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Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Rental Agreement California

December 22, 2012

Ruth asks…

Can my apartment landlord make me pay sewer and water bills now?

I live in an apartment in California. My landlord/management company just sent me a 30 Day Notice to Change Terms of Rental agreement that they are going to start to charge me for water and sewer service. The original lease states that I am not responsible for water, trash or sewer bills. Can they do this? I want to move anyway, so can I refuse the change in the rental agreement and break the lease?
I am in the middle of a year lease that expires next March. I will be writing them a certified letter on Tuesday telling them I don’t agree to the changes and I will offer to let them terminate the lease if I can move out immediately without them giving me a poor reference.

Administrator answers:

Generally the terms to a lease can’t be changed while in the term. That means he shouldn’t be able to add this charge to you but also means you can’t just pick up and break the lease because you don’t like what he’s trying to do. You need to dig deeper. If you can’t find anything regarding this in your lease ask them to show you where it states that they can do this. You want to see written proof and that you signed/agreed to it. If they can’t show you this there shouldn’t be any way for them to make you start paying this. If they can and you agreed/signed to it then you’ll need to suck it up and start paying-that’s life as a renter. I was there once. It sucks. Save your money so you can buy a home some day.

Sandy asks…

What can i do about my landlord not enforcing pet guidelines?

I live in San Diego, California and live in an apartment building. Recently my neighbors started getting dogs as pets even though they are forbidden by the rental agreement. I have complained to the landlord several times in person. They awaken everyone up early in the morning and cause a horrible smell to emanate from the apartment. They also let their animals use the courtyard as a restroom without cleaning up after them.

Administrator answers:

How do you know that their rental agreement forbid pets? Not all rental agreements are the same. Yours may state no pets, while theirs may state pets allowed or pets allowed with permission from the landlord.

Paul asks…

evictions in california?

Evictions notice?
June 1st i notified my lanlord about a problem with the garbage disposal, June 11th I received a rental increase starting July 1st, I wrote her a letter informing her she did not give enough time for the rent increase along with information about retailatory actions and about if she provides amenties shes is required to fix them unless stated in our rental agreement in which it is not she has clearly underlined the part that says no repairs are to be made by the tenant and i enclosed copies of the dept. of consumer affairs tenant/landlords rights where i got my information and informed her she may request a free copy from them for future reference.
Now, I know this is a retailatory action, and the CRLA Renters Rights wont help me cuz im over the income limits, so what do i do now?? I cant afford a lawyer…

I am not late on any of my rent payments, have nto damaged the apartment or premises.. I know California law says a lanlo
landlord doesnt have to give a reason for eviction.. and the problem was already fixed and she is aware of that.. its a simple fact that she isnt followign the laws
I already know i wont have to pay rent until august ..and actually its aug 15th, and only half of the rental increase…
yes, i sent a letter june 1st about the disposal and june11th got a rental increase and after i sent a aletter stating the 60 day notice … she sent me a eviction notice today…
i appologize i didnt state that she gave me an eviction notice.. i sent her a ltter stating everything the renters rights handbooks says about rental increases along with, retalitory actions etc.. 2 days after she signed for hte letter she put an eviction notice on my door…. its not filed with the courts its just a written notice…i have 60 days to leave, then thats when she has to file with the courts etc.. and i am under the impression she has to prove her reasoning for evicting, ie late rent, nusiance, destroying the property etc. which i am non of these i pay my rent days inadvance…

Administrator answers:

The LL needs 30 total days to raise the rent, that may be retaliatory, but just explain to the judge and he’ll set her straight.
Additionally, if your at your place for more than 12 months, you get 60days notice, plus the increase cannot be more than 10%.
Coupled with that, if you’re on a lease…shes up a creek until the lease runs out.

Laura asks…

can my landlord tell me whether i can or cannot install a/c in my apt?

it’s not on the rental agreement. 2 other people have a/c’s and he’s only telling me and the other person that’s in the 2nd floor too that we can’t have it in the living room, but said it was ok for the one below us to keep his in the living room. is there a law in california that states whether we can make decisions on our own what to put in our apartment?

Administrator answers:

If the electric bill is being paid by the landlord, he probably doesn’t want the extra expense of running a window air conditioner for your apartment. If that is the case, he should have prohibited your having one in the lease.

Since it is not prohibited in the lease, I don’t see why you cannot have one. Especially since others in your building do.

Good luck with your situation.

Mandy asks…

Unfair landlord? – California?

I entered into a rental agreement with a friend. My friend owns a condo and I moved in in July 05 as a tenant. I have always paid rent on time (if not early) and helped to improve the quality of the condo. My rent is 1000 per month. I paid first and last month’s rent upon moving in (2000). I was asked to leave so that his girlfriend could move in Mar 17. This was Feb 15. But she began to move in already. I found a new apartment and now he will only give half of my “last month’s rent” back claiming i must pay until mar 15. However, this was an oral agreement lasting over 1 year, and when I read the California Civil Code regarding this matter, if an oral lease lasts more than a year, it cannot be enforced. Does that mean I can demand my money back?

Administrator answers:

No, my dear, it means that you can’t demand your money back. I know that’s unfortunate, but that’s just the ‘way it is’ in California.

George asks…

in a month-to-month apartment complex, can a landlord raise the rent for this? (cont.)?

we have a pool at our complex that is green, has frogs, plants growing in it, and is a foot and a half low on water. we have never been able to use it. i have recently written a letter and will be annonomously be sending it out to everyone in the complex asking them to sign and return it to the landlord stating that it needs to be fixed and made useable or the health department will be contacted because it is in violation of civil code 1941.1f stating:
Building, grounds, and appurtenances at the time of the
commencement of the lease or rental agreement, and all areas under
control of the landlord, kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free
from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents,
and vermin.

in the rental agreement there is a section that states “all tenants will follow the rules posted in the pool area” which technically means we are all ready paying for the use and maintenance of the pool because they are acknowledging it’s existance in the complex.

if he decides to raise the rent because he has to fix the pool (which also needs resurfacing & patching)…. would we as tenants have a leg to stand on in fighting it? i havent dispersed the letters yet, im just thinking ahead a little. btw, it gets very hot here in california and since our building is older, the AC is outdated and very inefficient. it cannot keep the apartment cool unless it is turned on no later than 9am in the summer so a pool becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. would that make a difference if he tries to raise the rent?

all that being said, i was just wondering if anyone had any knowledge of this type of issue. thank you

Administrator answers:

My leases all say that too, standard lease, pool or no pool.

You can’t force him to fix the pool. The city will not force him either. The only thing they will require is that he puts in some mosquito fish, which they will provide him for free. The “pool” can be a pond, perfectly legal in CA and in no way violates the code just be existing.

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