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Legal Questions September Part 1

Kimball,Tirey & St.John LLP

Questions & Answers

Ted Kimball, Esq.
September, 2012

1. Question:
Our tenant owes us back rent and is stating that he is probably going to file bankruptcy. We’ve
been trying to work with him but are getting nervous now. Do we lose all the back rent if he files


It depends. If he files a Chapter 7, there is little hope. If he files a Chapter 13, you may receive
all or a portion of the back rent.

2. Question:
Our tenant moved, but left items in a locked shed on the premises. We have left messages for
him to give us the key and remove the items, but he has not responded. What should we do?


If you have taken back possession of the unit, you should send him a notice of belief of
abandonment of personal property. If the property is more than $300 in value, you must sell it
through a public sale if not claimed within 18 days of the notice. If it is worth less than $300, you
can dispose of it if not claimed within the 18 days.

3. Question:
If a tenant’s rent is due on the first day of the month and there is no grace period, what is the
earliest date I can serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit?


You can serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit when the rent is legally delinquent. California
law requires that one business day must expire before the rent is considered delinquent. So, if
the first day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, you must wait until the day after the first
business day expires before serving the notice. If the first day falls on a business day, the
notice can be served on the second of the month.

4. Question:
If the landlord accepts a rent payment from someone other than the lessee, does that give them
any rights?


It could if they are occupants of the property. This could convince a court that they are now
tenants under a verbal agreement.

5. Question:
There was a grease fire in one of our rental units due to a tenant’s lack of knowledge of cooking.
What is my obligation to provide alternate accommodations for this tenant? Am I required to
keep her as a renter?


You are not obligated to put the tenant up; she is destroying your unit. You may have a right to
evict her based upon waste of the unit, which requires a 3-day notice to quit.



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