Legal Questions Jan 2013- Part 2

8. Question: Can we legally restrict the number of automobiles our tenants can park on the
property? There is open parking but some of our tenants have four or five cars.

Answer: You have the right to control the number of automobiles that the tenant may park on
the property. Clear guidelines should be given in writing and equally enforced.

9. Question: After serving a tenant with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, what is my next
step if the tenant does not comply? Serving a thirty-day notice?

Answer: Your next step would be to file the unlawful detainer (tenant eviction) in the proper
court. Each court has geographical boundaries, so you should make sure you are filing the
action in the court of proper venue.

10. Question: We allow pets on our property but only in certain units. Sometimes there are no
pet units available. Is this policy legal?

Answer: It is in the landlord’s discretion to allow or not allow pets or to allow them only in
certain units. Just make sure your policy does not apply to service animals which are not
considered pets.

11. Question: Our lease says that upon termination of the lease, the arrangement
automatically becomes month-to-month. Any problems?

Answer: If the tenant remains in possession after the expiration of a fixed term lease, and the
landlord accepts a monthly rental payment, California law presumes the lease term to be monthto-
month under the same terms of the lease. If the lease is properly drafted, it can require the
lease automatically revert to a month-to-month agreement.

12. Question: A tenant’s child broke a glass shower door. Can I charge the tenant for the
repair of the door?

Answer: The tenant is liable for any damage done by its invitees, guests or other occupants of
the premises. The tenant should have to pay for the repair of the door.

13. Question: After a tenant moves out and gives their change of address to the post office,
how long are the landlords responsible for any correspondence that may still arrive at their
former address?

Answer: You should let the post office do their job and if the forwarding address has expired,
give it back to the post office and indicate that the person no longer resides at the mailing
address. We do not recommend you help accommodate your former tenant by playing “post
office.”

14. Question: I need to know the depreciation schedule of new carpeting in a home where the
tenant lived for one year. The tenant put 5 cigarette burn holes in the carpet and spilled wax on
the corner of this brand new carpet.

Answer: California’s security deposit law found in Civil Code Section 1950.5 states that the
resident is responsible for damage above normal wear and tear. If the carpet needs to be
replaced after one year and it should have lasted for five years, most judges will allow you to
charge the resident 4/5 of the total replacement costs.

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