Question One: I own a condo unit in Los Angeles. The condo building was built in 1970. I would like to lease my condo for 60 days, pursuant to a standard written lease. The lease will provide that the tenant must vacate after the lease expires. Since the property is under rent control, will my tenant legally have to vacate or will it just convert to a month to month tenancy?
Answer One: Your tenant would not have to vacate at the end of the lease term, due to the fact that good cause is required to terminate a lease pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. You do have an alternative method to accomplish your goal. While condominiums are subject to the ordinance if built prior to October 1, 1978, they are not subject to rent limitations pursuant to State law. You should draft your lease where the rent will substantially increase in the third month. In this way, the tenant will either have to pay the inflated rent or vacate the unit.
Question Two: My tenant constantly leaves personal property in the common areas. It is unsightly and could be a safety hazard. I have asked him to remove the belongings but he just refuses. Can I just throw them out? My property is under rent control.
Answer Two: I would not suggest just disposing of these items. Most rental agreements prohibit the storing of personal property in the common areas. You should issue your tenant a 3-Day Notice to Perform or Quit. If the tenant does not remove the items within the 3 day period, you could bring forth an eviction action. Another solution would be to inform the tenant that you will be putting these items in storage, at his expense, if the items are not moved immediately.
Question Three: I have a handicapped tenant who has asked me to install handrails in the shower. Am I obligated to do this?
Answer Three: Under the California and Federal Disability Act, you must allow for reasonable accommodations for disabled tenants. This requires that you give permission to the tenant to install handrails. The purchase and installation would be at the tenant’s cost.
Question Four: I have a judgment against one of my former tenants that is eight years owed. I recently saw this person working at a supermarket in the area. Is this judgment still valid?
Answer Four: Judgments are valid for 10 years and can be renewed for an additional ten years. You should apply to the court for a writ of execution for money and then send this document to the Sheriff’s office with a wage garnishment. Under the law you are entitled to 25% of this person’s wages.
Question Five: I want to install security cameras in my building. One tenant is telling me that I cannot do this unless the majority of the tenants in the building give consent. Is this true?
Answer Five: You tenant is clearly wrong. No permission is required to install security cameras in the common areas of the premises. The cost of these security cameras has dropped dramatically and I recommend all owners to have them installed.
Question Six: My tenant is suing me in small claims court. She left owing me two months’ rent. I prepared a security deposit itemization form but did not mail it to her within the 21 day period. Due to this fact, she has demanded that I return her complete deposit. When I refused, she filed this action. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer Six: Your tenant is correct that if you did not mail her the itemization within 21 days, she is entitled to the full return of her security deposit. This does not waive her obligation to pay you for the two months’ rents that were owed. You should immediately go to the small claims court and file a “Defendant’s Claim”. You will be suing her for the two months’ rent owed. The judge should award the tenant her security deposit, but at the same time award you an amount equal to two months’ rent. In this way, the judgments will cancel each other.
Question Seven: Is there any law which grants a tenant a grace period for the payment of rent? One tenant is claiming that they have three business days after the rent is due.
Answer Seven: There is no law requiring a grace period. Rent must be paid on the due date. A landlord may serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit the following day after rent is due. The only exception would be if the due date is a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday. If this is the case, the tenant’s due date is extended to the following day.
Question Eight: My lease agreement allows each tenant to have one parking space. One of my tenants, who does not own a car, has been allowing another person to park in her space and is collecting a monthly payment. Can I prevent her from doing this?
Answer Eight: Check your rental agreement. Most agreements limit the parking of a vehicle by the named tenant only. In this case, you would be justified in telling the tenant to cease subleasing the space. If she refuses, this would be grounds for 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 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”.