Articles Posted in Landlord-Tenant

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.

antonina-bukowska-142087-copy-300x200Once you rent an apartment, the unit is yours. You are entitled to a great deal of freedom and privacy within your apartment, with only specific limitations and exceptions. For instance, you are entitled to determine who comes in and out of your unit. You control your guests. Meanwhile, your landlord, despite being the unit’s owner, has lost his or her right to the unit. Your landlord cannot come and go from your unit as he or she pleases. However, your landlord may not explain that to you. Many California landlords try and take advantage of a tenant’s lack of knowledge to snoop around or harass tenants and their guests.

When Your Landlord can Enter Your Apartment

For your landlord to be able to come into your apartment, there must either be a valid, lawful reason or you have to give your consent. Your landlord has the right to enter your unit without your permission only if:

joshua-newton-13935-copy-300x200San Francisco is a popular place. People from all of the U.S. and the world flock there for the food, culture, and beautiful views. As a tenant with some extra space in San Francisco, you may consider renting out a bed, couch, or floor space on Airbnb or other similar website. You might figure you will give a traveler a homey and reasonably-priced place to stay while also helping yourself pay your considerable monthly rent. However, as a tenant in San Francisco, your right to rent out space in your unit may be limited. You need to be sure to follow state and local laws to ensure you do not get into trouble with your landlord.

San Francisco’s Airbnb Laws

The City of San Francisco specifically allows short-term rentals. This means that, in general, you may be entitled to rent out extra space on Airbnb or similar sites. However, while it is allowed, it is also regulated. You need to know your rights and responsibilities before hosting your space online.

todd-quackenbush-222-copy-300x183Whether you are a new or experienced renter, you may not be clear on all of California’s laws regarding security deposits. You may have a gut feeling regarding what your landlord can and cannot do in regard to the deposit, but you may not be sure enough to speak up or enforce your rights. Your gut feeling may also not line up with state and local law. If you are a California tenant, be sure you understand your and your landlord’s rights in regard to security deposits.

What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is an upfront fee tenants pay to landlords in the case of non-payment or property damage caused by tenants or their guests. It is not rent. Under California law, landlords are entitled to ask for a security deposit upon move in and to use the deposit in the future for:

brandon-griggs-82205-300x200Renting in California can be extremely difficult. There are not enough apartments to go around, which puts landlords in a position of power. They can raise rents, and even when they should not, they can get picky about who they let live in their units. To remain in a position of power and to benefit from the situation as much as possible, some landlords will resort to lying. You should look out for these common lies and understand how to protect your rights.

Lies Your Landlord May Tell You

There are certain fibs a landlord may tell in California, including: