Question One: I am selling a duplex in Glendale. It would be best if I could offer the units for sale without it being occupied. Am I able to terminate the tenancies and do I need to pay relocation to my tenants?
Answer One: Glendale does not have a rent control statute for a duplex. Assuming your property was built prior to 2006, it would be subject to Statewide Rent Control, AB 1482. Under this statute, good cause is required in order to terminate a tenancy. Selling the property is not considered cause to evict.
Question Two: My rents are very low. Do I have to wait until June in order to raise rents?
Answer Two: You do not state where the property is located or what type of residence. Assuming your property is a condominium, townhouse or single-family residence, a rent increase can be instituted at this time, without restrictions. If you are increasing rent in excess of 10%, you would need to serve a 90 day notice to increase your rent. If your property is subject to a local rent control statute, that particular statute would control the amount of any rent increase. For example, the City of Los Angeles currently bans any rent increase at this time. If your property is subject to Statewide Rent Control, AB 1482, you would be entitled to increase the rent by 5% plus the CPI.
Question Three: I am now trying to sell my condo in Palm Springs. I have been having issues with my tenants since March, 2020. Currently, they are on a month-to-month rental agreement. The tenants will not allow the realtor in to take pictures. They claim they have a disability and are at a high COVID-19 risk. I asked for proof of disability and they just ignore my request. Now the realtor doesn’t want to help in fear of a lawsuit. Can I evict at this time?
Answer Three: Unfortunately, the tenants are justified in refusing access during these pandemic times. Under the Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088 and SB 91), you could terminate their tenancy with a Notice to Quit. Be advised that under these statutes, you cannot obtain a judgment in an unlawful detainer action prior to July 1, 2021.
Question Four: I have a tenant in Panorama City that has not paid rent since November 2020. He has not declared any financial hardship. I have now just learned that he is renting out bedrooms and collecting rent. Can I start the eviction process?
Answer Four: The irony that your tenant is not paying rent and yet is collecting rent from his subtenants demonstrates the abuse of this situation. You certainly do have grounds to evict. Under the terms of most lease agreements, the tenant must first get authorization in order to move in additional persons. In this case, we would serve a Notice to Perform or Quit, demanding that the additional persons vacate the unit. If the “strangers” remain after the third day, we can immediately bring forth an unlawful detainer to evict everyone from the unit.
Question Five: I need to get an appraisal on my property but the tenant will not allow access. She claims that access will not be granted without repairs being made beforehand. Some of the requests are ranging from light bulbs to a new hot tub. What am I responsible to fix and what should I do?
Answer Five: You obviously do not need to change light bulbs, as that would be the tenant’s responsibility. If there is a problem with the existing hot tub, that item should be repaired. Explain to your tenant that repairs will only be made for issuing involving habitability. If after the repairs are made and tenant still refuses access, you could initiate an unlawful detainer.
Question Six: I am buying a triplex and intend to occupy one of the units. Two of the units are paying and one unit has not paid since March, 2020. The seller has not tried to evict. Am I permitted to serve this tenant with a 60 Day Notice to Quit once I own the building? What should I do if the tenant does not vacate? Also, am I required to pay relocation fees?
Answer Six: I am assuming that your property is subject to Statewide Rent Control –AB 1482. Even during these pandemic times, an owner is allowed to occupy his own unit. You would need to serve a 60 Day Notice to Vacate. Relocation fees are required to be paid and the amount is equal to one month’s rent.
Question Seven: I have units in Whittier. A prospective tenant has two emotional support dogs. Can I reject her application as this is a “no pet” building? Does the law say I have to accept emotional animals? Can I approve only one animal? Thank you for all you do for owners!
Answer Seven: Unfortunately, if the tenant has a letter from a medical professional that two dogs are required, you cannot reject this applicant for that reason. The letter would have to indicate that the applicant has a disability and due to this condition requires two dogs.
Question Eight: I have a tenant who has not paid rent in over ONE YEAR! Recently, I noticed that she had another person staying in her unit. I called her to inquire as to the status of this person. She indicated that her friend was only temporarily staying in the unit to care for her. She told me that she just had a tummy tuck and would need to recuperate for a week. I am flabbergasted that she would elect to have cosmetic surgery, while not paying the rent. Do you have any thoughts on this situation?
Answer Eight: I have heard from thousands of clients of the abuse by tenants in using COVID-19 protections to avoid their contractual responsibilities. Our elected officials and judges clearly know that these statutes have been bastardized. I hear case after case of tenants who are working and are just “gaming” the system. Landlords are now facing a loss of rent up to 16 months, with little hope that these rents will be repaid. This State has created an all-out war against income property owners with no help in sight. My belief is that over 85% of tenants failing to pay rent is not related to the pandemic.
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 www.evict123.com. Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dennisblock or text him at (818) 570-1557. “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.