Landlord Q&A

My landlord left me a message yesterday on my answering machine stating that he was going to enter my unit today to make some necessary repairs in my unit. Is this legal?

Although landlords have always been required to give “reasonable notice” of their intent to enter an occupant’s dwelling unit, effective January 1,2003 California Civil Code §1954  requires that such notice be in writing, and that it be either (1) mailed, or (2) hand delivered, left with someone of a suitable age and discretion at the premises, or left on, near or under the door of the premises in such a manner that a reasonable person would discover the notice. If the landlord opts to mail the written notice, the landlord must allow six days’ notice before the entry. Service to the occupant via personal delivery must be made 24 hours in advance of the time of entry. With this said, exceptions to the written notice requirement are emergencies and an occupant’s presence and waiver of the written notice requirement. Furthermore, if the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the unit to actual or prospective buyers, notice may be given orally or in person, provided that the landlord or agent has notified you within 120 days of the proposed entry that the property is for sale. At the time of entry, the landlord or agent must leave written evidence of entry inside the unit.

I received a 30-days notice to terminate my tenancy. Am I only entitled to a 30-day notice to move out all my belongings and find a new place?

Effective January 1, 2003, California Civil Code §1946.1, requires residential rental property owners to extend the 30-day notice of termination of tenancy to 60 days, thereby giving tenants an additional 30 days to locate alternative housing. This provision applies only if a tenant has lived in the rental unit for one year or longer.  An exception exists in the event of a sale to a buyer that intends to occupy the property for at least one year.  In this case, only a 30-day notice needs to be given, if it is given within 120 days after escrow has been established. If you are disabled or have a medical condition that enables you to move in 30 or 60 days, you may be entitled to a “reasonable accommodation.” Contact the Housing Rights Center for more information.

What should I do before I move out of my rental unit to make sure that I get my full security deposit refunded to me? Also, is my landlord required to do a walk-through with me before I move out?

The best thing for you to do before you move out is to make sure that you leave your apartment in better or the same condition it was in when you first rented it. Your landlord must only deduct from your security deposit for things beyond “ordinary wear and tear.” Effective January 1, 2003, California Civil Code §1950.5 (f) requires that the landlord notify a tenant in writing of his or her option to request an initial inspection of the unit. This notice must be given no earlier than two weeks before the termination date.  After receiving this notice a tenant may request that the landlord or landlord’s agent make an initial inspection of the premises so as to give the tenant the opportunity to remedy any identified deficiencies that might otherwise result in a deduction from the security deposit. After this, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleaning that are proposed to be the basis of any deductions from the security deposit.

 

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