Q: I rent an apartment to a married couple. Shortly after moving in they began to have domestic violence issues and the police were called out to my rental several times.  I don’t like having the police present at my rental. Can I evict the tenants?

A: No, you cannot evict the tenants solely because they have domestic violence issues. California Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 1161.3 prohibits evictions based on domestic violence unless the health, safety, and/or quiet enjoyment of other tenants are being threatened.  

 

Q: I own an apartment building.  The police were called out to the same apartment multiple times and arrested one of the tenants for domestic violence. Other tenants of the building are complaining that they cannot sleep due to the police activity and one tenant said that the couple threatened him for voicing concern. Can I evict the tenants involved in the domestic violence issues because of the concerns and complaints from my other tenants?

A: Yes, you may evict your tenants if the health, safety, and/or quiet enjoyment of other tenants are threatened.  Before issuing a notice, you should make sure the other tenants are willing to testify at trial for you and you should consult an attorney to make sure you issue the correct notice. 

 

Q: I rented my house to a single father. Yesterday, he approached me with a temporary restraining order he filed against his ex-wife who does not live at the property. I do not want to deal with any issues at my 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 ex-wife?

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-wife 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:

  1. In the last 180 days the tenant has obtained one of the following:
    1. 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.)
    2. 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. 
    3. 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.
  2. 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 approached me last month with a police report stating she was a victim of stalking and listing the name of an ex-boyfriend who was not a tenant at the property. My onsite manager told me that the ex-boyfriend is now living in the apartment with her, they are fighting every evening, and the fighting often continues in the common areas. Other tenants at my building have tried to step in and help my tenant. I am concerned about my other tenants’ safety and my liability. Can I issue the tenant with an eviction notice?

A: Yes, under CCP §1161.3 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. 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 that 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. 

 

Attorney Franco Simone, of Simone & Associates and The Landlords’ Legal Center, has been doing evictions for over 20 years.  He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego.  Mr. Simone’s 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]