Question One: I own property in Long Beach and recently gave a rent increase to all of my tenants. One tenant refuses to pay the increase and tendered a rent check for the original rental amount. What are my options?Answer One: Obviously, you have the right to raise your rent to any amount you choose. You can accept the check and issue a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit for the difference. You could also reject the check and issue a 3 Day Notice for the full amount of the current rent. Your last option would be to accept the check and issue a Notice to Quit to your tenant. No reason needs to be stated in the notice.

Question Two: Is it possible to change the terms of a month to month rental agreement in rent control with  a 30 day notice?  This is not regarding rent, but for something like updating the house rules or having pets?Answer Two: On a rent controlled unit you cannot change the terms of a tenancy to decrease services or to increase the rent beyond the allowable limit. You can change all other terms, but you cannot use that change as a ground to evict. For example, you cannot prohibit pets for existing tenants and then use that as a ground to evict. You can, however, change the terms of the tenancy to limit attorney fees in a legal action brought between the parties.

Question Three: I just closed escrow on a multifamily building. Are there any specific notifications that I must give to existing tenants?
Answer Three: Under Civil Code §1962, a landlord must provide the tenants a written notice with the following information:

  • Name, telephone number and address of the person or entity where rent payments are to be made;
  • The forms of payment accepted; and
  • The usual days and hours the person will be available to receive the payments if payments are to be made in person.

Landlords are also required to identify the name of the owner of the premises or a person who is authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the receipt of all notices and demands. Recently, in cases where owners have failed to provide this written notice, tenants’ attorneys have been using this as a defense to non-payment of rent evictions.

Question Four: My tenant had his car vandalized when it was parked on our property. He tells me that he will be deducting the cost of the repair from the rent. He also states that he will be installing security cameras on the roof to prevent future incidents. How should I handle this situation?
Answer Four: You would have no obligation to reimburse the tenant for the damage that occurred to the vehicle. With regard to the installation of the security cameras, that would be your decision. Most rental agreements do not allow for alterations of the premises, without the landlord’s written consent. If you believe this will be helpful, you could allow cameras to be installed.

Question Five: We have a tenant, who is on a month to month tenancy and moved into her apartment in July, 1993.  At the time, we used a lease agreement form from the 1970’s.  The lease agreement information is very old. How can we get them to sign a new lease?
Answer Five: Unfortunately, you cannot force a rent controlled tenant to sign a new rental agreement. If this is not under rent control, you can make a demand for your tenant to sign a new agreement. If they refuse, you would be able to ask them to vacate the premises. 

Question Six: I have some tenants whose cashier’s checks take up to two weeks to process.  My bank states that it is the tenant’s bank/credit union which is creating this delay. Would I be able to charge a late fee, even though they handed me a cashier’s check when rent was due?
Answer Six: Your tenant timely tendered payment and you would not be able to impose a late charge. It is possible that the tenant’s bank is not local and that is creating the delay. 

Question Seven: If I serve a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit and the tenant leaves within the three days, is the tenant still liable for the remaining portion of the lease?
Answer Seven: The law would still hold the tenant responsible for the remaining portion of the lease. This would be true even if a court issued a judgment declaring that the lease had been forfeited. Landlords are required, however, to use their best efforts to lease the premises to mitigate the loss to the tenant.

Question Eight: I have a tenant, who has on numerous occasions, been loud, yelling profanities, throwing things in her apartment and stomping on the floor. The police have been called out to talk to her, but this activity continues to occur. I have sent her warning notices outlining the lease violations and dates they have occurred. The lease expires March, 2017. Can I give her a 30 day notice to vacate the premises, or is it a 3 Day Notice to Quit. Thanks.
Answer Eight: You can serve a 3 Day Notice to Quit based on this nuisance. The notice must be crafted with specific details, including dates and witnesses.

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”.