Legal Q&A: Tenants with filthy apartments


Question: We rented to three roommates who all moved in at the same time. One moved out a couple of months ago. and the other two moved out last month. All three were on the rental agreement and one is demanding that we give the entire deposit refund to him because he was the one who paid it. What should we do?

Answer: Either require the roommate to produce a written, notarized statement from the other two roommates granting their permission and consent, or give him a check with all three names as the payee.

Question: I served a three-day notice to pay rent or quit to one of our tenants. I received a partial payment within the three-day period. Do I have to serve another notice for the remainder of the rent or is the notice still good?

Answer:  Under California law, a residential landlord who accepts partial payment of rent demanded on a three-day notice is required to serve a new notice for the balance owed.

Ted Kimball Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Question: How do we get rid of tenants who have filthy units? They always pay on time.

Answer: If the condition of a residential tenant’s apartment unit is creating a health or fire hazard, the landlord should take steps to require the hazard be removed, or if necessary, terminate the tenancy and evict. If the condition does not amount to a health or fire hazard, you may elect to serve a 30-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, or if the lease is a fixed term, do not renew.  If the tenant could have a disability called “hoarding,” you should seek legal advice before proceeding.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. 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. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource library section of our website.

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