Legal Questions February 2013 Part 2
7. Question: I have a tenant who has rented from me for a couple years. Her husband left the
family. She asked me about Section 8. Would it be discrimination if I did not choose to get
involved with Section 8?
Answer: You do not have to participate in the Section 8 program and it is not considered
discriminatory to make that decision. Source of income protection only applies to payments that
go directly to the tenant.
8. Question: If I suspect drug activity in an apartment, can I evict the residents?
Answer: Yes, but unless you are on a month-to-month agreement, you must have evidence of
the drug-related activity. Otherwise, you may serve a 60 or 30-day notice to quit based upon
9. Question: I am planning to rent to three adult roommates. I know they all have to fill out
separate applications. But, how do I handle the security deposit? Do I ask each tenant for 1/3?
Answer: You should charge one deposit and not account for it until all tenants vacate. Make
this clear in your lease so that if one tenant vacates, it is up to his or her former roommates to
10. Question: I have reason to believe that a single tenant has moved out from my rental
property and has an arrangement with a third party couple now in residence. How do I best
legally remove them and take back my apartment?
Answer: You can serve a 3-day notice to perform conditions and covenants or quit if your lease
has a prohibition against subletting or assignment of the lease, or, if there is a provision limiting
residency to named occupants.
11. Question: I have an applicant for an apartment who informed me that she had bad credit
because of her ex-husband’s irresponsibility. Her current employer has offered to co-sign. Is
this a good idea to accept him as a co-signor, and how would this be done?
Answer: You should first determine whether or not you are going to have a policy of accepting
applicants with bad credit on the condition they have a co-signor, in order to stay within fair
housing laws. You should then decide what criteria the co-signor must meet, such as credit
history, income, residency in the local area or at least in the state. Finally, require the co-signor
to sign a separate guarantor agreement reviewed by legal counsel.
12. Question: We lease out a condominium and do not wish to renew the lease when it
expires. Should we give a 90-, 60-or 30-day notice? What form should we use to terminate the
Answer: California law does not require any notice prior to a fixed lease expiration. However,
examine your lease since many leases do require a notice of intent of non-renewal. Typically,
they are for 30 days. It is always a good idea to communicate your intentions to your tenants as
early as possible and document the communication.
This article is for general information purposes only. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice.
Ted Kimball is a partner with Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP. The law firm specializes in landlord/tenant,
collections, fair housing and business and real estate, with offices throughout California. Property
owner’s and manager’s with questions regarding the contents of this article, please call 800.338.6039.