Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP
1. Question: How can we determine if the roaches in the apartment were the result of bad housekeeping? Is it our responsibility to get rid of the roaches?
Answer: Ask your pest control professional to give their opinion. The court will rely heavily on expert testimony in these cases. If you can prove the tenant was responsible for the infestation, they are responsible for the pest control cost. Landlords are responsible to make a unit habitable, which means free from pest control issues.
2. Question: If our tenant sublets, and the sublessee defaults in the rent, do I give a notice to the tenant or the sublessee?
Answer: Serve each one a notice with both of their names on it. They should be evicted in the same action.
3. Question: What should I do if I suspect drugs are being sold out of one of our apartments?
Answer: Call the police and report the incident. Ask the police for any further direction. Document all of the calls and what you said, did and observed. Finally, contact an attorney to determine whether you have enough evidence to proceed with a notice or an eviction.
4. Question: If a tenant does not give a 30-day notice of intent to vacate, can the full security deposit be kept by the landlord?
Answer: If the tenant is month-to-month, you can deduct for unpaid rent for up to 30 days from the date the tenant vacated, minus amounts paid by a replacement tenant (if any) during that 30-day period. You must make reasonable efforts to find a replacement tenant during that time.
5. Question: I have signed a lease for one year with a tenant and now he wants to leave after four months. What is my recourse?
Answer: The tenant is responsible for the rent up to the date the lease expires, minus amounts paid by a replacement tenant (if any) during that period. You must make reasonable efforts to find a replacement tenant. If the tenant leaves for domestic violence or because they are going on active duty – the tenant will have additional protections, speak to an attorney in these cases.
6. Question: New tenants moved into our apartment complex one month ago. Since they moved in, we have received noise complaints about them from other tenants in the complex, who now want to vacate because of the disturbances. What should I do?
Answer: Contact an attorney about serving a notice. If the disturbances are major and continuous, the court may grant an eviction. Witnesses will be required to prove your case in court if the case is contested.
7. Question: If you state in the month-to-month contract that rent is due on the 1st of each month, but there is not a late charge until after the 10th, can the resident pay every month on the 10th?
Answer: The rent is delinquent the day after the rent is due. Provided that the day the rent was due was a business day, a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit can be served the next day, even though the late charge is not yet due.
8. Question: I have a prospective tenant whose company will pay his rent as a perk to his job. Who must sign the lease?
Answer: Ideally you should have the occupant named as the tenant and sign the lease.
There are a number of potential issues that can arise if the employer signs the lease, and those issues should be discussed with an attorney (before signing a lease with the employer). Landlords are required to accept third party payments, provided that the third-party payor provides a statement that the payment will not create a tenancy on the part of the payor.
9. Question: If a guest causes problems or damages the property, what is my recourse?
Answer: The tenant is responsible to pay to repair any damage caused by their guest’s negligence or intentional act. If the tenant fails to pay, a 3-day notice to perform conditions and covenants or quit can be served, followed by an eviction. It will be landlord’s burden to prove the damage was done by the guest or invitee.
10. Question: If someone owes late charges and NSF check charges, do I give them a 3-day notice to pay rent?
Answer: No, serve a notice to perform covenant or quit for late charges and NSF charges. A 3-day notice to pay rent or quit should only include rent – no late charges or NSF charges. A cure or quit is only permitted when the obligation to pay a late fee or NSF charge is in the written lease agreement.
11. Question: One of our tenants is moving out in three weeks. She has refused to allow any prospective tenants to see the apartment. Is there any way we can force her to let us in since the law says we have the right to show it?
Answer: You may be able to serve her with a notice to perform conditions and/or covenants or quit requesting that she give you reasonable dates and times for entry. Contact an attorney for more information.
12. Question: Three roommates signed the lease. If one roommate doesn’t pay their share, are the other roommates responsible for the unpaid amount?
Answer: Most leases have a “joint and several” liability provision, making all of the roommates fully responsible for the full amount due.
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. While KTS provides clients with information on legislative changes, our courtesy notifications are not meant to be exhaustive and do not take the place of legislative services or membership in trade associations. Our legal alerts are provided on selected topics and should not be relied upon as a complete report of all new changes of local, state, and federal laws affecting property owners and managers. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. For contact information, please visit our website: www.kts-law.com. For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers and Legal Articles, please consult the resource section of our website.
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