Hopefully some of these legal questions will be items that come up in your daily dealings with your tenants and will be helpful.
We did an initial walk-through after the lease ended and signed off on the walk-through agreement. We subsequently found additional damages that were not apparent when we did the initial walk-through. Can we charge for these?
You can always amend your Security Deposit Disposition Statement and send that to your tenants’ last known address with the new accounting of their damages or deposit refund.
We have a tenant who we have served a 5 Day Nonpayment of Rent Notice, and the tenant still owes part of their deposit. The tenant recently moved in an unauthorized occupant with a Pit Bull. What is the best way to handled this?
You can serve multiple notices, so I would serve a 5-day Notice for Nonpayment of Rent and a 10-day Noncompliance Notice for unauthorized occupants and for having a prohibited dog breed. (We have previously advised to serve a 5-day Health and Safety Noncompliance Notice for the prohibited dog breed, but have found that certain Judges are wary of issuing an eviction Judgment on such a notice unless the dog has actually attacked somebody or another dog)
Can we charge taxes on late charges?
Yes, you can charge tax on any income that you receive.
We want to make our tenants give us a 60-day Notice to Move. Are we limited by state law that says a 30-day Notice must be given?
No, the state law says you must give at least a 30-day Notice to Vacate. Many landlords have gone to a requirement of a 60-day Notice to be received prior to periodic rental due date.
Can we require our tenants to have renters’ insurance?
Yes. This is no different than renting a commercial space for your business. The landlord can always make a condition of the lease a requirement that the tenant maintain and provide proof of renters’ insurance.
We had a spouse of a military man living at our complex and she has given us Notice that she is going to vacate so she can live with her husband. Does the military law apply to this?
Yes. The law applies to dependents of those in the military and they can terminate the lease with the 30-day Notice.
We sent a tenant a 30-day Notice of Non-renewal for their month-to-month tenancy on March 3rd to be out April 3rd. Is this correct?
No. If the rent is due on the first, the 30-day Notice would have to have been received prior to the first to be effective for the end of that month. Your Notice of March 3rd would not be up until April 30, 2008. You should send a “corrected” notice notifying your tenant of the correct date.
We charge one application fee for a married couple to run their credit but we charge individual application fees for non-married roommates. Is this in violation of the Fair Housing Act?
Probably not. You are treating everyone the same and there is really no evidence that you are discriminating against one of the protected classes. A marriage license binds the two married tenants as one community entity.
Some guests of our residents did some criminal damage at our property. The resident was not present when this took place. Can we do an Immediate Eviction?
No. You must be able to prove that the resident knew or should have known the guests were going to do the criminal damage or that the resident participated in it. You can probably only serve the tenant a 5-day Health and Safety Noncompliance Notice that these guests are no longer authorized to visit or be on the property.
We have a policy that we do not accept third-party checks. However, we have students whose parents pay the rent. Can we accept the parents’ rent check?
Yes, but I would do an Addendum to your Lease wherein you and the resident agree that the parents will be paying the rent, and you may wish to make the parents a co-signer or guarantor on the lease.
I am a property manager, and I have tenants in a property that is being foreclosed. Do they have the right to withhold rent because of the sale, and what happens to their deposit?
No, the tenant must continue to pay rent because the owner has until the date of the sale to reinstate and bring everything current. If the owner doesn’t then at that point the tenant is no longer obligated to pay rent but will probably have to move at the request of whoever purchases the property. Any deposits you are holding at that time should be returned to the tenants as the owner no longer has any claim to the property. Additionally, a tenant may post their rent into the Court as “disputed funds” during the actual month the foreclosure sale is set.
We had a resident jump off our second floor balcony injuring himself. Can we do an eviction on this?
You probably can serve an Immediate Eviction Notice because of the possibility of one of your residents having been injured if the resident who jumped off landed on them.
We have a person who is listed as an occupant on the lease application but when the lease was signed the person was not put on as an occupant or a tenant. The person has now moved in. Can we serve a Noncompliance Notice?
Yes, if the person is not listed as a tenant then they are an unauthorized occupant pursuant to the lease.
We have tenants who were evicted and locked out of their apartment. They have now come up with all the rent money that is owed. Can we take the money and reinstate the lease and how do we do this?
Yes, you have the discretion to allow a tenant to reinstate their lease after the Court has signed the eviction Order. You also have the option of telling the tenant you do not want them to continue living at your property. If you elect to take the money, simply give them a rent receipt that says lease is reinstated, and then they would be subject to the original lease agreement. You do not need to do a new lease.