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Question: One of our tenants is moving out, but the roommate wants to stay and invite a friend of hers to take the outgoing tenants’ place. How do we indicate this on the lease? Answer: One way is to draw up a new lease, assuming the new person meets your rental standards, with new signatures unless you want to hold the vacating tenant responsible for the remainder of their lease. In that event, simply add the new tenant to the lease and have them sign. Question: Our tenants deposit their rent directly into our bank account. This has worked well… Read More

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Question: One of our tenants was recently arrested and is incarcerated. How does this affect his lease? Is it considered abandonment? Answer: The incarceration of a tenant does not have a legal effect on the tenant’s right under the lease. If the tenant breaches any part of the lease agreement, such as non-payment of rent, the landlord may take legal steps to evict, and can serve notices to the tenant while in jail. Question: One of our residents is a day sleeper and complains about the noisy children next door. They are under school age, and I don’t know how… Read More

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Question: I have a former tenant who claims that, since she had a one-year lease, she is not obligated to give a 30-day notice. Is this true? Answer: There is no statutory requirement that a 30-day notice of non-renewal be given during a fixed-term lease, but if the lease requires a notice of non-renewal and she fails to give one, she is in breach of the lease and can be liable for any losses you suffer as a result. Question: Can an apartment community charge a monthly pet rent and pet deposit to have a pet? Answer: Yes, so long… Read More

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Question: If I gave a resident a 30-day notice of rent increase which ends on the 10th of the following month, can I charge the resident pro-rated rent for the first nine days at the daily rental value before the rent increase and the other 21 days at the daily rental value of the increased amount? Answer: Yes, the rent increase is effective 30 calendar days from the date of service of the increase. The notice has to be for 60 days if the rent increase is more than 10 percent from what it was one year before. Question: Is… Read More

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Question: Must three-day notices to pay rent or quit be served to all delinquent tenants at the same time? We manage a large apartment community and sometimes have a multiple of notices to serve. Answer: California law does not require that you serve three-day notices to all delinquent residents at the same time. It is a good idea to do so, however, in order to avoid the appearance of favoritism or discriminatory conduct. Question: Our tenants have a one-year lease. They gave me a 30-day notice of intent to vacate two months short of the one-year lease expiration. What should… Read More

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Question: One of my residents recently had her phone line repaired.  The telephone company charged her $60. She did not notify us of the problem before ordering the repair.  We could have made the repair ourselves at much less cost. The tenant wants me to pay the bill. What do you think? Answer: California law deems owners of rental property responsible for the inside wiring to the property. However, tenants must first give landlords notice of a needed repair and provide a reasonable time to make the repair before undertaking a self-help action. You shouldn’t have to pay more than… Read More

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Question: We lease out a condominium and do not wish to renew the lease when it expires. Should we give a 90-, 60- or 30-day notice? What form should we use to terminate the lease? Answer: California law does not require any notice prior to a fixed-lease expiration. However, examine your lease since many leases do require a notice of intent of non-renewal. Typically, they are for 30 days. It is always a good idea to communicate your intentions to your tenants as early as possible and document the communication. Question: Can you tell me if someone needs any kind… Read More

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Question: I am planning to rent to three adult roommates. I know they all have to fill out separate applications. But, how do I handle the security deposit?  Do I ask each tenant for one-third? Answer: You should charge one deposit and not account for it until all tenants vacate. Make this clear in your lease so that if one tenant vacates, it is up to his or her former roommates to get reimbursed. Question: I have reason to believe that a single tenant has moved out from my rental property and has an arrangement with a third-party couple now… Read More

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Question: I have tenants who have a written rental agreement for their apartment. They pay $785 per month. They also rent the garage at $50, but there is no written agreement for the garage, either separately or in the rental agreement. If we give the tenant a three-day notice to pay at $835, would it be enforceable in court? Answer: Since the terms of the garage rental are unclear, it would be safer to serve two three-day notices, one for the apartment rent and one for the garage rent. They could be served simultaneously. Question: I have a tenant who… Read More

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Question: A tenant claims her attorney told her that since she did “quit” after we gave her the three-day notice, she is not responsible for the balance of the rent for that month.  Is she correct? Answer: Her attorney is wrong. Even if a tenant “quits” pursuant to a notice to perform or quit, the tenant is still liable for lost future rent. 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 under age person is “emancipated” (is or has… Read More

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