Articles Tagged with Calfornia landord/tenant law firm

todd-quackenbush-222-copy-300x183California law requires that landlords make residential rental properties habitable, that is, livable for tenants. In other words, the landlords must ensure that rented houses and apartments are safe.  The sections of California law that deal with the subject of habitability are Civil Code 1941.1 and Health and Safety Code 17920.3. Since almost any kind of damage to the structures of the rented residential property or any infestation by pests could make the property unsafe if the damage is not repaired or if the pests are not removed, it is not possible for the legal code to list every possible safety hazard that constitutes grounds for a landlord/tenant lawsuit. In general, the most serious hazards are the ones that have to do with insect infestations and toxic mold. If your landlord has allowed the property you rent to become unsafe, contact an attorney dealing with habitability issues.

Is Your Rented Apartment or House Habitable?

Anyone who has lived with a roommate knows that “sufficiently clean” can be a subjective measure. California law is clear, though, that landlords must ensure that rented properties are safe before a tenant suffers a serious injury or illness because of the poorly maintained property.  These are some problems that can be the basis for habitability disputes.

jon-moore-400422-unsplash-copy-300x200In mid-February, the California Supreme Court denied hearing a number of paint manufacturers’ appeals. The paint manufacturers, ConAgra, NL Industries, and Sherwin-Williams, were ordered in November by the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose to pay a significant sum to the state to enable it to remove lead paint from older homes, where the paint still has the potential to cause people serious harm, particularly children. The manufacturers are responsible for homes built before 1951. The potential lead paint cleanup is intended for 10 cities and counties throughout the state, and is estimated to cost $400 million.

The ruling stands for now, however the manufacturers have been fighting this suit since 2000 and are not finished. They have indicated that they may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They also intend to place an initiative on the California ballot, known as the Healthy Homes and Schools Act. If passed, taxpayers would carry the burden for the $2 billion bond ultimately used to fund the lead paint cleanup.

The Threat of Lead Paint

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

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

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?

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:

bethany-legg-9248-copy-300x200San Francisco tenants have a lot to worry about. Finding an apartment takes weeks, sometimes months, of searching. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years, and many landlords are using dubious methods to force long-time renters out of their homes in order to raise the rent even more. While some landlords try to take advantage of lawful evictions whenever possible, others utilize illegal means, such as harassment, fraudulent landlord or relative move-ins, and fake eviction notices.

Fake Eviction Notices

In competitive real estate and rental markets like San Francisco, it should come as no surprise that some landlords will try and get tenants to move out of their units without going through a proper and formal eviction process. Landlords often use harassment, making a tenant’s life and home so uncomfortable, it feels best to leave. Other landlords use neglect. They ignore repair requests and let the building or specific unit become less and less habitable until a tenant moves out.

brandon-griggs-82205-300x200Despite what you might have heard, California does not have a statewide rent control provision. This leaves rent control up to cities or counties. If you live in a unit that is applicable to your local rent control ordinance, then you have a number of additional rights as a tenant compared to another renter in a non-rent controlled unit. Your landlord can only raise your rent a certain amount at a certain interval, and must give you a specific amount of notice regarding the increase. Each of these elements, including how much, will be dictated by your local law. If you believe your unit is rent controlled and your landlord is violating the ordinance, contact a local tenants rights attorney to find out how to protect your rights.

Look up Your Local Law

When you are wondering if your unit is rent controlled, the first question you should ask is whether your city has a rent control ordinance. Some cities do, and some do not. The following cities have some type of rent control ordinance in California: