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Question: Is the legal age for leaseholders over 18 or over 17? Answer: The legal age to contract in California (including leases) is 18 or over. However, if the underage person is “emancipated” (is or has been married, in active military duty or by court order), he or she does have the ability to enter into binding contracts and leases.

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Question: I heard that if a tenant is using drugs on a property, the landlord can be charged on a drug charge, is this true? Answer: A landlord can be cited for maintaining a drug-related nuisance if he or she does not take reasonable steps to remove the illegal drug activity from the property. The local enforcement agency must first advise the landlord of the nuisance.

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Question: We rent garages out to our residents. One of the residents moved a bed and some furniture in the garage, and we believe someone is sleeping there. What can we do to make sure we do not have any issues with the use of the garage as a bedroom? Answer: If you have a separate month-to-month agreement for the garage, you can choose to terminate the garage rental with a 30-day notice, or you can serve a notice to perform conditions or quit if the garage was to be used for storage purposes only. This could be more difficult… Read More

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Question: At my property, we are currently doing renovations, and have notified all the residents that there will be noise and water shut-offs. One resident said they are entitled to rent discounts because of the situation, is it true? Answer: There is no “automatic” reduction in rent allowed for temporary shut off of water, and/or noise created by renovation or routine maintenance.

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Question: After a tenant moves out and gives their change of address to the post office, how long are the landlords responsible for any correspondence that may still arrive at their former address? Answer: You should let the post office do their job, and if the forwarding address has expired, give it back to the post office and indicate that the person no longer resides at the mailing address. We do not recommend you help accommodate your former tenant by playing “post office.”

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Question: I need to know the depreciation schedule of new carpeting in a home where the tenant lived for one year. The tenant put five cigarette burn holes in the carpet and spilled wax on the corner of this brand new carpet. Answer: California’s security deposit law found in Civil Code Section 1950.5 states that the resident is responsible for damage above normal wear and tear. If the carpet needs to be replaced after one year and it should have lasted for five years, most judges will allow you to charge the resident 4/5 of the total replacement costs.

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Question: Can we legally restrict the number of automobiles our tenants can park on the property? There is open parking but some of our tenants have four or five cars. Answer: You have the right to control the number of automobiles that the tenant may park on the property. Clear guidelines should be given in writing and equally enforced.

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Question: Several of our tenants have complained to us about the neighboring property. The people who live there work on their cars in the driveway at all hours and have loud and wild parties almost each weekend until dawn. What are my legal responsibilities? Answer: You have a right to inform the owner of the neighboring property and request their assistance in resolving the problem. Recommend that your residents contact the police during the time of the disturbances.

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Question: One of our tenants recently requested that we paint the inside of her apartment. She has threatened to do it herself and deduct the cost of the paint from the rent if we do not have it painted within the next two weeks. Is she legally able to carry out her threat? Answer: Unless the condition of the walls rendered the premises uninhabitable, the owner is under no obligation to paint the unit at the request of the tenant.

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Question: If a one-year residential lease is broken, what becomes of the security deposit? Answer: Once the tenants have vacated the premises and the landlord has taken over possession, the time to account for the use of the security deposit (normally 21 days) begins. The deposit can be used for any monies owed the landlord including delinquent rent.

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