Question One: My property insurance policy states that no Pit Bulls or German Shepherds may be maintained on the premises. The presence of those breeds would void or cancel my policy. Can I use this as a valid excuse not to accept those breeds, including service and emotional support animals?
Answer One: I recommend that all buildings have a stated “no pet” policy. The law requires that you grant a tenant a reasonable accommodation if they have a disability. This would therefore require landlords to accept service and emotional support animals. The issue is whether this constitutes a reasonable accommodation, if the presence of the animal would cause a cancellation of your insurance policy. I think, in this situation, it would not be viewed a reasonable accommodation and therefore you could limit those specific breeds.
Question Two: I was informed by a rent counselor for the City Los Angeles that you can ONLY SERVE the 3 Day Pay or Quit, Monday through Friday, during the hours of 9 am to 5 pm. On your website, it indicates it can be served on any calendar. Who is correct?
Answer Two: The City is giving out false information. A 3 day notice to pay rent or quit can be served on any calendar day, including Christmas Day! A 3 day notice, however, can only be served once rent is delinquent. Rent is delinquent the day after it is due, regardless of any grace periods in your lease. If the rental due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the tenant will have through the next day to pay the rent. In that case, the notice could only be served the following day.
Question Three: We have implemented a ‘No Smoking Building’ policy and prohibit smoking on the property. Is the sidewalk considered part of the property or can we prohibit all smoking within the four outside corners of the property, including the sidewalk? A tenant in the front upper unit is complaining about smoke from a tenant who is smoking on the sidewalk.
Answer Three: Your lease can have a provision that any smoke, which impacts the property, is prohibited. The fact that your tenant is smoking on the sidewalk is irrelevant, if the smoke is affecting the residents.
Question Four: For a rent controlled building in Los Angeles, in addition to the annual 3% rent increase, may I also add on capital expenditures as well? I am planning on putting on a new roof and would like to pass the cost onto my tenants.
Answer Four: The City has a program where the cost of capital improvements may be shared with your tenants. You need to go through an application process and if approved, the tenants would be responsible for 50% of the cost. This is paid by the tenants monthly, amortized over a five-year period.
Question Five: I have a rent control building in the City of Sherman Oaks. Recently, I noticed a strange vehicle parked in one of my tenant garage space. While this tenant has the right to have a parking space under her rental agreement, I know that she does not drive a car. I inquired and found out through one of the residents, that she is leasing her space to a neighbor in the adjoining building. Is there any way that I can prevent this?
Answer Five: You should check the terms of the rental agreement. Most rental agreements, including the AOA lease, specifically states that parking is reserved only for vehicles registered in the tenant’s name. If the tenant continues to have this vehicle parked in that space, you should serve a 3 Day Notice to Perform or Quit. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, that would be grounds to evict.
Question Six: I’m a landlord and have a tenant who has a Medical Marijuana card and has started a hydroponics growing farm in one of the rooms in his rental unit. Is this legal in the city of Los Angeles? (Venice, 90291) Thanks for your help.
Answer Six: Under California law a person may grow up to six (6) marijuana plants for personal use only.
Question Seven: We have a 16 unit rent control apartment building where we pay the water bill. Most of our tenants are very considerate and tell us when they have a water leak, so we can repair it before it gets too large. We have had a couple of tenants ignore their problem and run our bill up. Is there any way that we can charge them for the excessive bill they caused?
Answer Seven: There really is no way to have the tenant liable for this additional water cost. I would suggest having a provision in your rental agreement that the tenant has an affirmative obligation to report any repairs that need to be made. Failure to timely report will create a financial obligation on the tenant, for any additional cost that occurred as a result of failing to timely report.
Question Eight: I have heard a rumor that rent control will be instituted in all cities in California. Is this true?
Answer Eight: Unfortunately, there is some truth to the rumor. Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) is proposing to repeal the 1995 law, the Costa-Hawkins Act. This law bans rent limitation on single family homes, townhomes and condominiums. It also bars rent control from units constructed after the year 1995. Other provisions of the act prevent new municipalities from instituting rent control. It also allows for rent decontrol if a unit is voluntarily vacated.
If this law is repealed, it will be only a matter of time for cities to initiate rent control for the first time. It is imperative that you contact your State Assemblyman and urge that AB 1506 not be enacted. This will be devastating to our industry. In addition, you should review the rent rolls in all your buildings and increase the rent to market level right now! Many landlords were caught off guard when Los Angeles instituted rent control in 1979.
To find your State Assembly Member go this this website: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.
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”.