KTS Legal Questions July 2017

Posted: 13th July 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:
Do I always have to give written notice to our resident before making a repair? They called yesterday and we simply made an appointment for the plumber to meet them at the property next week.

Normally, you would have to give a written 24 hour notice, but if the tenant and the landlord orally agree to an entry to make repairs or supply services for a specific date and time, and the entry is within one week from the date of the agreement, no written notice is required. Also, in cases of emergency or abandonment, the landlord is not required to give written notice.

2. Question:
Can a resident legally drink alcohol in the outdoor common areas of an apartment community?

Landlords have the right to restrict the drinking of alcohol in the common areas of the premises.

3. Question:
My rental property is a house in a rural area. I do allow animals, but do not want any pit bulls. Can I specifically state that?

You can determine what type of animals, if any, you allow on the property and should make this clear in the lease or lease addendum. If the animal is a support animal for a disabled resident, however, different rules apply.

4. Question:
If a tenant gives a 30-day notice on the 15th of the month, is it legal to charge them the full rent for the next month and return the prorated remainder of the rent once they have turned in the keys?

No, they are only required to pay the pro rata portion of their rent for the next month.

5. Question:
This month’s rent check from a tenant had a second name printed below the tenant’s name on the upper left corner of the check. If I cash the check for this month’s rent, am I changing the terms of tenancy?

The mere fact that another person is listed on the check does not change the terms of the tenancy. You should inquire about the other person or find other ways to determine if there is an unauthorized occupant, and if so, either have the extra person apply for residency or serve a 3-day notice to perform covenants or quit.

6. Question:
If I give a 60-day notice (tenants have lived there for over a year) to tenants, can they move before the 60 days are up? If so, do they have to give 30 days’ notice, or can they just move?

They can move out within the 60-day period by serving you with a 30-day notice. If they leave before the 60-days are up without serving a 30-day notice, they still owe rent up to the date the 60-day notice expires or the premises are relet (you have to try to relet the premises).

7. Question:
I am considering selling a duplex I own. Both sides are rented under one year leases. A potential buyer said he would need to move into one side of the unit and could not wait for the lease to expire. If there is a sale, doesn’t that terminate any lease I have with the tenants?

A voluntary sale of leased property does not terminate the rental agreement or lease; the new owner steps into the shoes of the former owner and has the same rights and obligations of the former owner.

8. Question:
One of our single tenants who was renting a small one bedroom unit recently died. There are still three months remaining on his lease. What should I do with the security deposit?

A tenancy for a specified term does not terminate on the death of either the landlord or the tenant. Once the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate returns possession, you should account for the use of the deposit and direct the accounting to the administrator or executor.

9. Question:
What is a request for a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change or exception to the property’s rules, policies, practices or services that is necessary to afford a person with a disability full and equal use and enjoyment of the rental property.

10. Question:
I understand that if a building contains 16 or more units, there must be a resident manager. I have given some responsibilities to an on-site maintenance person, but I do not call him a resident manager. Does this situation comply with the law?

The California Administrative Code requires that a building containing 16 or more units on a parcel must have a person who lives on site and is responsible for representing the owner of the property. The person does not, however, have to be a “resident manager.”

11. Question:
I have a tenant who is driving everyone in the apartment complex nuts. He plays his stereo and television all day and all night and keeps everyone up. We call the police constantly but they can only do so much. I want to evict him but he signed a one-year lease. None of the notices I have make sense in this situation. What can I do to get this noisy tenant out?

If the tenant is producing major and continual disturbances to the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property and it is severe enough, the court could allow you to evict the tenant after service of a 3-day notice to vacate. This notice does not allow the tenant to cure anything.

Therefore, it has to be a severe situation. Otherwise, writing warning letters and documenting the disturbances can bolster your case if the tenant does not stay quiet.

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