Question One: I was talking with an applicant to one of my buildings, and he mentioned that he is a big gun enthusiast and owns many weapons. While I am sure that he possesses these weapons legally, I am not comfortable in allowing this person to move into my building.  Am I legally allowed to deny him, based on this reason?
Answer One: While I am certainly a supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, you would be able to deny this applicant the right to lease the premises. While certain types of discrimination are not permissible, gun ownership does not fall into that category.  While governments cannot prevent citizens from owning guns, landlords do have the right to control their property in this aspect.

Question Two: Now that California has voted the right to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes, does that mean landlords will now have to allow this activity in their buildings?
Answer Two: The passage of Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years or older. It also allows them to cultivate up to six plants. This has no effect on the right of a landlord to maintain a “No Smoking” environment. Whether it is cigarettes or marijuana, the effects of second-hand smoke can create a health hazard and certainly create a nuisance for other residents. It is imperative that all lease agreements have a “No Smoking” clause. For existing tenancies, a Change of Terms of Tenancy notice should be issued for all month to month tenants.

Question Three: I have a Section 8 tenant in my rent controlled duplex. I noticed one of her windows was broken and she used tape to cover the hole. She has not notified me of the damage, even though I am an owner/occupier and live upstairs from her. Can I bill her for the repair of the window? Thank you for your help.
Answer Three: If your tenant created the damage, she would be responsible for the cost of the repair. You should have the window fixed and present the tenant with the invoice. If she fails to pay, that could be grounds to evict.

Question Four: I have a rent control tenant who has lived in my building for over 25 years. Her rent is very low. Recently, she has brought in another person to live with her, which is in direct violation of her lease agreement. When I confronted her, she informed me that this person is a caregiver and not a roommate. I notice that this person has a full time job, as she leaves every morning and comes home in the evening. Could this violation be used to evict this tenant?
Answer Four: Regardless of the employment of this additional person, your tenant has the right to have a caregiver. This would not be considered a violation of the lease agreement. Never accept rent directly from this occupant. If your tenant does vacate, you would have the right to evict this person.

Question Five: I own a building in Anaheim. If a tenant has lived in a unit over one year, how much notice must be given to raise rent or to ask the person to vacate?
Answer Five: If the tenant has lived in the building over one year, a 60 Day Notice to terminate the tenancy is required. If less than one year, a 30 day notice would be sufficient. Raising the rent has nothing to do with the length of time a person has been in your building. If you are raising the rent in excess of 10%, in any one year period, a 60 day notice is required. If it is 10% or less, a 30 day notice is required.

Question Six: We have an application from a husband and wife from Brazil. They seem like nice folks but just starting a business. They have no credit, social security card, etc. What suggestions can you give so that we can protect ourselves if we were to rent to them? Thank you.
Answer Six: Being nice folks doesn’t mean that they will be nice as your tenants.  At a minimum, they need a social security number and a credit history.  Many times, persons with horrific credit scores will claim this type of situation.  Look at this as a business and make sure that they have sufficient financial resources to pay your rent, especially if they are just starting a business. Otherwise, it will cost you in the long run to evict them.

Question Seven: I have both rent controlled and non-rent controlled buildings. If my tenants have no security deposit established, can I have them establish a security deposit to continue to live there? If so, is there a limit on how much the security deposit can be? Thank you for your assistance on the matter.
Answer Seven: For rent controlled buildings, you cannot establish a security deposit for existing tenants. If your unit is not subject to rent control, you can establish a security deposit by serving a 30 day change of tenancy. You can ask for a deposit equal to two months of the current rent.

Question Eight: What is the new law regarding registering units for the City of Los Angeles?
Answer Eight: Here we go again with more regulations that just add more burdens to landlords. Under this new bureaucracy, landlords must submit the names of all of their tenants, the current rent they are paying and their contact number. Registration of the unit will not be complete until these forms are submitted.

 

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”.