- Question: There is a very loud tenant in the apartment building across the alley from our rental. I have asked them to quiet down on numerous occasions and have even called the police. They keep playing their music late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. What else can we do?
Answer: You should continue to contact the police when unreasonable disturbances occur and consider contacting the owner of the property to inform him or her of the situation. The owner may not be aware of the problem.
Question: After a lease expires and it is month-to-month, how much notice must a tenant give me in order to legally terminate the lease? He says one week. Is this true?
Answer: In California, 30-days written notice is required to terminate a month-to-month tenancy and can be served by either party at any time during the tenancy. If all of the occupants have been in possession for one year or longer, the landlord must serve a 60-day notice.
Question: Someone told me that if a resident is committing a crime on the premises they can be evicted in 3 days. I have never heard of this law and I rent to someone I suspect is dealing in drugs. Can you tell me more about it?
Answer: California law does allow an owner or manager of rental property to serve a 3-day notice to quit the premises based upon the commission of an illegal act on the property. The illegal conduct must, however, relate to the rented property. For instance, if you can prove your tenant was dealing with or possessed illegal drugs on the premises, you could serve the 3-day notice. If the tenant failed to quit, an unlawful detainer action could be filed in court to recover possession.
Question: One of our tenants just vacated the premises but left a large amount of personal property behind. Included was a locked chest. What should I do? Can I tell my tenant that I will give him back his property when he pays me for the rent he still owes me?
Answer: If a resident leaves behind abandoned personal property after surrendering possession of the rental unit, the landlord is protected by California law if they keep the property safe for a period of 18 days from the date a notice of abandonment of personal property is mailed to the tenant’s last known address. If the tenant claims the property, the only condition of release is that the tenant pay reasonable storage costs, but only from the date the owner regained possession of the rented premises. If the property is not reclaimed and if the property is worth less than $700.00, it can be disposed of in any manner. If its value is greater than $700.00, then the property must be sold via public auction.
Question: One of our tenant’s guests broke a window of the recreation room by throwing a ball through it. The host tenant claims he should not be responsible because the damage occurred outside the apartment and while they were playing catch in the common area. My tenant also refuses to give me the name or any information about his guest who caused the damage. What can I do?
Answer: In California, tenants are liable for the negligence of their guests while on the premises. The premises not only includes the actual rented unit, but the common area as well. Therefore the tenant and the tenant’s guest are jointly liable for the damage to the window.
Question: I have a tenant who is on a long term lease. Recently, however, the tenant brought in a roommate and has been out of town for over 30 days. I am concerned that the roommate intends on staying and that my original tenant may have moved out for good. What are my legal options?
Answer: If you have a clause in your lease which prohibits the assignment or sublet of your lease agreement, you do not have to consent to the roommate. You could ask the roommate to fill out an application to rent and thereby identify who the roommate is. Once identified, you could choose to either allow the roommate to live there if he meets your qualifications, and sign the lease or start eviction procedures based upon the breach of the assignment and sublet clause of your lease.
Question: My great grandfather died last year and left me his home. I am trying to rent the house and my Realtor told me that I am required to inform prospective tenants of the death of my great grandfather because he died in the home. Is this really true? If so, what is the purpose of this crazy law?
Answer: Because it has been deemed to be a material fact to consider when purchasing or renting a home, California requires sellers and landlords to inform prospective purchasers and tenants if a death occurred in the premises during the last 3 years and the nature of the death, unless the death was caused by an HIV related illness.
Question: I want to rent out our condominium (we are buying a new house) and I need to know how much I can charge for a security deposit. Can I also charge a cleaning, pet and key deposit?
Answer: California law limits the amount of a residential security deposit to twice the amount of the monthly rent if unfurnished, or three times the amount of the monthly rent if the property is furnished. The legislature recognizes all deposits as a security notwithstanding how the parties are identifying it. All deposits, taken together, cannot exceed these limits.
Question: The lease for one of my tenants expires at the end of this month. He told me to take the month’s rent out of his security deposit because he would leave the apartment clean and in good repair. He told me since it is his deposit, he has the right to deduct rent out of the deposit. What should I do?
Answer: California law requires the owner or manager to account for the use of the deposit no later than 21 days from the date the tenant vacated the unit. Since the tenant has failed to pay rent, a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit may be served. If the tenant fails to comply, an eviction may commence to produce a judgment for possession and monetary losses.