This article was posted on Wednesday, Mar 01, 2023

Below are questions asked by rental property owners regarding California rent control laws followed by answers provided by eviction attorney Dennis Block.

Question One: My building is subject to Statewide Rent Control (AB-1482). I have a tenant that is in violation of the lease by having an additional occupant that is not permitted. I served the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Perform or Quit. The tenant did not comply, and I contacted an attorney to initiate an eviction action. My attorney informs me that we cannot proceed with the lawsuit until I first serve an additional 3-Day Notice to Quit. This makes no sense. Am I required to serve this notice?

Answer One: Under Statewide Rent Control, there is a reference that a 3-Day Notice to Quit should be served after service of a 3-Day Notice to Perform or Quit. The language in the statute states a 3-Day Notice to Quit “may” be served. Some judges have interpreted this as a requirement of the statute. On this basis, I would recommend serving this additional notice.

Question Two: I own a duplex. In the rental agreement it states that the tenant shall pay for all utilities except for water. The tenant has been there for over 6-months, and I just realized that the utilities are still in my name. How shall I handle this issue?

Answer Two:I would send a written notice to the tenant that the utilities must be put into their own name. Indicate to the tenant that the utilities will be automatically turned off in 7 days. In addition, I would send the tenant copies of the utility invoices and make a demand for payment. If the utilities are not paid, you may issue a 3-Day Notice to Perform or Quit demanding payment and proceed forward with an unlawful detainer if payment is not made.

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Question Three: My property is in the City of Los Angeles. I understand that the current State of Emergency has been declared over. I will be serving a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. Are there any other issues that I should be aware of? It has been almost 3 years since I issued a notice like this.

Answer Three: Be sure that you use the latest form from the AOA website. Your notice must contain a phrase that when calculating the 3 days, you must exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and Judicial Holidays. In addition, since your property is located in the City of Los Angeles, all notices that are designed to terminate a tenancy, must be accompanied by the Los Angeles “Covid-19 Renter Protections Fact Sheet”. The form must also be served in the predominant language of your tenant.

Question Four: My tenant had a plumbing leak which caused a flood in two rooms of his unit. The work will take at least 7 days to complete, and the tenant is asking to be reimbursed for his hotel expenses. Am I responsible for these expenses?

Answer Four: Your responsibility as a landlord is to make the repair in a reasonable and expeditious fashion. You should not charge the tenant for those days that the unit could not be occupied. There is no law that states you are responsible for relocation expenses. In addition, you should check the terms of your lease agreement. Many rental agreements have provisions which specifies that the tenant must procure renter’s insurance which would cover any temporary relocation expenses. This would absolve the landlord from any responsibility.

Question Five: My residents are complaining that a particular tenant is a heavy smoker which causes the smoke to permeate into their units. One tenant suffers from asthma and is particularly sensitive to smoke. I inherited the smoker from the previous owner and the rental agreement does not have any provisions prohibiting smoking on the premises. What options do I have?

Answer Five: While there might not be a specific provision in your rental agreement, a tenant cannot create a nuisance. A nuisance is defined as an unreasonable interference with the comfort, safety, enjoyment of other residents. I would issue a warning letter to the tenant that this conduct is creating a nuisance. If the conduct continues, you can terminate the tenancy by issuing a 3 Day Notice to Quit.

Question Six: I have a tenant who vacated the unit and left a few boxes filled with assorted items. I am not sure if he considers this trash or if he just forgot and would be returning to retrieve these items. I have tried to contact him, but I have not received a response. May I just dispose of these items?  

Answer Six: You are permitted to remove these items, but you should keep them in a secure location. You are required to comply with the law regarding abandoned personal property. There is a form which can be obtained on the AOA website. You must complete this form by describing the abandoned personal property and then you must mail it to the tenant’s last known address. The tenant will have 18 days to obtain the items. If the tenant does not, you may dispose of these items if the value does not exceed $700.00. Technically, if it does exceed $700, you are required to hold a public auction.

Question Seven: I have already obtained a judgment for an eviction against my tenant for non-payment of rent. The court has ordered that the tenant be removed from the premises. The paperwork has been received by the Sheriff’s office. It has been over 30 days and yet, the Sheriff has failed to provide a lockout date. Is there anything that can be done to move this process along? The tenant has not paid rent in over 6 months.

Answer Seven: My firm has also experienced inordinate delays with the Sheriff’s Office. They claim that they are understaffed and that a backlog exists. This situation will only get worse, now that the City of Los Angeles has finally allowed landlords to bring forth evictions based on non-payment of rent. I guess a letter campaign should be in order. His address is: Sheriff Robert Luna, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 211 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Question Eight: A resident complained that her vehicle was maliciously scratched while in the parking lot. I have a surveillance camera that covers this area. When I reviewed the video, I saw that the damage was done by another tenant who resides in the building. I know that these two tenants did not get along, but I was shocked that he would act in this manner. How should I handle this situation?

Answer Eight: Clearly, you do not want to have a tenant in your building that could cause malicious damage. I would offer to share the video with the affected resident. I would then confront the tenant and demand that he vacates the unit. If he refuses, I would bring forth an eviction based on nuisance.

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, Orange: 714.634.8232, San Diego: 619.481.5423 or by visiting Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, or text him at (818) 570-1557.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at or download the app “EVICT123”.