Do San Diego Renters Have The Right To Withhold Rent? Yes or No?

San Diego Renters

 

By Goldenwest Property Management

SAN DIEGO, CA. – As a longtime property management company in San Diego, one of the most common questions that we’ve had from landlords over the years is do tenants have the right to withhold rent?

The answer to this question is “yes and no” – as most things, it depends on the situation.

Tenants are entitled to a property that meets their basic health, structural and safety standards. If the Landlord fails to maintain “habitable” living conditions, the Tenant has the right to withhold rent, among other legal remedies. But the issue in question must be one of habitability or the Tenant can’t withhold rent.

Examples of non-habitability are: a broken heater, mold, toilets not working, or a leaking roof.

In these cases, the tenant has the right do the following:

  • Withhold rent until repairs are made.
  • Pay for any or all repairs themselves then deduct the cost of those repairs from their rent. This is also called repair and deduct.
  • Contact local building health inspectors or state officials to inform them about the poor condition of their rental property.

The Tenant may issue the Landlord a notice to cure, in which the Landlord has a set period of days to remedy the issue or the Tenant has the right to break the lease without penalty.

Tenants Have Rights to a Livable Premises

Review California statutes (Civil Code § 1941.1 and § 1941.3) which states landlords are legally required to offer their tenants what can be considered a habitable or livable premises. Every rental property in California must have the following:

  • Effective weather protection and waterproofing for the roof, exterior walls, Windows, doors and any entry point into the rental property.
  • Functioning heating, plumbing and electrical facilities.
  • A sanitary building that’s also clean and free from garbage, rubbish, rodents, vermin and filth (this is intentionally vague, so make sure you have photos of your property at move-in)
  • Deadbolt locks on the doors and lockable windows.
  • No hazards from lead paint.
  • No dangers to human life, mental health or offensive/of noxious behavior on the premises.

Tenants Do Have Responsibilities Too In California

Although tenants have the right to withhold rent from a landlord who fails to properly fix issues on their rental property, tenants in are required to hold up their fair share of maintenance and responsibilities which may include:

  • Keeping the rental property clean and sanitary at all times.
  • Disposing of garbage or rubbish from the premises.
  • Properly using gas, electrical and plumbing on premises.
  • Not destroying or willfully wrecking one or more parts of the rental property.

Get California Property Management

The law is not exact, it’s often ambiguous with cases law findings across the board. If you don’t have experience dealing with these types of situations, then maybe you should think of hiring someone who does.

Save time and money on property management by contacting the team of property management professionals at Goldenwest today by clicking here to contact us online, or calling us at (858) 792-3442.

Site visits – how often can a Landlord come over?

Site visits

By Goldenwest Management

One of the hottest issues between landlords and tenants is how often the landlord is allowed to visit the rental property.

In California a landlord has just five (5) legitimate reasons for entering a legally occupied rental property including the following:

  1. Tenant has moved out or abandoned the rental property.
  2. To make repairs, alterations to the condo or property.
  3. Show rental property to other prospective tenants.
  4. Court approved entry into property.

Landlords must not enter the property the same day except in cases of emergency at the property or if their rental has been abandoned.

All landlords must give their tenants 24 hours written notice before entering a property to make repairs, alterations or to show the property to prospective tenants and the notice must either be given to the tenant, posted near the front door of the rental or mailed to the tenant at least 6 days in advance.

Landlords Can’t Show Up Unannounced

Although a landlord may think that because they own the rental property they can show up regularly to “inspect it” the reality is that showing up announced or with notice too frequently violates the tenants right to “quiet enjoyment.” Tenants can sue for damages or even petition to break the lease due to such behavior.

Before leaving the property due to the landlord’s unannounced visits the tenant should use the following strategy:

Step 1 – Send the landlord a friendly letter or email to voice your concerns about their unannounced visits.

Step 2 – If the visits persist the tenant should mail the landlord a certified demand letter, usually in the form of a notice to cure, reminding the landlord of the current landlord/tenant and the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.

Step 3 – Take the landlord to small claims court seeking to break the lease.

Step 4 – Move out of the rental property only after awarded that privelage by the court.

Contact Us

To learn more about how often a landlord is allowed to visit their rental property, or to view properties for rent, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

Do HOA’s have the right to fine me if I am a tenant?

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By Goldenwest Management

Do Home Owners Associations (“HOA”) have the right to fine me if I’m a tenant? This is a question that most renters have when they rent a condo, single family home that’s also part of an HOA.

Well, the answer to this question is both yes and no.

Yes, an HOA does have the right to enforce their rules; examples such as not allowing a tenant to park in a fire lane, not hang clothes from the balcony, and making sure that front yards are maintained. But the HOA’s don’t actually fine the Tenant directly… they send all violations and enforce all penalties against the Landlord (or property owner). It’s job of the Landlord to make sure their tenant follows the HOA rules and collect reimbursement for fines levied against them from the Tenant.

The Landlord Is the Middle Man

The owner or their property management company is technically the middle man and is responsible for making sure their tenant follows the HOA rules.

One of the best ways for landlords or property owners to insure that their tenants in their rental follow the rules is for them to make sure that the HOA rules, also known as CC&R’s are included in the rental agreement. The CC&Rs usually have a rules and regulations section and define the do’s and don’t’s as well as list the potential consequences including fines if those rules are broken.

HOA and the Authorities

After the tenant makes it very clear that they are not following rules of the HOA, or civil rules, the HOA has the authority to get the proper authorities involved including the FBI, drug enforcement, police or fire department to help defuse the situation before an even bigger problem occurs.

But on a more common level, they simply send the Landlord violation notices and leave it to the Landlord to ensure the violations are cured.

What Landlords Should Do Before Signing New Tenants?

Before turning over possession of a property, the landlord should physically give a copy of the governing documents or rules to the Tenants. An electronic copy is acceptable as long as the Tenant acknowledges receipt. When possible, its even better to include a copy to the Tenant when sending over the lease agreement to review and sign.

Contact Goldenwest Management

To learn more about the tenants relationship with an HOA, or to view properties for rent, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

San Diego Rental Property – Learn More About The 2015 Landlord Tenant Laws

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By GoldenWest Management

It’s 2015 and your friends and family members encouraged you to purchase San Diego Rental Property, so you bought a multi-family unit and are ready to start renting.

When leasing to your first Tenant, ask yourself how familiar you are with the Landlord-Tenant laws for our state?

Today’s post cover’s just some of the Landlord-Tenant Laws for that you may want to consider when working with prospective Tenants who are interested in your San Diego Rental Property.

Support and Service Animals

Surprise!!! There is no difference in the eyes of the Housing Authority anymore. Don’t make the mistake of denying a prospect with a Pet after they disclose to you that it is a support animal (of any kind): Emotional support, service animal, etc…The ADA statutes require that you treat that animal as if it were a “wheelchair” meaning you need to make “reasonable” accommodations. If you don’t heed this warning, HUD and the California State Attorney General will be knocking on  your door!

Registered Sex Offender Database

When creating a new rental agreement you must include the following verbiage in your rental agreement:

“Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and zip code in which he or she resides.” (Cal. Civ. Code § 2079.10a)

Tenants and Utilities

Before a tenant signs a new rental agreement you must disclose to them if they are responsible for paying gas, electric or other utilities including what the cost is for those utilities just so the tenant can know if they can afford to pay rent plus utilities in their monthly budget. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.9)

Toxic Mold Disclosure

Did you know that before you can rent to a new tenant you must disclose to them if your San Diego Rental Property has toxic mold or not? (Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 26147, 26148). If you have had major water damage or past complaints of mold, and you don’t disclose this…you could be liable for a lot, including health costs, an environmental specialist, lost rent and moving/storage costs for the Tenant.

This is important to know because mold that exceeds exposure limits which are permissible has been known to post serious health risks and must be dealt with.

Non Smoking Policy

In this day and age it’s not uncommon for most San Diego Rental Property to have a no smoking policy.

If your decision is to not allow tenants to smoke on your property, you must outline this in writing, and provide tenants with specific instructions for where they can smoke on site, just so you can have assurance that your Rental Property In San Diego will be smoke free once you decide to rent it in the future.

Helping San Diego Rental Property Owners

If you think its smart to save a few dollars “managing your own property,” review the above and think about if you had any clue these were REQUIREMENTS in a lease. GoldenWest Management knows Landlord-Tenant laws in San Diego, and if we aren’t sure, we have legal counsel that deals with this EVERYDAY at our disposal. Call us to learn more about our affordable property management services, contact GoldenWest Management today by calling us at (858) 792-3442

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back on a Rental

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One of the biggest disappointments a tenant will face in a rental property transaction with a property manager or landlord is when he or she opens up that check for their returned security deposit.  We’ve seen and heard about many times where tenants were not happy with the return.  This is unfortunate because, as we’ve stated in previous articles about security deposits, losing a security deposit is completely preventable.  Disappointment over security deposits is typically a result of the following: Continue reading “How to Get Your Security Deposit Back on a Rental”

The Utilities Addendum to a Lease Agreement

“What is a Utilities Addendum?”  This was a question recently posed to one of our offices.  As a way to inform all of our landlord and tenant customers interested in this topic, we’re answering this question through our blog.  Here’s our take on the utilities addendum – A utilities addendum might be something that is added to the lease for the following purpose:

Adding the monthly amount of a utility bill, usually one that can’t be placed into the tenants’ name but that they are responsible per the lease, to the monthly rent.

 

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Continue reading “The Utilities Addendum to a Lease Agreement”

Home Values Appreciating in California and Nevada

According to a report released by CoreLogic today, California and Nevada are among the nation leaders in home value appreciation.  CoreLogic uses what it calls it’s Home Price Index (HPI) to track home sales, and measure the change in value over time.  The average gains were actually very good for California and Nevada in the August 2014 report:

Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation were:  Michigan (+11.1 percent), California (+9.2 percent), Nevada (+9.2 percent), Maine (+9 percent) and West Virginia (+8.7 percent).

This should serve as uplifting news to landlords and property investors (and those currently looking to get into the market) in those states.

Ask Your Property Management Question

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As a property management blog, we have found that some of our most popular posts are those that answer challenging property management questions.  Over the past year or so, we’ve tried to identify those questions ahead of time, and write about them as much as possible.  For example, we’ve written about squatter’s rights, the grace period for rent due dates, and security deposit recovery to name just a few.  However, we would now like to open up the floor to our audience for questions.  Have a landlord, tenant, or property investment question for our property management experts in California, Arizona, and Nevada?   Continue reading “Ask Your Property Management Question”

Why You Hate Your Property Manager (and Why You Might Be Wrong to Do So)

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Property management is a challenging business where the property manager serves two different sets of customers with conflicting needs.  As a marketer for a multi-state property manager, I have witnessed the razor-sharp line that a property manager has to  walk in his place between the tenant and the landlord.  At times, it can sometimes seem impossible to stay the course of this line, and I’ll share my insight into why that is.

The business of property management is one where the landlord compensates the property manager to relieve them of the burden of owning investment property (a.k.a, managing tenants).  The late night phone calls with repair requests, the destruction to property, the late payments, not to mention the screening of and securing decent tenants – these are all part of the burden that the property manager bears.  The owner, usually, doesn’t want to deal with the tenants, fixing up the property, or worry about collecting money.  Usually, the property owner wants to make his investment by purchasing the property, and then simply collect checks by handing over the property to the property management company.  In other words, they don’t want to do the “dirty work”.  Despite this unenvious position, the property manager must do the bidding of the owner in order to get paid.  If the owner feels that the service is not up to his standards, he can take his business to the next property manager in the area as switching costs are typically not that high. Continue reading “Why You Hate Your Property Manager (and Why You Might Be Wrong to Do So)”

Happy Labor Day from your Property Management Company

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The first labor day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City.  Back then, it was less of a celebration, and more of a demonstration for workers’ rights.  We can, in part, thank the founders of this movement for the 8 hour work day, child labor restrictions, and other advances in labor-related legislation.  For more information on the Labor Day Holiday, checkout some Labor Day facts here, some Labor Day Opinion here, and/or Labor Day Origins here.  Also, if you are curious about how the holiday weekend affects the rent grace period, checkout our article on the topic.

Happy Labor Day from the GWM family!