Question One: I have rent controlled apartment in the City of Los Angeles. I inherited one tenant when I purchased the building. This tenant did not have a written rental agreement. At the time, this tenant owned two dogs and now he owns four dogs. This is really getting out of control. Is there something that can be done? He is in a one bedroom unit.
Answer One: Under the Los Angeles Municipal Code, a dog kennel is defined as a space which is maintaining four or more dogs. If a person is operating a dog kennel, a license must be obtained. Clearly, your tenant will not be issued a permit in a residential apartment unit. In this case, you can make a demand for the tenant to remove at least one dog. If your tenant fails to do so, this would be grounds to evict.
Question Two: I have a condo in the City of Manhattan Beach. My daughter is coming back from college and I needed to have my tenant vacate that unit. I went online and found a 60-day notice to vacate. I filled it out correctly and when the tenant did not vacate timely, my attorney filed an unlawful detainer action. To my shock, we lost the case, as the form I used did not have a phrase which informs the tenant about their rights concerning abandoned personal property. I really do not understand why this is necessary. The form was filled out correctly. Did the judge render the correct decision?
Answer Two: Unfortunately for your daughter, the judge correctly applied the law. The form that you obtained was obviously outdated, as specific language advising the tenant regarding personal property, must be contained in the notice. As an AOA member you should exclusively use their forms as they are updated immediately. In addition, your attorney should have realized that the notice was defective and should not have filed the lawsuit. For eviction matters, you should deal with attorneys who are specialists in this area
Question Three: The weather has been very hot and a tenant complained that her air condition was not working. I called a repairman who told me that the unit would have to be replaced. I purchased a new unit and had it installed. The process took about five days to complete. I just received a note from the tenant indicating that she would be deducting five days rent from her next rent payment. Can she do this?
Answer Three: A landlord has an obligation to make necessary repairs in a reasonable period of time. You first had to evaluate the problem, purchase the unit, and have it installed. It would appear that five days was a very reasonable time period. Inform your tenant that if she attempts a deduction in the rent, that you will serve her with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
Question 4: I have a tenant that has been great for four years, but we have decided to sell the property. We served a 60-day notice that extends midway through the next month. The tenants are having a difficult time finding a place. While we are amenable to allow more time, what is the best way to handle this? I do not want to accept payment for the full month, as it would invalidate my notice. I suspect that they may pay the full rent on the first. If they do, can I accept it and send back my check for the over-payment?
Answer 4: If you accept the full rent payment, you it will invalidate your notice. If you wish to give them additional time, have them sign an agreement with a specific date that they will vacate. You will be able to accept rent through this date.
Question 5: My tenant wants me to add her husband to the lease agreement. The tenancy started in July, 2017 and she never mentioned that she was married or put his name on her application. Is it possible to get them out?
Answer 5: You have no obligation to add the husband to the lease agreement. If the husband is occupying the property, that would be a breach of the lease agreement.
Question 6: I have a mixed-use property in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles. I bought the property in 2011. The first floor is commercial and the previous owner converted it to two residential units. No permits were obtained. I want to evict these tenants, which I rented to about four years ago. Can I serve a 60 day notice to terminate the tenancy?
Answer 6: You are very fortunate that this is not in the City of Los Angeles. A 60-day notice would be the proper notice to serve. If your property was located in the City Los Angeles, you would be forced to pay thousands of dollars in relocation funds.
Question 7: I have a tenant whose lease expired at the end of July, 2017. The current rent was $1,800. On July 25, 2017, I presented him with a new lease which raised the rent to $2,000 effective August 1, 2017. He signed that lease but now states that the rent increase was illegal as he is entitled to a 60-day notice to increase his rent. Is this correct?
Answer 7: Your tenant is incorrect. If you are serving a “Change of Terms of Tenancy” that would require a 60- day notice, as you are increasing the rent more than 10%. In your case, the tenant agreed to the increase by signing the lease agreement. No advance notice is required.
Question 8: I own multiple residential units in the City of Pasadena. I have heard that my property will not be affected by a new ordinance which requires me to pay tenants to move. Could you explain this new law?
Answer 8: On August 21, 2017, the City of Pasadena passed the Tenant Protection Ordinance. Under this ordinance, if a landlord decides to terminate a month to month tenancy, relocation funds will need to be paid to the tenant. If your tenant’s combined income is $99,183.00 or less, you will need to pay relocation fess equal to two months fair market value of the unit. In addition to the relocation allowance, landlords must pay a moving expense allowance in the amount of $1,000 for three-adult households or $3,000 for households with dependents, disabled, or senior members. Relocation does not have to be paid if you are evicting the tenant for violations of the rental agreement, for example, non-payment of rent.
This new law is just the tip of the iceberg of what other municipalities are intending to do. These laws trample on the rights of income property owners. As of the writing of this column, Los Angeles is contemplated adding “just cause evictions” to any tenancy, even those not subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. I urge all income property owners, which are not subject to rent control, to evaluate all of your rental contracts. Be sure that rents are at market level. In addition, if you have troublesome tenants, consider terminating their tenancy with a simple Notice to Quit. Once “good cause” evictions are instituted, your window of opportunity will be closed.
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”.