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Neil Fjellestad's Blog

RentSenseBlog.com

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

Rent Sense for Mira Mesa 92126

Preventative Legal is an Ongoing Requirement (part 8)

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


1. What is the procedure when a death occurs in an apartment?

Answer: When the tenant dies, the lease is terminated if month-to-month, otherwise the estate of the deceased is liable for rent up to the date the lease expires or the premises are relet.

2. We have a rental property that has a house and a studio in the back, separate from the house. The phone works in the house; however, the phone is not working in the studio. Both the house and the studio are rented by the same family. As I understand it, the owner must provide one working phone jack. Is that per house or per property?

Answer: Residential landlords are required to install at least one usable telephone jack and inside wiring

for any building intended for the residential occupation of human beings.

3. I recently purchased a triplex, and the escrow will be closing in a couple of days. The tenants are currently on a month-to-month rental agreement. Do I have to wait until the end of the month or can I serve a 30-day notice as soon as I take possession of the property?

Answer: You can serve a 30-day notice at any time in a month-to-month tenancy. You do not need to wait until the end of the month. You are also entitled to rent for the 30-day time period. If all of the tenants in the unit have been a resident for more than one year, a 60-day notice is required to be served.

4. I rented to a couple who were constantly late in their rent payments. I went over to collect the rent and it looks like they have moved out. There are still some personal items here and there. What should I do?

Answer: If you are sure they have vacated the premises, you can take over possession and store the personal items in a reasonably safe place for 18 days after you send a notice of abandonment of personal property to their last known address. If they do not claim the property in that time period, and it is less than $300.00 in value, you can dispose of it any way you see fit. If it is more than $300.00 in value, you must sell it through a public sale and give the profits to the county.

5.  I have heard five different answers from five different people. Please, tell me what I can legally deduct from my tenant’s security deposit.

Answer: Rights and obligations regarding a residential tenants’ security deposit are governed byCalifornia Civil Code Section 1950.5. It is clear that you can use the deposit for cleaning,delinquent rent and damages above ordinary wear and tear. What is considered ordinary “wear and tear” is subject to a variety of opinions by judges. In order to convince a court that the damages were extraordinary, check-in and check-out records of the condition of the apartment,pictures, receipts and opinions from those who did the work make the job of determining ordinary wear and tear easier for the court to decide.

 
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