Legal Questions April Part 2

8. Question: One of our residents is a day sleeper and complains about the noisy children next
door. They are under school age and I don’t know how or if I should enforce excessive noise.

Answer: Most courts recognize that apartment living is in closer proximity than single family
homes and occupants must be more tolerant of disruptions, considering also the time of day or
night and the cause of the disruption. If the noise the children make is not excessive for
daytime tolerance, it is likely there is no violation of the lease or community rules. Having
another witness to the noise would be helpful to see which side you end up on!

9. Question: One of our month-to-month residents gave a thirty-day notice to vacate the unit
and now it is the thirtieth day and he refuses to move. What can I do now? Do I have to serve
him with my thirty-day notice?
Answer: If the tenant’s notice was in writing, the tenant is legally bound to vacate the unit within
the thirty-day time frame. Failure to do so allows you to immediately file an action for unlawful
detainer (tenant eviction).
10. Question: One of our tenants is moving out, but the roommate wants to stay and invite a
friend of hers to take the out-going tenants’ place. How do we indicate this on the lease?

Answer: One way is to draw up a new lease, assuming the new person meets your rental
standards, with new signatures unless you want to hold the vacating tenant responsible for the
remainder of their lease. In that event, simply add the new tenant to the lease and have them
sign.
11. Question: Our tenants deposit their rent directly into our bank account. This has worked
well because we know exactly when the rent has been paid. Now we need to evict for nonpayment
of rent. Can they still deposit the rent and if so, have I hurt my case?

Answer: Acceptance of rent after an unlawful detainer action (tenant eviction) has been filed is
a waiver of the right to evict in many cases. To avoid this possible defense, write your tenant a
letter documenting that you are not going to accept any more rent. Periodically check your
deposits and if rent was paid, send it back as soon as possible.
12. Question: I am a first time landlord and I rented my condo with a two-year lease. Now I
need to sell and have been told that my tenant is the one with all the rights. What are my
rights?
Answer: You have the right to sell the property and the buyer would “step into your shoes” as
landlord and must honor the lease. The tenant must also allow access to the property to
prospective purchasers, agents, etc…
13. Question: I am considering leasing to a corporation for use by their relocating personnel
and/or short time visitors. Who/what do I name as the tenant (s) to assure that any future legal
action can be handled expeditiously?
Answer: List the corporation and all occupants who are 18 or older as tenants on your lease
documents.
14. Question: Can tenants change their locks without permission and refuse to provide a key
to the property manager?
Answer: Most leases restrict any alterations to the premises without your permission or consent
and most leases specifically restrict changing locks without the landlord’s permission.

15. Question: If a friend of a tenant appears to be living in the apartment, is there a time limit
which allows me to compel the guest to fill out an application to be added to the rental
agreement? Can the tenant have guests stay as long as they want?
Answer: If your lease prohibits subletting or assignment of the lease, or if your lease restricts
the occupants to those named in the lease, the tenant could be in violation. You would need to
prove that the person really moved in and was not just a guest. A common “guest” policy is two
weeks.
16. Question: I do not know how to start the thirty-day notice to terminate. I have given a
three-day notice for non-payment of rent, but I do not know what to do next.
Answer: If the tenant has not complied with the three-day notice, there is no reason to serve a
thirty-day notice. Instead, you may start the unlawful detainer process in court immediately.

17. Question: My question concerns residents who deposit their check in the rent drop box
after the due date. The lease provides that rent is due on the first and if it is not received by the
fourth it is considered late and a $25 late fee is imposed. On the morning of the fifth, the rent
drop is emptied and any checks received after that time are deemed to be late. Each month
there are a few residents who put an earlier date on the rent check and drop it in after the fourth.
How should we respond to this situation?

Answer: It makes no difference when the check is dated. If the check is delivered after the
fourth, the tenant owes the late charge. By dating the check earlier, it only raises a question of
proving when the check was first received. So long as you can demonstrate to the satisfaction
of the court that the check was delivered late, you should be able to enforce the late charge.

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