KTS Legal Questions- Feb 2017

Posted: 9th February 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
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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: Can I accept rent after serving a notice for an issue other than payment.  For example: an unauthorized occupant notice.

Answer: You should always check with a knowledgeable attorney to determine whether you should accept rent or not if the notice served was for something other than payment. Often times accepting rent after serving a notice can waive the notice.

2.    Question: At what point does my property require an onsite resident manager?

Answer: If your property has 16 units or more, you are required to have a person onsite who represents the owner.

3.    Question: A resident at my property was taken to the hospital and passed away.  Since the lease requires a 30-day notice, what is the law as far as reimbursement of the deposit?
Answer: When a tenant passes, the month-to-month tenancy is terminated 30 days from the date of the decedent’s last rent payment. Therefore, you have 21 days from that date to account for the security deposit assuming that you have taken over possession of the unit. If anyone else is claiming a right to possession, you would need to go through the eviction process.

4.    Question: We rent garages out to our residents. One of the residents moved a bed and some furniture in the garage and we believe someone is sleeping there. What can we do to make sure we do not have any issues with the use of the garage as a bedroom?

Answer: If you have a separate month-to-month agreement for the garage, you can choose to terminate the garage rental with a 30-Day Notice, or you can serve a Notice to Perform Conditions or Quit if the garage was to be used for storage purposes only. This could be more difficult to prove in court.  If the garage rental is part of the tenant’s residential lease, then you can serve a Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit, requiring them to stop using the garage for residential purposes.  If they fail to comply, you would need to prove that they were in fact using the garage for an unauthorized purpose. The use of the garage as living quarters would also violate local and state laws, which could also be used as grounds for eviction.
5.    Question: I served my resident a 30-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy on the 15th of the month.  My resident says I have to wait until the end of the month to serve the notice, is that correct?

Answer: No.  Under California law, either party can serve an appropriate 30-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy any day of the month.  Your notice will expire 30 days from the date you served the notice, so make sure you do not accept rent beyond that point.

6.    Question: My lease states that the rent is due on the first of the month. If the first of
the month falls on a weekend, can I require my tenants to pay rent on the weekend if my rental office is open on the weekend.

Answer: No. If the rent is due on the first, and the first of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, pursuant to California law, the tenant has until the next business day to pay the  rent. For example: If the first falls on a Saturday, the resident has all day Monday to pay the rent (assuming Monday is not a holiday), and you cannot serve a 3-day notice until Tuesday at the earliest.
7.    Question: I served a 60-day notice that expires on the 15th of the month. How much rent should I accept for the month in which the notice expires?

Answer: You can only accept 15 days of rent for that particular month.  You calculate the pro-rated daily value as follows: (1) divide the monthly rent by 30 (days), (2) do not round up or down (in other words, clear the calculator screen), and (3) multiply the daily value by the number of days.  For example, you calculate 15 days of rent for the monthly rent of
$1000.00 as follows: $1000.00 divided by 30 is $33.33; then multiply $33.33 by 15 days; and your pro-rated rent for the 15 days would be $499.95.

8.    Question: Per the rental agreement, rent is due on the first day of each month and, if rent is not received by the 5th day, then a late charge will be incurred by the tenant. If my tenant fails to pay rent, do I have to wait until the 5th day of the month before I serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?

Answer: No. You can serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit the following day after the rent is due. Be aware that if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, you must carry the due date to the following first business day.

9.    Question: I have heard that if the condo I rent is uninhabitable the tenant can withhold rent. What constitutes uninhabitable?

Answer: A residential rental unit is uninhabitable if there is a condition on the premises which substantially interferes with the health or safety of the residents and occupants. However, it the tenant was the source of the uninhabitable condition, they are still obligated to pay the rent.

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