Question One: I have a tenant in a rent control property located in Los Angeles. This tenant is on a two-year lease agreement. After the first year, is it permissible to raise the rent 3%, pursuant to the rent ordinance?
Answer One: A lease agreement cannot be unilaterally changed during the term of the lease. You will not be able to raise the rent until the lease converts to a month to month tenancy.
Question Two: I leased my house to a family with small children. It was leased on a one year agreement. Without my permission, they installed a portable pool in the backyard. I am really afraid that an accident could happen and I would be held responsible. Can I prevent them from doing this?
Answer Two: If an accident occurs, you would not be held liable as you did not install the pool nor are you responsible for monitoring your tenant’s children. You should check the provisions of your lease agreement to see if the pool is permitted. If it is a free standing unit, this would not be considered an alteration to the premises.
Question Three: I am considering renting out a room in my house. Can I limit the applicant to being 55 years of age or older?
Answer Three: Discrimination does not exist in a case where you bring in one border to live with you. You can limit the applicant by sex, age, race or religion.
Question Four: One of my tenants has bed bugs. Who is responsible for the eradication of these pests? Obviously, there were no bed bugs when the unit was leased.
Answer Four: A landlord has an obligation to keep the unit free of pests and vermin. It would be your responsibility to arrange for a pest control service. This should be done quickly, as this problem can spread to other units in the complex.
Question Five: I want to move my son and his family into a duplex that I own. I live on the premises and another tenant lives in the unit that I wish to have my son occupy. The premises are located in Los Angeles and I realize that I will have to pay relocation to force this tenant to move. The tenant is claiming that I cannot force her out, even if relocation is paid, as she has lived in the unit in excess of 10 years and is over 62 years of age. Is this true?
Answer Five: The City of Los Angeles does allow for termination of a tenancy if the landlord wishes to have a close family member occupy the unit. The rules require that you choose a unit under the concept, “last in, first out”. You would be required to choose the last tenant who moved into the building. There is an exception that if a tenant is over 62 years of age and has lived in the unit in excess of 10 years, then that unit is exempt. In your situation, you would be prevented from having your son move into the unit. You may always negotiate with the tenant to pay a higher relocation fee, to encourage her to vacate.
Question Six: My rent is due on the first. When I did not receive my rent for July, I served a 3-day notice on July 3, 2017. When the tenant did not pay, I went to an attorney who informed me that the notice was defective as it was served prematurely. How could this be, as rent is payable on the first and I served the 3-day notice on July 3, 2017?
Answer Six: Your attorney is correct. July 1st was a Saturday. If rent is due on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday the tenant will have until the following day to pay the rent. Since July 1st was a Saturday, your tenant did not legally owe rent until July 3rd. The first day you could have served the notice was July 4th, which would be legal, even though that day is a legal holiday.
Question Seven: My building is located in South Gate. We intend to renovate one of the units that is currently occupied by a long term resident. Do I have to pay relocation to this senior citizen or do I just give a 60-day notice?
Answer Seven: South Gate does not have rent control and therefore no relocation would be required. You are free to serve this tenant with a 60 day notice to vacate. Be sure to use the form on the AOA website, as the required language in the notice changed a few years ago.
Question Eight: I have a tenant who is violating his rental agreement by having his brother stay with him. When I confronted him, he states that his brother is just visiting. If I start an eviction, I know he will just lie. How do I prove the extra person is really living there?
Answer Eight: This really is not a difficult problem. You would need to have a witness that can testify that the additional person is seen coming and going during the day and evening hours. If the additional person drives an automobile, you can keep a log and take pictures, which will clearly show the vehicle is parked overnight on a daily basis.
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 or Orange: 714.634.8232 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. Get the NEW App for iPhone or Android phones. Search for “EVICT123“. “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.