Question One: I’m a member of the AOA and have a question about installing security cameras in my building.  I know that they can be installed at the front and back of the building, side walkways, common areas, parking lots and garages. I would never install them inside the units.  I have a duplex where both units share one entrance that leads to each of the apartment doors.  Can I install a camera inside this entrance way?Answer One: This area would certainly be considered a common area and therefore it is permissible to install security cameras. Notification to the tenants is not required.

Question Two:  Am I required to run a credit check for every applicant? We advertised and have had over 100 responses prior to the open house.
Answer Two: I would run a credit check in the order of when the applications were received. Once a qualified applicant is found, no further credit checks need to be completed.

Question Three: I have a question about reasonable accommodations and emotional support animals. I have a procedure for residents who request a reasonable accommodation. I created a form which requires their doctor to verify the tenant’s disability and the need for the accommodation. We mail the form directly to the doctor, via Certified U.S. Mail. Is this proper?
Answer Three: Your procedure is not in accordance with the law. If you receive a letter from a medical professional stating that your tenant has a disability, which requires a service or comfort animal, then you are required to allow the animal. You cannot reject the request on the basis that your form was not completed.

Question Four: I originally leased my apartment to four persons consisting of three adults and one child. After a couple years, there are now two additional children residing in the unit. This means six persons are occupying a two-bedroom unit, which is only 1,120 square feet. This property is not under rent control. Is there anything that can be done?
Answer Four: You have options. You can either raise the rent to any level you choose or you can serve a 60 day notice to vacate the property.  No reason need be stated in the Notice to Quit.

Question Five: I am buying a rent controlled triplex in Los Angeles. All units are occupied. The only two-bedroom apartment is under a lease agreement. Am I able to force the tenant to relocate since I am buying the property as my personal residence?
Answer Five: When property is transferred, a new owner is still subject to any existing lease agreements. Once the lease expires, you would need to file an application with the City. Once your application is approved, you could serve a 60-Day Notice to Quit. Relocation fees would need to be paid to this tenant.

Question Six: I own rent a controlled building in the City of Santa Monica. I have a tenant that is on a two-year lease which is expiring in January, 2018. If I choose not to renew the lease, is the tenant forced to vacate?
Answer Six: Unfortunately, the expiration of the lease does not terminate a tenancy in a rent control jurisdiction. The lease will continue on a month to month basis. You would need “good cause” to terminate the tenancy.

Question Seven: Can we ask for a pet deposit for an emotional companion animal? Also, can we ask for a pet agreement to be signed?
Answer Seven: It would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to ask for a deposit on a comfort animal. You are also not allowed to force a tenant to sign a pet agreement.

Question Eight: I have a tenant who vacated my unit, even though there was another year left on the lease. I know that I must use my best efforts to lease this unit to mitigate the amount of my tenant’s responsibility. Since I originally leased this unit, rents have gone up dramatically. Am I able to advertise the unit at this higher market value?
Answer Eight: In order to hold the tenant responsible for the remaining lease term, you would have to advertise the unit at the same rate that the tenant was paying. If you choose to list the unit at a higher rental value, you cannot hold the tenant liable for the remaining lease term.

Personal Note:  Thank you to all the attendees at the AOA Million Dollar Trade Show. It was truly a wonderful event and I was very gratified as to the positive responses to my seminar.  

 

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 or Orange: 714.634.8232 or by visiting www.evict123.com. Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dennisblock or text him at (818) 570-1557.  Get the NEW App for iPhone or Android phones. Search for “EVICT123“.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.