July KTS Legal Questions Part 4

16. Question:
One of our tenants has a guest who has been verbally abusive to me whenever I ask him who
he is visiting. We have a large apartment community with many amenities and we need to be
careful that complete strangers are not using our facilities. What can I do?

Answer:

A tenant is responsible for the conduct of his guests. Rude conduct and behavior for enforcing
reasonable rules may lead to your decision to not renew the tenant’s lease when it expires. If it
continues or escalates to a major disturbance, an eviction can be filed. Be sure you are not
asking “some” guests who they are visiting to avoid claims of discrimination.

17. Question:
I have a tenant who always “races” his car in the parking area. We have families with small
children and a posted five mile per hour speed limit. What can I do to make him stop?

Answer:

Creating safety hazards on the premises in a continuous manner may be good grounds for
eviction based upon the nuisance activity. If the reckless manner in which he operates his
vehicle continues after warnings, a three-day notice to quit may be served.

18. Question:
I have a tenant who left her window open when it rained causing water damage to the floor.
She said she did not have to pay for the damage because we have insurance for this type of
thing and we did not lose anything. What should I tell her?

Answer:

Your insurance has nothing to do with a tenant’s responsibility for negligence. If your insurance
paid for the damage, they would have the right to be reimbursed by the tenant who caused the
water damage. You would also be able to recover the deductible you paid. If the tenant has
renter’s insurance, he/she may be covered for this type of loss.

19. Question:
We had to evict a real trouble-maker recently, but he keeps coming back to the property to use
the swimming pool and jacuzzi. He is not anyone’s guest and some of the residents are
frightened of him. What should I do?

Answer:

Calling the police for a criminal trespass and disturbance of the peace is the first recommended
action.

20. Question:
I have a suspicion that one of our tenants falsified his application by giving me a different name
and social security number than his own. If I can prove this, what are my rights? I have a six-
month lease and he just moved in.

Answer:

If you could prove the falsification and you would not have rented to him had you known the true
set of facts, the lease would be deemed based upon fraud and set aside. You could bring a
successful unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit to regain possession of the premises.

21. Question:
My evicted tenant left the property voluntarily three days before the sheriff was scheduled to do
the lock-out. Is it wise to keep the appointment or should I just cancel?

Answer:

In some cases, it only appears that the tenant has vacated voluntarily. A wrong guess could
lead to problems. Many property managers elect to meet the sheriff for the official lock-out. Some property managers decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to take possession
prior to the sheriff’s arrival.

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.

© 2012 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP

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