Legal Questions Jan 2013 Part 1

Kimball,Tirey&St.JohnLLP

Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers

Ted Kimball, Esq.
January, 2013

1. Question: A tenant wants to use the last month’s rent, which was paid at the time of the
lease signing, for this month’s unpaid rent. If he is not moving out, can he do so?

Answer: Not unless your rental agreement provides that the tenant can use the last month’s
rent deposit at any time, which it should not do.

2. Question: Can we use a recent Section 8 inspection report as a standard of habitability in
an eviction case?

Answer: The court will allow any relevant evidence that tends to prove the condition the
premises during the time in question. Since the purpose of the inspection is to qualify the unit
as habitable and in compliance with HUD regulations, the report may be considered as
evidence of the condition of the premises at the time of the inspection, but the custodian of
records may have to testify as to the accuracy of the report.

3. Question: One of our tenants recently requested that we paint the inside of her apartment.
She has threatened to do it herself and deduct the cost of the paint from the rent if we do not
have it painted within the next two weeks. Is she legally able to carry out her threat?

Answer: Unless the condition of the walls rendered the premises uninhabitable, the owner is
under no obligation to paint the unit at the request of the tenant.

4. Question: Several of our tenants have complained to us about the neighboring property.
The people who live there work on their cars in the driveway at all hours, and have loud and wild
parties almost each weekend until dawn. What are my legal responsibilities?

Answer: You have a right to inform the owner of the neighboring property and request their
assistance, in resolving the problem. Recommend that your residents contact the police during
the time of the disturbances.

5. Question: What is the most useful information on the tenant’s application for collection
purposes?

Answer: The most useful for locating former residents, are the social security, driver’s license
and license plate numbers. For collection on judgments, current employment and bank account
records are the most valuable.

6. Question: I rent out a condo that I own. Are the rules and regulation of the homeowner’s
association automatically applicable to my tenant?

Answer: Not automatically; your residential lease should incorporate by reference the CC &
R’s of the homeowner’s association and all rules and regulations. That way if there is a breach
of the association rules, you can serve an appropriate notice to perform or terminate the lease.

7. Question: What is an estoppel certificate? The owner of the property I manage requested
that each of the tenants sign an estoppel certificate. I did not want to appear unknowledgeable.

Answer: An estoppel certificate is a document signed by the tenant certifying that the major
terms of the lease are true and correct. Estoppel certificates are sometimes required during the
sale of rental property so the buyer knows that the tenant understands and agrees to the major
terms of the lease.

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