Below are questions asked by rental property owners regarding California property management and resident manager laws followed by answers.
Q: My tenant provided me with a police report stating that he is a victim of domestic violence. The restraining order listed that the restrained party was his ex-wife who does not live at the property. I was notified by another tenant that there is police activity at the property, and it appears that the ex-wife is now living with my tenant. I am now being told that there is nonstop fighting and yelling that often occurs in the common area. One of my tenants even said she heard the ex-wife threaten to burn the apartment building down. Can I issue an eviction notice?
A: Yes, you can issue an eviction notice because the tenant let the restrained party (ex-wife) into the property, and she is a physical threat to the other tenants/creating a nuisance by fighting. A landlord can terminate the tenancy or fail to renew a tenancy when the protected person has 1) allowed the person who the court order is issued against or who is named in the police report or documentation from a qualified third party to visit the property and 2) the landlord believes this person poses a physical threat to other tenants or will interfere with other tenants’ right to quiet enjoyment (see CCP §1161.3). Before a landlord can issue a termination notice they must first provide the protected person with a 3-day notice to cure the violations.
Q: I have a tenant who is approximately 85 years old and he mailed me a notice stating he was breaking his lease because he is a victim of elder abuse. He has only paid 14 days of rent. Can he terminate his fixed term lease?
A: Yes, under Civil Code (“CC”) § 1946.7, a tenant that is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse or adult dependent abuse may terminate their tenancy by providing a notice in writing and including a copy of 1) a court order, 2) a police report or 3) documentation from a qualified third party that was issued in the last 180 days. If the tenant provides you with notice to terminate and the additional documentation, the tenant is only responsible for rent of no more than 14 calendar days following the date the notice was given. If there are multiple tenants within the rental unit, one tenant providing notice to terminate under CC § 1946.7 does not relieve any other tenant from their obligations under the lease.
Q: I rented my house to a single man. Yesterday, he approached me with a temporary restraining order he filed against his previous partner who does not live at the property. I am worried about the safety of the other tenants at the property and this tenant’s lease expires next month. Can I issue this tenant a nonrenewal of lease letter based on his restraining order against his previous partner?
A: No, you cannot refuse to renew the lease based on the restraining order because the tenant provided you with a court order and the ex-partner does not live at the property. Under CCP §1161.3(a) you cannot refuse to renew a tenancy or terminate a tenancy based on domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault human trafficking, elder abuse or adult dependent abuse if both of the following apply:
- In the last 180 days the tenant has obtained one of the following:
- A court order (temporary restraining order, emergency order, protective order, etc. Please see CCP §1161.3(a)(1) for a full list of acceptable court orders.)
- A police report stating that a tenant has filed a report alleging a household member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse or adult dependent abuse.
- Documentation from a qualified third party that meets the content and other requirements in CCP §1161.3(a)(1)(C-E) and is acting in his or her professional capacity to indicate that the tenant is seeking assistance for physical or mental injury resulting from an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse or adult dependent abuse.
- The person who is restrained from contact from the protected person or who is named on the police report or documentation is not a tenant of the same dwelling unit as the protected person.
Q: My tenant recently emailed me and told me that she is a victim of stalking and that she was requesting I change the lock within 24 hours, or she would pay to have it done herself. Attached to her email was a copy of a police report for a stalking incident and a restraining order. Are her actions allowable under California law?
A: Yes, California Civil Code § 1941.5, describes the procedure for a tenant that is the protected party in a restraining order to request the locks on their rental unit be changed. Upon receiving a 1) written request and 2) court order or police report from the protected tenant, the landlord has 24 hours to change the locks to the unit. If the landlord does not change the locks within 24 hours of the request, the protected tenant can change the locks without the permission of the landlord. If the tenant changes the locks, they must 1) change the locks in a workmanlike manner with similar or better-quality locks, 2) notify the landlord within 24 hours that the locks were changed, and 3) provide a key to the landlord by any reasonable method.
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: 619-235-6180, website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email [email protected]