Legal Q&A

Below are questions asked by rental property owners regarding California property management and resident manager laws followed by answers provided by the law firm of Simone and Blevins.

 

Please note that if the CARES Act applies to your property, you may be required to serve your tenant with a 30- day notice to quit under the scenarios below. The most common examples of rental properties that must comply with the CARES Act are tenancies in rental properties with federally backed mortgages or Section 8 tenancies. If you are unsure if the CARES Act applies to your property, then you should consult with an attorney prior to serving a notice.

 

Q: My tenant is renting my duplex on Airbnb without my permission. Our lease states that subletting, assigning and renting the property as a short-term rental is a non-curable breach of the lease. Can I serve my tenant with a non-curable notice to quit? 

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A: Yes, if you can establish that your tenant has sublet, assigned, or rented the property as a short-term rental without your permission and your lease makes this a non-curable breach of the lease, then you can serve your tenant with a notice to quit without an opportunity to cure.

 

Q: I have a tenant who is causing a nuisance at my rental property. I have received multiple complaints that the tenant is having loud parties and playing music late at night. I have reviewed my lease and realized that the contract does not prohibit causing a nuisance. Can I still give my tenant a termination notice based on nuisance?

A: Yes, you can serve the tenant with a notice to quit for causing a nuisance even if your rental agreement or lease does not have a covenant prohibiting nuisances.

 

Q: My neighbor called my rental office and told my property manager that one of my tenants is causing a nuisance by smoking in the common area and leaving trash everywhere. I am not sure that these complaints are considered a nuisance. What is the legal definition of nuisance?

A: Nuisance is defined in Civil Code 3479 as “[a]nything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.” A nuisance in residential tenancy is any action of a tenant that results in a disturbance to neighbors or other tenants that restricts their ability to enjoy the property in which they occupy.  Smoking in the common areas and leaving trash may be considered a nuisance if it interferes with the neighbor’s  use of their property. If you are unsure whether a tenant’s behavior is causing a nuisance, you should contact an attorney’s office. 

  

Q: My tenant recently caused a fire that destroyed the kitchen of my rental unit. The tenant admitted to the fire investigator that he left a candle that was used to warm food unattended and that it caused the kitchen curtains to catch fire. Is this considered waste?

A: Yes, causing a fire and destroying the kitchen is considered waste.  Pursuant to California case law, waste is defined as damage where “the market value is substantially or permanently diminished or depreciated.” In this scenario, the kitchen damage would substantially diminish the market value of the rental property. However, in order to terminate a tenancy for waste, your written rental agreement or lease must include a provision prohibiting waste.  You should consult with an attorney prior to serving a notice for termination based on waste. 

 

Q: I recently drove by my rental property and observed a sign in the front yard offering palm readings. My property is not zoned for commercial use. Can I give my tenant a non-curable notice to quit based on unlawful purpose?

A: Yes, if your property is not zoned for commercial use and your tenant is running a business you could terminate for unlawful purposes. You should make sure to consult with an attorney to make sure you have the evidence necessary to prevail with an eviction based on unlawful purpose. 

 

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]