Legal Q&A

Below are questions asked by rental property owners regarding California property management laws followed by answers. 

Q: I have an apartment building in City Heights and my tenant is complaining to me that they have cockroaches. I told them they need to keep the apartment in a clean condition so that they do not continue to have a pest issue. They claim they do keep the apartment clean and that I am required to have periodic pest control services for my apartment building. Is it true that I am required to have periodic pest control services?

A: Yes, California landlords are required to provide their tenants with a habitable dwelling place and that means providing necessary periodic pest control. While some pest control issues are a result of the tenant’s failure to maintain the rental property that is not always the case. Communal living can often cause one tenant’s pest issues to become the issue for the entire apartment complex. It is advisable to enter into a contract for periodic pest control treatments to reduce common pest issues. Pursuant to California Civil Code 1940.8, if you enter into a periodic pest control contract you are required to provide the tenant with a copy of the contract. Additionally, it is important to note that Landlords that rent single family residences are not required to provide periodic pest control to their tenants.

 

Q: I am planning on providing pest control treatments to my duplex myself. Both units are rented to tenants. A fellow landlord told me that I have to provide the tenants with notice of what chemicals are being used during the treatments. Am I required to provide this information to my tenants? 

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A: Yes, pursuant to California Civil Code §1940.8.5 residential landlords who provide “do it your-self” pest control treatments are required to provide their tenants with a notice that states the following: 1) the type of pest being treated, 2) the name and brand of the pesticide product being used, 3) a specific disclosure as required by CA Civil Code §1940.8.5, 4) the date, time, and frequency of the pesticide will be applied, and 5) the statement “The approximate date, time, and frequency of this pesticide application is subject to change.” AOA has form 153 which can be used to provide this notice to your tenants.

 

Q: I am a landlord and have confirmed with my pest control company that one of my rental units has an infestation of cockroaches. I have set up a treatment plan with the pest control company, however, when I spoke to my tenants about the treatment plan, they told me that they did not have time to allow the pest control company to enter the rental unit and treat the pest problem. What should I do?  

A: California law requires tenants to allow access to pest control for inspections and treatments. Before each treatment, you must post a 24-hour notice to enter the rental unit.  If the tenant continues to refuse access to the pest control company, you may serve the tenant with a notice to perform covenant or quit to allow access.  If the tenant still refuses to allow access after the service of this notice, you may then serve the tenant with a 3-day notice to quit and begin the eviction process based on the tenants’ refusal to provide access for inspection and treatments.

 

Q: I am a new landlord and I have heard that bed bugs are a common problem in residential tenancies. Are there any requirements to provide my tenants with information about bed bugs?

A: Yes, prior to creating a new tenancy for a dwelling unit, you are required to provide the notice contained in California Civil Code § 1954.603 to all your current and new tenants. The notice provides useful information to both landlord and tenant regarding the physical appearance of bed bugs and possible signs of infestation. You must also include your procedure for tenants to report suspected infestations. Bed bugs are very small and stay hidden making them very difficult to detect with the naked eye. Thus, tenants and landlords should become familiar with signs of a bed bug infestation. Visit our website at www.landlordslegalcenter.com to download a 24-hour notice and further information regarding bed bugs.  [Members may download for FREE AOA’s form #157 – “Information on Bedbugs” by visiting www.aoausa.com.]

 

Q:  I have tenants who have not paid rent and are claiming they have bed bugs. Can I give them a three-day notice to pay rent or quit before I inspect the unit?  

A: No, you should not give a three-day notice to pay rent or quit until the bed bug inspection is completed and any infestation treated. You must contact a pest control company as soon as possible to inspect the unit for bed bugs. If bed bugs are present in the unit, you must begin treatment immediately.  You should not serve a notice or begin an eviction until the unit is treated. If there is no sign of bed bugs, then you may serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit and begin an eviction. You should request bed bug clearance stating that there was no sign of bed bugs from your pest control company in case you need to rebut your tenant’s claim that the unit is uninhabitable. 

 

The law firm of Simone & Blevins has been doing evictions for over 28 years.  The office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Tel: 619-235-6180website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email [email protected]