Articles Posted in Landlord-Tenant

sabri-tuzcu-213760-copy-300x200Based on a 2016 survey, the American Pet Products Association estimates that 6% of American households have a pet. Most of these individuals own cats and dogs. However, other common household pets includes fish, reptiles, and other small animals like rabbits and birds. When these individuals or families own their own homes, the only factor in deciding on a pet is personal preference. However, for renters, pet ownership can be much more complicated and expensive. Some landlords may welcome pets with open arms while others charge various fees. If you are a renter in California and you own pets, you should get to know the law regarding so called “pet deposits,” “pet fees,” and “pet rent” before you sign a lease.

Can Landlords Charge Extra for Pets?

Yes, landlords have the power to charge extra for pets. However, the way in which they can do so is regulated by California law. They cannot charge pet deposits and additional pet rent however they like. If you are required to pay extra money up front to have a pet in your rental unit, then this money is regulated the same way as your typical security deposit.

scott-webb-386701-copy-202x300Most residential leases are for a period of one year. Typically, the lease starts on the first of a month, and you are entitled to live in the unit at that price for the next 12 months. However, a lot can happen during that year. You may get a new job in another state, suffer a medical emergency, become pregnant, or for any number of reasons need to move. If you cannot stay in your apartment until the end of your lease, then you will have to move out early. This is known as breaking your lease and amounts to a breach of contract. You can do it, but there will be consequences.


When it comes to breaking a lease, you should understand your rights to ensure your landlord does not try and take advantage of the situation. If you believe your landlord is treating you unfairly or unlawfully during this situation, contact a San Francisco tenants’ rights attorney right away.


Breaking a Lease

antonina-bukowska-142087-copy-300x200There are certain rights you take for granted until someone else violates them. One of these is your right to privacy. As an individual, you are entitled to privacy from others. This is a social norm. As a resident of the U.S., you are entitled to a great deal of privacy from law enforcement and the government. As a tenant, you have the right to privacy from your landlord. When you are within your unit, you have a right to decide who comes and goes, who knows what is going on inside, and so forth, with only a few exceptions. Your landlord may have the right to come into your apartment and inspect the premises, but only in a certain way and at certain times.

If your landlord is constantly stopping by or letting him or herself into your unit without your permission or appropriate notice, call our California tenant rights attorneys at Brod Law Firm right away.

Your Right to Privacy in Your Rental Unit

joshua-newton-13935-copy-300x200Apartment buildings or rental houses and condos are typically investment properties for the landlords. As with any investment, there may come a time when it is better for the landlord to sell than to hold on to it. This means that one day, you may receive a letter notifying you that your building or home has been sold and you have a new landlord. This poses a number of questions, one of the most common being: What happens when someone buys your apartment?

Tenant Rights When the Rental Property is Sold

The most important thing to know when your apartment building, single-family house, or condo is sold is that the new owner is legally required to honor your lease. If you have a typically one-year lease, you have the right to carry it out and continue living there. The new landlord cannot evict you simply because of the change of ownership.

milind-kaduskar-87650-copy-300x300Before February 2016, Danielle Phillips and Paul Kelly rented a two-bedroom house near the beach, paying $1,900 in monthly rent. Then, that February, Phillips and Kelly came home to a notice from their new landlord, Matthew Dirkes, who was raising the monthly rent to $6,700. This was not only more than three-times the previous rent, it was also far above median rents for single-family homes in the area, San Francisco Magazine found and reported.

Phillips and Kelly knew what was happening. They were being evicted under the premise of a lawful rent hike, so they sued. The trial court sided with the landlord but now the couple are appealing to California’s First District Court of Appeals. The appellate court’s decision could have a significant impact of tenants’ rights and protections within the region.

Phillips and Kelly Had Few Legal Options

erol-ahmed-48243-copy-300x200In August, 2017, the Pasadena City Council approved the final draft of the revised Tenant Protection Ordinance. The new changes clarify when displaced tenants are eligible for moving and relocation financial assistance.

When and whether landlords need to pay displaced tenants for their troubles has become a significant issue throughout California as evictions continue to rise. If you have been evicted from your unit without having done anything wrong and now you are having trouble finding a new place to live, look into your rights. In certain circumstances, your landlord may owe you money for the cost of moving and relocating. Contact an experienced tenants’ rights attorney from Brod Law Firm to learn more.

Pasadena’s Updated Tenant Protection Ordinance

taylor-young-183282-copy-225x300In January of 2017, San Francisco authorities discovered that there were 20 to 26 people living in squalid and unsafe conditions in the basement of The Clean Wash Center on Mission Street. The basement had been home to dozens of people, ranging in age from 12 to 72 years old, for more than a decade and was known as 5 Persia Avenue – a made up address. Some of the tenants are undocumented immigrants and many do not speak English well. Despite the poor conditions, they were charged up to $1,000 per month for a small room.

This is an extreme example of the illegal and unsafe conditions many tenants are forced to endure throughout San Francisco, particularly immigrants who may be unaware of their rights or face a language barrier when searching for accommodations. However, tenants have numerous rights based on federal, state, and local law. If you or someone you know is living in substandard conditions, contact the local authorities or call a San Francisco tenants’ rights attorney from Brod Law Firm to learn about your options.

Illegal Basement Units Went Unfound for Years

deonny-rantetandung-115900-copy-300x200This summer, landlords in Greenbrae, California, settled a complaint brought by a female tenant with a disability and the Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California (FHANC) based on disability discrimination. The female tenant, Stacey Kitchin and FHANC alleged Shultz Investment Co. and Greenbrae Management, Inc. discriminated against the resident due to her medical condition and service animal when she lived at the Bon Air Apartments. Following an investigation into the allegations of discrimination by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the landlords settled with Kitchin and FHANC for $72,000.

Leading up to the Complaint and Settlement

Over a 15-year period, Kitchin was forced to endure discriminatory statements and retaliatory actions due to her service animal, including false claims that the small dog was disruptive, had bitten a maintenance worker, and was not a lawful service animal under California law. Despite receiving an approval for her service animal in 2010, she repeatedly received notices of lease violations due to the presence of her dog. In 2014, she then received a three-day Notice to Cure or Quit, requiring her to remove her service animal or leave. Kitchin’s attorney discussed the law with the landlord who rescinded the notice. However, the landlord continued to create and implement discriminatory policies regarding service animals. Eventually, these issues led to the cancellation of Kitchin’s Housing Assistance Program voucher, forcing her to move.

dominik-martin-311-copy-300x199Various forms of marijuana are now legal in California. However, it is still heavily regulated and illegal based on federal law. This creates a great deal of gray area and questions. If you are a tenant, you may wonder how your right to possess, use, and grow cannabis can be affected by your lease. Does your landlord have the right to dictate that there is no marijuana on the premises? Or can you fully enjoy marijuana so long as you are obeying California law?

If you are having trouble with your landlord in relation to your marijuana use or possession, contact our San Francisco tenants’ rights attorneys at Brod Law Firm to learn more about your rights, limitations, and legal options to deal with your current situation.

When is Possessing Marijuana Legal in California?

lili-popper-29464-300x169Whether you are a first-time renter or are suddenly having trouble with your landlord, you need to make sure you have read and fully understand your lease. Your lease dictates most of the terms of your agreement. Some other aspects of your rental situation are dictated by state law. If you are looking to rent a place or feel you are being treated unfairly by your current landlord, then go to your lease first.

Some California lease provisions you must understand include:

  • Security deposit provisions: There could be one or more lease provisions regarding your security deposit. There should be information regarding about the amount, whether it will accrue interest, and when it can be withheld. This is also where state and local law comes in. You should carefully review what the lease says about security deposits and then compare it to your local law. Many city or county ordinances require that your deposit be kept in an interest bearing account and that you receive that interest each year.