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)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:
1. Question: The non-payment of rent notice I served on the tenant has expired. The tenant is now trying to pay the rent, but I do not want to accept payment and would like to return it. How can I return their payment?
Answer: You can return the tenant’s payment by personal delivery or sending it by regular mail. You are not required to send it by certified mail. It is important to return the payment as soon as possible.
2. Question: I have an ongoing unlawful detainer against one of my tenant’s but he/she is continuing to create a disturbance at the property. Is there any way that the unlawful detainer can be expedited?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. However, a restraining order may be available in extreme cases. If the tenant is engaging in a serious or criminal disturbance, call the police.
3. Question: My tenant was just evicted and the majority of his/her items are still in the unit. Do I need to give him/her another notice to retrieve their belongings?
Answer: If you went through the court eviction process and the Sheriff conducted a lockout, the Sheriff would have notified your tenant of their rights to their personal property.
4. Question: One of my tenants attempted to tape record our conversation explaining that they have a right to do this for legal purposes. Is that true?
Answer: Your tenant has no legal right to tape record you without your express consent in places that you have an expectation of privacy, such as your business office. Further, surreptitious tape recording – tape recordings without your knowledge – is a misdemeanor under California state law. Contact your attorney if you learn that you have been surreptitiously recorded.
5. Question: I had a police officer visit my rental office and request information such as social security numbers, addresses, and birth dates on three of my residents. I told him that I would be unable to provide this information, as it was confidential. Was I correct in denying a law enforcement officer this information?
Answer: You did the right thing. California law protects against the disclosure of an individual’s information, based on the right to privacy. Therefore, if law enforcement is requesting information on a former or current tenant, management should not disclose any information absent a subpoena.
6. Question: We have a limited number of parking spots in our apartment community so we decided to limit the parking to residents only. Is this legal?
Answer: Yes, you may restrict parking at your apartment complex to residents only. Make sure you have complied with the requirements of Vehicle Code Section 22658 so that unauthorized vehicles can be towed according to the rules of the code section. Also, be sure that your lease or rules have been appropriately modified so that this policy is enforceable as a condition of tenancy.
7. Question: One of my tenants has notified me that she has filed for bankruptcy. She has not paid her rent this month. Can I proceed with an eviction?
Answer: Once a tenant files for bankruptcy, he or she will be entitled to an automatic “stay” of any legal proceedings against him or her. This includes an unlawful detainer action. You will be required to file a motion for “relief from stay” before serving any notices or bringing an eviction action.
8. Question: I have an applicant who wants to bring her cat with her to the apartment. Can I require her to de-claw the cat before bringing it onto my rental property?
Answer: No. California law prohibits a landlord from requiring a resident to have a pet de- clawed or de-vocalized as a condition of occupancy.
9. Question: I have had numerous problems with residents who smoke tobacco, including complaints from neighbors, damage to the rental unit, etc… Can I institute a policy that my rental property is smoke-free?
Answer: Yes. California law permits a landlord to designate their property as smoke-free.
10. Question: After serving a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, does the day of service count towards the three-day period?
Answer: The first day of service does not count towards the three-day period. The first day to count is the day after service of the notice was completed. The tenant must have three full days after service before filing the Summons and Complaint.
11. Question: May I demand a late charge in a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
Answer: No. Do not demand any other fees or charges other than the tenant’s past due rent in a 3-Day Notice. For example, do not include utility charges or interest in the notice even if a written lease or rental agreement states you are entitled to these payments. A separate 3-Day Notice for all other fees owed may be served along with the 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
12. Question: Am I entitled to use a deceased tenant’s security deposit?
Answer: You are entitled to use a deceased tenant’s security deposit to cover unpaid rent, pay for damage beyond normal wear and tear, and to perform necessary cleaning to the unit.
13. Question: We evicted one of our tenants and obtained a monetary judgment. Now we find that they have moved to Arizona. Can I collect against them since they moved out of state?
Answer: If you have a judgment against a former tenant and they move out of state, you can have the judgment recognized by that state as a valid judgment which would allow you to proceed to levy against their bank accounts or garnish their wages in the state they now live.
14. Question: Can an owner/property manager require that a tenant secure renters insurance? Answer: Yes, to protect the property and assets, landlords can require the tenant obtain renters insurance as a covenant and condition of the lease.
15. Question: A tenant has delivered a payment but the 3-Day Notice has already expired. I don’t want the money at this point. I do want possession of my unit back. Should I return the payment?
Answer: If you do not return and reject the payment, an argument could be made that the payment has been accepted and the 3-Day Notice has been waived. You should therefore return and reject the payment.
16. Question: A tenant has left a lot of personal property after vacating. How do I know if the value of the items left behind amount to $700.00?
Answer: You can call a third party appraiser. Alternatively, you can research what comparable items sell for in the community. Remember that it is replacement value, not the cost of purchasing a new item. Accordingly, online resources such as Craigslist can be used to help substantiate a value assigned to an item.
17. Question: My company policy is to have the computer system print Notices to Pay Rent or Quit that just state who is to receive payment, but there is no blue ink signature. Does this make them invalid?
Answer: California law requires that a person be named as agent for receiving payment in person on the notice, the address, telephone number, and hours/days of availability of this person be provided, but there is no requirement that this person sign the notice. However, it is a good idea that the notice be signed to give it the personal touch and show the tenant that the information has been reviewed and is accurate.
18. Question: I served a 60-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy, but they have failed to pay their rent. Can I now serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or will that invalidate the 60-Day? Answer: As long as the Notice to Pay Rent or Quit does not demand rent for a period of time after the expiration of the 60-Day Notice, the 3-Day Notice does not override the 60-Day Notice, and you can file the eviction as soon as the 3-Day Notice expires.
19. Question: I served a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on a tenant and they paid with a personal check. The check has since bounced. Do I need to serve another 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
Answer: The bounced check is not payment, so you can file on the original 3-Day Notice.