News: Compliance

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Question: I would be interested in knowing what to do when a resident is demanding a repair be made inside of their apartment, but at the same time is demanding that none of the on-site maintenance staff complete the repair. Do we hire an outside vendor or must the resident allow the staff that is available to complete the repair? Answer: You should find out the reason the resident does not want on-site staff to do the repair.  You have the right to choose who should do the repairs for your apartment units.

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Question: One of our residents brought in a roommate without my permission or consent. We have a clause in our lease prohibiting assignments or sublets of the lease. How do I prove the tenant is in violation of the lease? Answer: In many cases it is difficult to prove because many times the claim is that they are just overnight guests. However, if there is enough circumstantial evidence, such as receiving mail at the premises, traveling to and from work, using the laundry and other facilities regularly, you will have enough proof to satisfy most judges. Question: If we serve… Read More

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Question: Can I refuse to show the premises to a prospective resident because he or she is obviously intoxicated? Answer: Yes, if you are concerned about your safety or just wasting your time, you can refuse to show the premises to an intoxicated applicant. However, make sure the person is really intoxicated and not just under a physical or mental disability. In order to enter in a binding agreement, the parties must not be temporarily incapacitated by intoxication.

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Question: Several weeks ago, during a windstorm, a large tree fell on my tenant’s car. The tenant thinks I am responsible for the damages, but my insurance company says I am not. Answer: Unless you were negligent in the way you maintained the tree, you are not liable.

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Question: New tenants signed our lease and paid the first month’s rent. Now they want to get out of the lease. They did not take possession. Answer: When the tenant signs a lease, they are bound by the terms whether or not they change their mind later.

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Question: Can a three-day notice be served for the cost of damage to the unit caused by a resident? A 5-year-old flooded an upstairs carpeted room, resulting in carpet repair and drywall repair of the ceiling downstairs. The standard lease form in effect clearly provides for the tenant to pay in this circumstance. Answer: So long as your lease does not provide otherwise, you can serve a three-day notice to perform conditions or covenants in writing demanding the resident pay for the repair.

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Question: Do we have to take pictures of the apartment before a resident moves in? Answer: Although there is no legal requirement that you take pictures before a tenant moves in, it is a very smart thing to do, especially when you compare your pictures of what the premises looked like to when the tenant moved out.  It makes it easy for a judge to see the damage.  Just make sure your pictures are dated, including time of day, and are of good quality.

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Question: Our new residents, who are college kids, are driving the neighbors crazy with their partying, and they are only one month into their one-year lease.  What kind of notice do I need to serve? Answer: If the disturbances are major and continuous, or if the police have to be called, you may be able to serve a three-day notice based upon nuisance and commence the unlawful detainer action if they fail to vacate pursuant to the notice.

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Question: How long does an unlawful detainer judgment stay on the tenant’s record? Answer: As with all judgments, it is valid for 10 years as far as collection goes, but the credit-reporting agencies keep this information for seven years.  The judgment also accrues interest at 10 percent per annum, and can be renewed for an additional 10 years.

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In light of recent litigation, the California Apartment Association is urging members to read the association’s compliance paper on late fees.

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