Legal Questions May 2013 Part 2

6. Question: When not renewing a one-year lease, do I have to give the tenants a reason for  not extending their lease?

Answer: California law does not require landlords to give their tenants a reason why they are  not renewing the lease, unless the property is situated in a “just cause” rent controlled  jurisdiction.

7. Question: How can you enforce the pool rules where someone continuously leaves  underage children in the pool area?

Answer: You can document each incident, write them a warning letter and, if the violations persist, commence eviction actions.

8. Question: New tenants moved in last month. The wife now wants me to take her name off  the lease because she is moving out and getting a divorce. They agreed to a one-year lease.  What can I do?

Answer: You are not legally required to release the wife from liability under the lease. If you do,  and the husband is unable to pay or declares bankruptcy, you would not be able to pursue your  losses from the wife.

9. Question: One of our tenants owes us for past due rent, and part of his security deposit.  He has given us a check for the amount of the rent, but I want to first apply it to the deposit and then serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit for the unpaid balance. Is that legal?

Answer: Yes, but only if the tenant did not designate where the money was to be applied on his check, or other written correspondence. You could avoid the issue by applying the payment to rent and then serving a three-day notice to pay the balance of the deposit, or quit. Failure to pay could lead to a successful eviction.

10. Question: What can you do about a tenant being cruel to an animal such as keeping a large dog in small quarters outside with the dog crying in the rain, cold and heat?

Answer: You have a right to report any criminal or inhumane acts occurring on the rental property. If the mistreatment constitutes a crime, you could evict the tenant for carrying on illegal activity on the premises.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions and Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the Resource Library section of our website. Thank you.

© 2013 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP

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