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Neil Fjellestad's Blog

RentSenseBlog.com

By Neil Fjellestad | Property Manager in San Diego County, CA

FBS Condos & Apartment Homes For Rent in Solana Beach, CA

Rent Sense: Preventative Legal is an Ongoing Requirement (part 11)

I have asked Ted Kimball to regularly share some of his legal insights on important issues that arise in the ongoing operation of rental properties (single homes, individual condos and apartments). These responses should not be construed as legal advice until your specific circumstances are considered. Our Property Management firm has effectively utilized the legal counsel of KTS for years to keep ourselves and our rental owner clients out of trouble. We operate rental properties in 69 zip codes throughout the region. Neil

Question: Our tenants were supposed to move out in two weeks. However, the house they were moving into is not completed and they need to stay for another fifteen days. I have no problem with this, but my question to you is what if they do not vacate on time?

Answer: You should have them sign an extension of their lease so if they fail to vacate you can proceed with an action for unlawful detainer.

Question: When you return a security deposit disposition to the vacating tenant, what is the statute of limitations if they do not agree with the deductions and wish to sue in small claims court?

Answer: If your rental or lease agreement was in writing, the statute of limitations is four years. If the agreement was verbal, it is two years. The time starts to run from the date of the alleged breach.

Question: My renter was backing downstairs carrying a 38-pound bag of clothes and fell and broke her wrist. Can I be sued and a judgment obtained against me?

Answer: You would only be liable if you were negligent in the way you maintained the stairs and your negligence was a proximate cause of the injury. You should notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible.

Question: Our window was broken by a golf ball hit by the tenant of a neighboring property. They admitted
they owed me for a new window but moved away before I could collect on it. Is the owner of the property responsible because it was their tenant?

Answer: The owner of rental property is not normally responsible for the unforeseeable acts of their tenant. In order for the owner to be liable, you would have to prove that the owner knew or should have known his tenant would have caused physical damage to your property, and the owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect your property from harm.

Question: One of our residents admitted to breaking a window in his unit. Our management company wants to make the repair and deduct it from his security deposit. Please give us your opinion if our management company is using proper procedures.

Answer: A resident is liable for damage to the unit caused by any resident or their guests and invitees. The owner/manager, however, can make the repairs and require the resident to reimburse them for the costs of repair. The owner/manager can either deduct the amount from the resident’s security deposit or serve the resident with a 3-day notice to pay for the repair. If the resident fails to do so within 3 days, the eviction process may begin.

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