FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com
As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John).
Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on
1. Question: In our lease agreements we require tenant’s to pay their rent on the first of the month. If the first falls on a holiday, such as Labor Day, do you have to give the tenant’s until midnight on the second to pay the rent or can you still enforce the late fee as of midnight on the first?
Answer: Rent is not delinquent unless one business day has expired from the date the rent is due. So if the first is a weekend or holiday, the rent is not late until after one business day has expired.
2. Question: I own a fourplex. Unit B has two cars, one is broken down. What kind of demands can I place on B about the broken down vehicle?
Answer: You can create a lease term by requiring all vehicles to be in operable condition or they will be towed. To put this into place, you need to either serve a thirty day notice of change of terms to a month to month agreement, or wait until the lease expires and have the new condition in the renewal lease.
3. Question: I rented a condominium unit to a couple on a year’s lease. After one month, they had to move out to take a job out of state. My daughter wants to move in and that’s all right but she will not be paying me rent. Does the tenant still owe me the rent for the lease?
Answer: Under California law, a tenant who vacates early is liable for the remainder of the lease period unless the premises are re-rented or otherwise taken back by the landlord. When your daughter moves in, the tenant is relieved from further payment.
4. Question: Can I bill my tenant for excessive water usage if I can prove they neglected to fix two leaky faucets for over three months?
Answer: Most rental agreements and California law require the tenant to maintain the premises in good condition and repair. Failure to meet their obligations would therefore be a breach of the lease and you should be able to recover all losses suffered, provided you have sufficient proof.
5. Question: Our tenant’s lease is up in six weeks. Can we serve a thirty-day notice at the beginning of the last month of their lease if we do not want to renew?
Answer: Unless your lease requires a thirty-day notice of intent not to renew, California law does not require either the tenant or landlord serve a thirty-day notice to terminate a fixed term lease. If the tenant remains in possession after the lease expires without the landlord’s permission, an immediate unlawful detainer action can be filed.
6. Question: When not renewing a one-year lease, do I have to give the tenants a reason for not extending their lease?
Answer: California law does not require landlords to give their tenants a reason why they are not renewing the lease, unless the property is situated in a “just cause” rent controlled jurisdiction.
7. Question: How can you enforce the pool rules where someone continuously leaves underage children in the pool area?
Answer: This is a safety issue and you should be able to address it. However, it needs to be handled carefully in order to avoid potential claims of discrimination based on familial status. If you encounter this type of situation, we recommend that you get specific legal advice from one of the attorneys in our fair housing practice group.
8. Question: New tenants moved in last month. The wife now wants me to take her name off the lease because she is moving out and getting a divorce. They agreed to a one-year lease. What can I do?
Answer: You are not legally required to release the wife from liability under the lease. If you do, and the husband is unable to pay or declares bankruptcy, you would not be able to pursue your losses from the wife.
9. Question: One of our tenants owes us for past due rent, and part of his security deposit. He has given us a check for the amount of the rent, but I want to first apply it to the deposit and then serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit for the unpaid balance. Is that legal?
Answer: Yes, but only if the tenant did not designate where the money was to be applied on his check, or other written correspondence. You could avoid the issue by applying the payment to rent and then serving a three-day notice to pay the balance of the deposit, or quit. Failure to pay could lead to a successful eviction.
10. Question: What can you do about a tenant being cruel to an animal such as keeping a large dog in small quarters outside with the dog crying in the rain, cold and heat?
Answer: You have a right to report any criminal or inhumane acts occurring on the rental property. If the mistreatment constitutes a crime, you could evict the tenant for carrying on illegal activity on the premises.
11. Question: Is a phone text an official written notice for a 30-Day Notice?
Answer: No, a 30-Day Notice has to be in writing and physically deliverable to the tenant in person, or by serving another person of suitable age and discretion on their behalf or by posting a copy on the door and mailing a copy.
12. Question: Is the Removal of Roommate form still valid even if one roommate does not sign?
Answer: If the landlord allows the current tenants to substitute another person for one of the residents, many landlords use a “removal or roommate” form. All adult occupants of the premises should sign the removal of roommate form to avoid potential liability.