Question One:  I have an apartment in the city of Garden Grove. I have two co-tenants who occupy the unit under one rental agreement. One of the tenants has failed to pay his share of the rent. Is it possible to evict that tenant only?

Answer One:  When you have co-tenants, their relationship is tantamount to a partnership. If the partnership has not fully paid the rent, you need to commence an eviction against all parties. You cannot file against just one tenant. As a practical matter, even if you did evict this one tenant, nothing would prevent the remaining tenant from inviting this person to continue to occupy the premises.

Question Two: My property is located in the City of Los Angeles. The building received a Certificate of Occupancy in 1988 and therefore is not subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). Is it permissible to raise the rent at this time?

Answer Two: There is no prohibition on raising rent in this situation. Your property is, however, subject to Statewide Rent Control (AB1482). This would limit your rent increase to 8.6%.

Question Three: I have a tenant in a condominium located in Calabasas. The Home Owners Association has scheduled a termite inspection. My tenant has a history of not cooperating with contractors who wish to enter the unit. She has just emailed me telling me that the time for the inspection does not work with her schedule. She is also questioning the scope of the inspection. I referred her to the pest control company. What can be done if she refuses access?

Answer Three: Assuming she is on a month-to-month tenancy, I would inform her that if she refuses access, you will be issuing a “Notice to Quit” to terminate the tenancy. If she is on a fixed-term lease, you could then issue a “Notice to Perform or Quit” and then initiate an eviction.

 

Question Four: I manage a commercial building in San Gabriel and want to terminate a month-to-month lease for one of the tenants. Is a 30-day notice required and is this permissible at this time due to COVID restrictions? Will a simple Thirty Day Notice to Quit suffice?

Answer Four: Based on the eviction moratorium for the County of Los Angeles, you will need to wait until Oct. 1, 2021, before issuing a 30-day notice to quit.

 

Question Five: My property is located in Simi Valley, CA. My tenants have stopped paying rent since March 2020. It has now been over 17 months without receiving payment. I have heard that the tenant must pay at least 25% of the rent owed by Sept. 30, 2021. If rent is not received, will I finally be able to proceed with an eviction?

Answer Five: A new California State law, AB 832, has been enacted which extends the Tenant Relief Act through September 2021. Under this extension, the tenant is required to pay 25% of the rent owed during the Transition Period. The Transition Period is rent owed from September 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021. You will need to serve a 15 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit for that period. If the tenant returns the signed declaration of “Financial Hardship”, the tenant is required to pay 25% of the rent by September 30, 2021. If the tenant fails to comply, landlords are now required to take an additional step before filing an eviction action. The landlord is required to apply for the Rent Relief program in which 100% of the rent will be paid through the State of California. If your rent petition is not approved within 20 days, you will then be able to proceed forward with an eviction action.

 

Question Six: My condominium is subject to the Los Angeles Rent Control Ordinance. I understand that no rent increases can be given to RSO property for one year. Does that mean I cannot increase the rent for this unit? My understanding is that you can always raise the rent on a condominium and townhouse under State law.

Answer Six: This is a question that is subject to debate. Under Costa Hawkins, Civil Code 1954.52 (a) (3) (A), landlords may raise rents on condominiums or townhouses without limitation. Under the City of Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium, rent increases are prohibited for RSO property. The matter will have to be decided in the courts. In my view, the state law would control and you should be able to raise rents at this time.

 

Question Seven: I have an apartment in the city of Anaheim. A tenant would like to have another person join the tenancy. Do I have the right to run a credit check? My tenant is stating that since she already qualifies, there is no need to run this credit check, as she clearly is able to pay the rent.

Answer Seven: You have the right to run a full credit check on anyone who intends to occupy your unit. You should also do an eviction and criminal background check. You may tell your tenant that you will not approve this additional occupant unless you are permitted to run this credit check.

 

Question Eight: I have a tenant that recently moved into my unit. The tenant clearly qualified and had a good-paying job. He paid the first month rent and a two-month security. In the second month, he is now claiming that he lost his job due to COVID and will not be paying further until he finds employment. This seems like a scam where he never intended to pay the rent after the initial move-in. I checked with his employer and I since learned that he was terminated due to COVID, but that was three months prior to moving into my unit. Am I now stuck with this liar?

Answer Eight: Please check your lease agreement. There usually is a provision which states that any misrepresentations on an application will be considered a non-curable breach of the lease agreement. If that is the case, you could serve a 3 Day Notice to Quit-Non-Curable Breach and then proceed with an immediate eviction. 

 

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”.