no obligation to pay for an additional termite inspection. You should inform her immediately that this will be her responsibility. Clearly, she installed the mirror incorrectly and that was the cause for the mirror to fall.
Question Three: I understand that the Governor extended the eviction moratorium to September 30, 2021. What are the ramifications of this new legislation? Will this be the last extension? Finally, when can I move back to my house? My house is located in Santa Clarita.
Answer Three: Assembly Bill 832 has now extended the moratorium through September 30, 2021. Based on how the law is written, I am confident that this will be the last extension. All tenants will be required to pay rent for the month of October, 2021. If rent is not paid, you will be able to serve a standard three-day notice to pay rent or quit and proceed with an eviction.
As to rent owed prior to October, 2021, the tenant will be responsible for 25% of the rent for the period of September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. This is a total of 13 months. You will be able to bring forth an eviction for those rents, but you are required to first apply for rent assistance through a new State sponsored program which will afford landlords 100% of the rent, if the State’s criteria are met. At the time of the writing of this column, this new program has not been finalized.
As to the remaining rent owed, that amount is now considered a civil debt. The tenant will be required to pay this debt as of October 1, 2021. If this amount is not paid, a civil suit may be brought as of November 1, 2021. A lawsuit may also be brought in Small Claims Court. The jurisdictional limit of Small Claims Court will be increased so that you can recover all rent owed for this period.
Question Four: For Statewide Rent Control, what is the CPI for this year?
Answer Four: Under Statewide Rent Control you are entitled to a yearly increase in the sum of 5% plus the CPI as published in April of each year. For this year, the CPI for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino County is 3.6%. For San Diego the CPI is 4.1%.
Question Five: My property is located in the City of Los Angeles and is under RSO. When can I finally raise the rents on my tenants? It has been over one year since my tenants have had a rent increase. All of my other expenses have gone up dramatically.
Answer Five: For the City of Los Angeles, rent increases for RSO properties are controlled by the Housing Community Investment Department for the City of Los Angeles (HCIDLA). This department sets the yearly rent increase that landlords can give to their tenants. During this Emergency State, the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles has declared that there shall be no rent increases for one year after the Emergency State has been declared over. At this time, the Emergency State is still in effect. It will be up to the mayor to declare that this emergency period is over. Once declared over, rent increases can resume in one year.
Question Six: I have a single-family residence in Calabasas. I wish to list my property for sale as market conditions for sellers are at an all-time high. I have a tenant in possession who is currently on a month-to-month rental agreement. Am I allowed to serve this tenant with a 60-day notice to quit?
Answer Six: Your property is not subject to rent control and no reason need be stated in order to terminate this month-to-month tenancy. In addition, no relocation payment to the tenant is required. Under the Tenant Relief Act, you cannot terminate a tenancy and obtain a judgment for possession, prior to October 1, 2021. If you serve the Notice to Quit in August 2021, the tenancy will be properly terminated at the end of the 60-day period. If your tenant does not vacate, an unlawful detainer can be brought.
Question Seven: I just purchased a house at a foreclosure sale. The premises are located in the City of San Bernardino. The premises are occupied. I went over to the premises to introduce myself and the occupants were very hostile. They refused to identify themselves and ordered me off my own property. It is obvious that I will need to evict these people but I do not even know their names. What should I do?
Answer Seven: You are correct that based on the attitude of the residents, an eviction action will be required. If the persons occupying the premises are the previous owners of the property, a 3 Day Notice to Quit would be served, and thereafter an eviction would follow. If the occupants are tenants of the previous owner, a 90-day notice to quit would be required, and thereafter an unlawful detainer action could be brought. Many firms, such as our firm, can do a data check to determine the names of the current occupants. On this basis, an eviction process can commence without delay.
Question Eight: I have a single-family home in Los Angeles. I allowed the son of a close friend to occupy my garage. The garage had been converted to a living space without a permit. I told him that he could stay for a couple of months, without paying any rent. It has now been over 8 months and this person refuses to leave. To make matters worse, I just received an “Order to Comply” from the Department of Building and Safety, requiring that I remove this person and return the area to a garage. In addition, I received a letter from an attorney demanding that I pay relocation to this person in the sum of $25,000. This is insane! Mr. Block, please tell me what I can do. I live on a fixed income and do not have these funds.
Answer Eight: As the saying goes, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”. If you had accepted rent from this person, you would be required to pay him relocation under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance. In this situation, no relocation is required. This living arrangement would be considered a “Tenancy at Will”. You will be required to serve a 30-day notice to quit, under Civil Code Section 789. If the occupant refused to timely vacate, an unlawful detainer action can be immediately commenced.
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”.