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Legal Q &A by – Dennis Block

Posted on 01. Feb, 2019 by in all

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Question One: A downstairs tenant, John, bitterly complains about the upstairs tenant due to noise from above. In actuality, the upstairs tenant, Harold, is not doing anything out of the ordinary. John complains about simple television sounds and even if Harold is just walking in his unit. Lately, John has been banging on his ceiling and bangs on Harold’s door with a stick.

Harold has thick padding and carpeting on his floor. What steps should I be taking at this time?

 Answer One: I would send a warning letter to John that his actions are creating a nuisance. Address the issue that in multi-family housing, there is a certain amount of noise that must be tolerated. John should be put on notice that his behavior constitutes a nuisance and if it continues, you will proceed to evict.

Question Two: I manage a property and have a resident who is a hoarder.  She is a long-term tenant. What are the legalities about asking her to leave based on the condition of her apartment? Is a 60 day notice sufficient? My building is inAnaheim which does not have rent control.

Answer Two: If your tenant is on a month to month tenancy, a 60 day notice would be proper. If the tenant is on a fixed term lease, you would need to serve a 3 Day Notice to Perform of Quit. Most rental agreements require the tenant to keep the premises in a neat and sanitary condition. In this instance, you would make a demand on your tenant to clear out the excess clutter. If the tenant does not comply, you could then institute an eviction action.

Question Three: I served a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on a Friday. When is the last day a tenant can pay the rent?

Answer Three: Currently, the law would allow the tenant through Monday to pay the rent. Saturday, Sunday and judicial holidays can be counted with the exception that those days cannot be the third day of the notice. In your example, the Day 1 is Saturday, Day 2 is Sunday and Day 3 is Monday. Unfortunately, the law is changing as of September 1, 2019. Under Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1161 and 1167, Saturday, Sunday and judicial holidays cannot be counted within the 3-day period.  Based on this, change the tenant would have through Wednesday to pay the rent.

Question Four: I raised the rent 6 % by serving a 30 day rent increase notice. I now want to raise the rent again by that same amount. Can I serve another 30 day rent increase, even though it has been less than one year since the last increase?

Answer Four: In this instance, you would be required to serve a 60 day rent increase notice. If you raise the rent more than 10 percent in any one year period, a 60 day rent increase is required.

Question Five: I have a single family residence in Los Angeles that was built in 1939. In 1995, I built a separate dwelling unit in the back yard. This is under the Accessory Dwelling Units provisions for the City of Los Angeles. All permits where obtained and the City issued a Certificate of Occupancy for this rear unit. My question is whether this rear unit is under rent control?

Answer Five: Since this unit received a Certificate of Occupancy after October, 1978, it is not subject to rent control. The problem is that your original single family residence is now considered under rent control. You will need to register it and limit your rent increases. Currently, rent increases are limited to 3 % for this year. By building the second unit, you now have two dwellings on one lot which subjects the single family residence to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

Question Six: A previous tenant has come back to claim a bike. They have proof of ownership however, their tenancy ended over four years ago. They are requesting that I show proper documentation that I complied with the laws regarding abandoned personal property. I know I did not fill out forms regarding abandoned personal property and I remember disposing of that bicycle over one year ago. Am I now responsible to pay him for the cost of that bicycle?

Answer Six: You have nothing to worry about. The statute of limitation has long since run on this matter and therefore you are not legally responsible. I would suggest to the former tenant that the storage charges for holding the bicycle for over four years, far exceeds its value.

Question Seven: I have a tenant in Santa Monica who violated his lease by bringing in an unauthorized occupant. I served him with a 3 Day Notice to Perform or Quit and commenced the unlawful detainer action. I lost the case because the judge told me I was required to first serve a warning letter on the tenant. Is this true? It makes no sense.

Answer Seven: The City of Santa Monica, like other municipalities, likes to throw up roadblocks so that landlords will fail in their attempt to evict their tenants. The City requires that a warning letter be sent to the tenant and to the City. In this case, the letter must give at least 14 days’ notice for the tenant to cure the violation. If the violation is not cured, then the landlord may serve a 3 Day Notice to Perform or Quit.

Question Eight: I know we defeated Proposition 10, but I have now learned that my property is now under rent control. My property is located in an unincorporated area of Los AngelesCounty. I do not understand how this could happen.

Answer Eight: The Costa Hawkins Act prevented municipalities from instituting rent control for all units built after February, 1995. It did not prevent the initiation of rent control for units built prior to that date. Under the County law, if your unit was built prior to February of 1995, you are subject to a 3% rent limitation and rents are rolled back to Sept. 11, 2018. You now need “good cause” to evict. Also, they have revamped notice requirements. For example, if you are serving your tenant with a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, you will need to mail a copy of the notice with the proof of service to the County within five days of the service of the notice. The notice must be sent to the County, certified mail return receipt. Failure to do this will invalidate your eviction.

 Dennis Block, of Dennis P. Block & Associates can be reached for information on landlord/tenant law or evictions at any of the following offices:  Los Angeles: 323.938.2868, Encino: 818.986.3147, Inglewood: 310.673.2996, Long Beach:  310.434.5000, Ventura: 805.653.7264, Pasadena: 626.798.1014, Orange: 714.634.8232, San Diego: 619.481.5423 or by visiting www.evict123.com. Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dennisblock or text him at (818) 570-1557.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.

 

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