Kimball,Tirey & St.John LLP
Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers
Ted Kimball, Esq. September, 2014
I recently purchased a triplex, and the escrow will be closing in a couple of days. The tenants are currently on a month-to-month rental agreement. Do I have to wait until the end of the month or can I serve a 30-day notice as soon as I take possession of the property?
You can serve a 30-day notice at any time in a month-to-month tenancy. You do not need to wait until the end of the month. You are also entitled to rent for the 30-day time period. If all of the tenants in the unit have been a resident for more than one year, a 60-day notice is required to be served.
I have heard five different answers from five different people. Please, tell me what I can legally deduct from my tenant’s security deposit.
Rights and obligations regarding a residential tenants’ security deposit are governed by California Civil Code Section 1950.5. It is clear that you can use the deposit for cleaning, delinquent rent and damages above ordinary wear and tear. What is considered ordinary “wear and tear” is subject to a variety of opinions by judges. In order to convince a court that the damages were extraordinary, check-in and check-out records of the condition of the apartment, pictures, receipts and opinions from those who did the work make the job of determining ordinary wear and tear easier for the court to decide.
I have filed an eviction against one of my residents for failing to pay rent for the last two months. I served the notice on a Saturday and someone said I had to serve it on a business day. Are they right?
No. A 3-day notice for breach of the lease can be served on any day. The tenant has three full days to comply, but the last day of the notice must end on a business day.
I am a manager of a 56-unit complex. One of the tenants informed me that his girlfriend moved in. I gave him an application and told him to have her fill it out and then return it to me. It has been ten days and I have not gotten it back.
If the lease prohibits the assigning or subletting of the premises without your permission, you can serve a 3-Day Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit, detailing the violation. The notice should require that they either turn in the application or she must vacate the property within the 3-day period. If they do not comply with the notice, you could commence eviction procedures.
I served one of my tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. He did not comply so I served a 30-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant does not move out by the 30th day, should I call the sheriff to evict him?
The sheriff will not evict your resident unless you have gone through the unlawful detainer lawsuit and produced a judgment for possession. You could have filed the unlawful detainer action after the 3-day notice expired; you did not need to give the tenant an additional 30 days.
I recently received an application from a young married couple. He is twenty but she is only seventeen. I told her she was too young to sign the rental agreement and he had to qualify on his own even though she was working. She said because she was married, she was qualified to sign. I never heard of this law. Is she right?
California recognizes an individual’s right to enter into binding contracts if they are eighteen years of age or older, in active duty in the military, married, or are emancipated by order of the court. You therefore should treat her the same way as you would any other adult applicant.
A couple recently applied for one of our vacant units. They have jobs but do not quite qualify for the unit (they need to make three times the amount of the rent). They said that his father would be willing to co-sign as a guarantor in order to qualify. How should I work this arrangement on the lease?
Guarantor agreements are separate and distinct from the lease and may be rendered void if the lease is modified without the knowledge or consent of the co-signor or guarantor. Carefully drafted guarantee agreements can eliminate this risk.
One of my two tenants on the lease moved out due to a job transfer. The remaining tenant would like to stay and pay the entire amount. Do I need to write up a new lease or simply prepare an addendum stating the remaining tenant is solely responsible?
You can either have the tenant sign a new lease or just keep the current one in place. There is no need to have a new lease drawn up unless you are changing some of the terms and the current resident is in agreement. Each resident is already obligated to pay the entire amount of the rent under most leases if they have a clause that states the residents are “jointly and severally liable” for all requirements under the lease including the payment of rent.
The money judgment I received in my unlawful detainer (eviction) case does not include physical damages made to the apartment. Since I already filed a money judgment, will that prevent me from getting a judgment for the damages made to the apartment later?
The unlawful detainer judgment only allows a judgment comprised of rent up to the time of possession, or if a trial, up to the date of trial, court costs and attorney’s fees. Any other item owed by the tenant can be pursued in small claims court.
This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. Ted Kimball is a partner with Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP. The law firm specializes in landlord/tenant, collections, fair housing and business and real estate, with offices throughout California. Property owner’s and manager’s with questions regarding the contents of this article, please call 800.338.6039.
© 2014 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP