1. One of our tenants guests broke a window at the recreation room by throwing a ball through it. The host tenant claims he should not be responsible for the damage because it occurred outside the apartment. He also refuses to give me any information about the person how caused the damage. What can I do?
Answer: In California, tenants are liable for the negligence of their guest while on the premises. The premises not only includes the actual rental unit, but the common areas as well. Therefore the tenant and tenants guest are jointly liable.
2. I have a tenant who is on a long term lease. Recently the tenant brought in a roommate and has been out of town for over 30 days. I am concerned that the roommate intends on staying and that my original tenant may have moved out for good. What are my legal options?
Answer: If you have a clause in your lease which prohibits the assignment or sublet of your lease agreement, you do not have to consent to the roommate. You could ask the roommate to fill out an application to rent and thereby identify who the roommate is. Once identified, you could choose to either allow the roommate to live there if he meets your qualifications, and sign the lease or start eviction procedures based upon the breach of the assignment and sublet clause of your lease.
3. My great grandfather died and left me his home. I am trying to rent the house and my Realtor told me that I am required to inform prospective tenants of the death of grandfather because he died in the home. Is this really true? If so, what is the purpose of this crazy law?
Answer: Because it has been deemed to be a material fact to consider when purchasing or renting a home, California requires sellers and landlords to inform prospective purchasers and tenants if a death occurred in the premises during the last 3 years, unless the death was caused by an HIV related illness.
4. I want to rent out our condo and I need to know how much I can charge for a security deposit. Can I also charge a cleaning, pet, and key deposit?
Answer: California law limits the amount of a residential security deposit to twice the mount of monthly rent if unfurnished and three times the amount if furnished. All deposits taken together cannot exceed these limits.
5. The lease for one of my tenants expires at the end of this month, He told me to take the months rent out of his security deposit because he would leave the apartment clean and in good repair. He told me since it is his deposit, he has the right to deduct rent out of the deposit?
Answer: California law requires the owner or manager to account for the use of the deposit no later than 21 days from the date the tenant vacated the unit. The law also provides that the deposit shall not be used without the owners permission until after the tenant vacates. Since the tenant has failed to pay rent, a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit may be served. If the tenant fails to comply, an eviction may commence to produce a judgement for possession and monetary losses.
Ted Kimball is a partner with Kimball, Tirey and St John LLP. If you have any questions please call 800.338.6039