Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Rental Agreement California

July 20, 2013

Paul asks…

Do I have to pay rent for the last month when I give the landlord my 30 day’s notice to move out?

I am moving out of my apartment soon and am going to give him the 30 day’s notice. I’m wondering if I need the pay the last month’s rent. When I first moved in I gave him my first month’s rent as well as a security deposit. (California)

Thanks for the help.

Administrator answers:

Of course you need to pay the last month’s rent, regardless of whether or not you are actually living there.

In CA, you can give notice at any time, and the last month’s rent is prorated. IE if you gave notice today, you would be responsible for all of August and September 1-5. Divide your monthly rent by 30 (regardless of how many days are actually in the last month, you always assume 30 days), multiply by 5 days, and there is your prorated last month’s rent.

If your lease/rental agreement states otherwise, then that is what you need to follow. Your lease supercedes state law in regards to how much notice must be given and when.

Linda asks…

At what age can you get a mortgage?

I’m moving down to southern california and two of my friends want to move in with me. One suggested that we get a house because the mortgage would be nearly the same as rent on an apartment. It sounds to easy, so I’d like more information to know if this is possible. Out of the three of us, we range from 21-25. Aside from the risks of moving into a house with friends, what do you suggest about the mortgage issue. Is it something we should try? If so, would we be able to qualify?

Administrator answers:

You’re old enough to qualify.
But you won’t be able to get a mortgage with all three of your names on it. One of you will have to buy the property. The rest of you will have to agree to be renters and have no financial claim in the property. This could be hard to do.
The other 2 should sign a legal rental agreement so that the one who bought the house doesn’t get stuck with a mortgaage payment they can’t afford. Check into whether or not you can add to the agreement that the renters give the owners at least 60 days to find a new renter if one leaves.
The buyer may also want to visit an attorney if the mortgage is going to be something totally out of his price range.
Best of luck to you!

Donna asks…

Is it legal for a landlord to average the cost of utilities?

I just moved into my own condo, and I’ve been comparing my costs for utilities (gas & water) to what I was paying at my apartment. They were charging me DOUBLE what I’m paying here, plus a $5.00 service fee for the privilege. My usage hasn’t changed.

The complex was fairly large, one of many run by Arnel Management, owned by billionaire George Argyros. Apparently, he can’t afford to individually meter each unit for their usage, so instead, they average out the total costs of water and gas over the entire complex. Each tenant pays according to the size of their unit.

Well, I was in one of their larger units, but I was a single woman! So I was paying the same as the family of 4 or more! Obviously, this isn’t fair, but IS IT LEGAL?

If it’s not legal, what next? Better Business Bureau? District Attorney? Who? This is in the state of California.

Administrator answers:

This is a locality issue. Some places allow it and others don’t. I know in Pennsylvania for utilities each unit must be metered differently or it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay the utility. This doesn’t mean that the landlord can’t just charge a higher amount of rent and say “utilities included”, which is usually what happens here.

For California specifically, it is legal. Specifically:

Shared utilities

If the utility meter for your rental unit is shared with another unit or another part of the building, then the landlord must reach an agreement with you on who will pay for the shared utilities. This agreement must be in writing (it can be part of the rental agreement or lease), and can consist of one of the following options:

* The landlord can pay for the utilities provided through the meter for your rental unit by placing the utilities in the landlord’s name;
* The landlord can have the utilities in the area outside your rental unit put on a separate meter in the landlord’s name; or
* You can agree to pay for the utilities provided through the meter for your rental unit to areas outside your rental unit

Since you say it seemed you agreed to an average of the utilities plus a $5.00 surcharge it seems like it would be legal.


George asks…

Is it the landlord or new tenant responsibility to request an electrical meter.for apartment.?

I’m new to supervising an apartment building in Los Angeles. There’s a vacant apartment but there’s no electricity meter so I was wondering is it my responsibility to order the meter or the tenant moving in?

Administrator answers:

There are apartment associations that can probably answer your question better than I can, but here’s my answer [your landlord should belong to one of the associations so they can keep on top of current laws, get copies of sample rental agreements and eviction notices, etc.]:

First off all, IANAL!

It is the apartment owner’s responsibility to have the apartment habitable, which would include electrical service (plus water, sewer, etc.). The apartment can’t be legally rented without electricity.

I find it strange that the apartment doesn’t have a meter. Has it ever been rented in the past? Was there a meter there at one time, but it was removed (Southern California Edison has been upgrading to smart meters and maybe the DWP has been as well–did they not replace meters for vacant apartments)? Was an apartment subdivided into two units and electricity only run to one unit?

Sandra asks…

moving out of rented appartment what will they try to keep from my security deposit?

i rent a apt in california apt is clean just like first day of move-in except the carpet just minor dirt marks no stains is it legal for them to deduct money from my security deposit so they could clean the carpet? and wat else could i expect them to charge me for and can i avoid this??????

Administrator answers:

I cannot see them keeping your deposit for dirty carpets.
That is normal wear and tare.

Keeping the security deposit is usually for abuse to the apartment, such as holes in walls, abuse to the appliances, broken windows, broken hardware on doors.
Something that is actually broken that you caused.
Burn marks in the carpet, or holes.

Check your rental agreement and look at the fine print. If it says anything about soiled carpets, then you have no recourse. If it doesn’t state anything, and they do keep your security deposit, I would definitely fight it. :-)

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