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Legal Q & A – by Dennis Block, Attorney

Posted on 01. Feb, 2018 by in all, Magazine Articles

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Question One: We wish to install security cameras in our apartment complex. Do we need to inform the tenants and get their consent? We are trying to prevent vandalism to our property.Answer One: You do not need to inform your tenants on the installation of security cameras that are installed in common areas of the premises. There is one exception. If your cameras also record audio, you would need to post a sign and inform your tenants that their conversations are being recorded.

Question Two: My tenant signed a one-year lease. After six months, he informs me that he will be vacating as his employer is relocating him. Does he have the right to break his lease due to his employment? If not, what am I entitled to charge him?
Answer Two: The fact that your tenant is being transferred does not relieve him of his obligations under the lease agreement. Once the tenant vacates, you have 21 days to account for the security deposit. You will be able to deduct for unusual wear and tear, cleaning and all rent owed until the end of the lease term. If you do lease the premises within this period, you should inform your tenant as to the new amount that would be owed.

Question Three: This is one situation I am sure that you never heard before. I have a laundry room in my building. A homeless person has taken up residency in that area. I called the police and they claim that he has “tenant rights” and that I will need to evict him. This has got to be a joke. Please advise.
Answer Three: You are right! I have never heard of that issue. The police, in this instance, are clearly wrong. You have two options.  I assume this person has been occupying this area less than 30-days. Once the person leaves the laundry room, merely lock the door so that he cannot gain access.  There is no basis under law that he has gained any possessory interest to your property.  Another option would be to go to the police department and demand to speak to the watch commander. I am confident that this person will realize the police officer was incorrect in refusing to remove the occupant.

Question Four: Is there a requirement to disclose to prospective tenants that an apartment was previously infested with bedbugs? It has been treated successfully and has passed inspection.
Answer Four: There is no requirement that you disclose this fact to prospective tenants. Under the new California law, landlords are prohibited from showing a unit that has a current bed bug infestation. Landlords are required to give all tenants a written notice regarding the new bed bug laws. This form can be obtained from the AOA. Lastly, the law prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant who gives notice of a suspected bed bug infestation.

Question Five: I served a tenant a 60-day notice to vacate. My unit is not under rent control. I served the notice by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. The tenant refused to sign for the letter and it was returned to me. My tenant therefore does not have notice that he is being evicted. Is this still considered proper service?
Answer Five: Unlike a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, a 60-day notice can be served by Certified Mail. The law does not require that the tenant receive the notice. It only requires that the notice be served by Certified Mail. Since you have complied with the statute, your notice is considered to be legally served. I would mail a courtesy copy to your tenant by regular mail and include a letter stating that the 60-day notice period commenced upon the sending of the Certified Mail. As a practical issue, the law should not reward a person who chooses not to receive a legal document.

Question Six: I have a tenant who was assigned a parking space pursuant to his lease agreement. Lately, he has been parking an oversized, unsightly truck in this space. My property is under rent control. What options do I have?
Answer Six: Check the terms of your lease agreement. Most leases, including the AOA lease states that the parking space is limited to passenger automobiles only. If this is the case, you could issue a 3-day notice to perform or quit to remove this truck. If your tenant fails to comply, this would be grounds for eviction.

Question Seven: I just listed a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. Is it legal to limit the amount of persons that can occupy the unit?
Answer Seven: Fair Housing states that the general rule of thumb is two persons per bedroom plus one. Based on this formula, five persons can occupy your unit. This is not a specific law, but rather a guideline.

Question Eight: I have an apartment house in the City of San Diego. I have a tenant who is currently on a month to month tenancy and has been with me for over three years. Occasionally, I get noise complaints regarding her late night activities. May I just serve a 60-day notice to vacate?
Answer Eight: San Diego has instituted a requirement of “good cause” in order to terminate a month to month. This is for tenancies where a tenant has occupied the premises two years or longer. If your tenant is creating a nuisance, that would constitute good cause. If a lawsuit is filed, it would require that other residents testify as to the conduct of this tenant. It will be necessary for you provide the tenant a written 60-day notice to quit, which recites the grounds under which the landlord is proceeding.

Be advised that our firm is now handling tenant eviction actions in San Diego County. If you have a question, please feel free to call our office. Our local number in San Diego is (619) 481-5423.

 

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: 714.634.823, 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.  Get the NEW App for iPhone or Android phones. Search for “EVICT123“.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.