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Did You Know? | Questions and Answers

We always do our best to stay on top of, if not as far ahead as possible, in regard to current State and Federal laws and regulations. We subscribe to Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP's monthly Question/Answer Newsletter and would like to share with you 5 of the great facts and information from their most recent release, "Did You Know?". Question: When a month-to-month resident decides to vacate after being served a three day notice to pay or quit, do the owners have the right to charge for thirty days after the move-out to comply with their month-to-month agreement? Answer: Yes, you can charge up to the time the premises are re-let or thirty days from the date of their departure, whichever occurs first, so long as you make diligent attempts to re-let the property. Question: We have a "quiet" couple who leases one of our rental units. Unfortunately, they have loud friends. Their guests like to zoom down the parking lot and screech their tires. Not only does this cause disturbance to other residents, it is unsafe and dangerous. Our tenant says they cannot control their friends' activity and are not responsible for what they do. Is there any way we can hold our tenants responsible if a problem occurs? Answer: According to California law, tenants are responsible for the actions and conduct of their guests. If the guests are violating the house rules or the rental agreement, the tenant is in breach. It is just as though your tenants committed these acts themselves. Question: One of my tenants vacated the property and left his roommate behind. Both signed the rental agreement and now the tenant who vacated is demanding his share of the security deposit be returned to him. Is he right? What should I do? Answer: You are not required to return or account for the use of the security deposit until you regain possession of the property after the tenants have vacated. California requires the deposit be accounted for in writing and sent to the last known address of the tenants no later than 21 days following the return of possession unless the lease requires an earlier time frame. The tenant who vacated early should work out an arrangement with his former roommate. You are under no obligation to account for the deposit at this time. Question: I own and manage a 10-unit apartment building. One of my tenants gave me 10 days' notice of her intention to vacate. She wrote that she would not be responsible for rent after that since I have a security deposit and she is on a month-to-month agreement. Is she right? Answer: Unless you have agreed to a shorter amount of time in which to terminate your month-to-month rental agreement, the law requires a thirty-day notice be served by either the owner or the tenant in order to terminate the tenancy. If less than thirty days is given, the tenant is still liable for the full thirty days unless you were able to re-let the premises before the thirty days ran out. Question: Are e-mail communications between tenant and landlord admissible in court? Answer: Yes, e-mails can be allowed into evidence, but cannot be used to serve notices.