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EVICTION OF TENANT BY BOARD

Q. 
Can the board of directors of our homeowners association evict the tenant of a member if the tenant is violating rules of the association?

A. 
No. Only the owner of a property can evict the tenant. If the tenant is violating rules of the Association, the board of directors should take action against the member. This can be in the form of a nuisance lawsuit or fines. Some associations have included language in their CC&Rs allowing the association to evict tenants. I believe this is a dangerous approach. Top


MANAGEMENT OF RENTAL HOMES

Q. 
The management company of our homeowners association offers rental services to those members who desire to lease their units. Will permitting the management company to represent individual members in renting out their units create a conflict of interest?

A. 
It will not create a conflict of interest, but it will create a potential conflict of interest. Not withstanding the fact that a conflict could arise, it is my opinion that permitting the management company to represent individual members in renting their units is generally good for the association. When a management company rents a unit within an association, it normally takes the steps required to screen the potential tenants. Thus, it is more likely that the tenants will comply with the Rules and Regulations of the association. Top


SECURITY DEVICES

Q. 
We rent a home in Inglewood which was recently burglarized.  We were not home at the time.  The burglar was able to pry open a window.  What is a landlord's obligation relating to security devices?

A. 
Civil Code 1941.3 requires a landlord (with some exceptions) to install and maintain operable window security or locking devices.  In addition, a landlord is required to install and maintain an operable deadbolt on each swinging entry door.  The code also sets forth various acceptable security devices for sliding glass doors that will satisfy a landlord's duty.  The code section provides detailed specifications to be followed. Top


USE OF COMMON AREA BY TENANTS

Q. 
Can an owner's tenants and guests use the common area recreational facilities?

A. 
Yes, however, some CC&Rs place certain restrictions on use by guests. Top


ATTENDANCE OF MEETINGS BY TENANTS

Q. 
The board of directors of our homeowners association will not permit renters to attend board meetings. Can they legally do this?

A. 
Yes. Civil Code Section 1363.05 permits owners to attend board meetings other than executive sessions to consider litigation, contracts with third parties, member discipline, or personnel matters. The code does not authorize renters to attend.

Notwithstanding the Code, a board may permit renters to attend board meetings and it is generally a good practice to allow them to attend, assuming they act appropriately. It is also a good practice for a board to have a sign in sheet at all meetings in order to account for all people attending. Top


SAFETY GLASS

Q. 
My rental home in Reseda was built before shower doors and sliding glass doors were required to have safety glass. My property has standard glass in both the shower doors and sliding glass door. I prefer not to spend the money to replace the glass. Is it necessary?

A. 
I strongly recommend that you replace the ordinary (annealed) glass with tempered glass or laminated glass, both of which are considered safety glass. Ordinary glass can break into dangerous shards that can cause horrific lacerations, resulting in major injuries and possibly death. The cost of replacement is nominal when contrasted to the possible harm from an accident.

Replacing ordinary annealed glass with safety glass will help to prevent injuries resulting, in part, from common accidents as well as earthquakes, wind storms, and even explosions.     Top


DISCOURAGING RENTERS

Q. 
Is it possible to amend our CC&Rs so as to discourage renters?

A. 
Yes. While courts discourage unreasonable provisions to prevent owners from renting their properties, there are a number of ways to do so in a reasonable way. You should contact an attorney whose practice includes this area of law. Not all attorneys have the experience to amend governing documents for common interest developments.     Top


FORECLOSURE OF RENTAL HOME

Q. 
I am a renter in a home in Malibu that is being foreclosed. The owner of the home was sued and has a large judgment against her. The judgment creditor has made a demand that I pay the rents to her which I am doing. The judgment creditor is pocketing the rents and is not paying the lender which is the reason for the foreclosure. The owner will not return my security deposit and now refuses to make needed repairs. What should I do?

A. 
You should consult with a real estate attorney who will want to review your lease agreement and the Order to Pay Rents. After reviewing the documents, the attorney will probably advise you to do the following:

  • Give a move-out notice to the owner and judgment creditor and then move out;
  • Withhold your security deposit and last months rent;
  • Request an inspection of the premises by the owner ten days before you actually move;
  • Remove all of your personal property;
  • Leave the premises in reasonably clean condition;
  • Turn off all utilities; and
  • Leave the key inside the premises on the kitchen counter
Again, I must emphasize that your action should be preceded by a consultation with a real estate lawyer who will need to review the relevant documents.

Remember, if you do not move out and the judgment creditor refuses to use the rent to pay the lender, the lender will foreclose and evict you. Since the eviction process in California is very short, you should plan ahead.     Top


TENANT CAN'T PAY RENT

Q. 
I am a renter who was recently sued by my landlord. The court ordered me to pay rent, but I don’t have the money. I own my own small business and don’t expect to have the money for many months. What should I do? What can he do? I own very little.

A. 
Move out of the property as soon as possible if you cannot pay the rent. This will mitigate the landlord’s damages by permitting him or her to rent the property to another tenant. Since you are not an employee, the landlord cannot garnish your wages. They can seize funds from a personal bank account. There are other actions they can take, but the amount owing is likely to dictate their course of action. I recommend that you discuss the details with a real estate attorney who can advise you on how to minimize your liability.     Top





Landlord - Tenant Law - FAQ



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