Articles Tagged with Calfornia landord/tenant law firm

josh-wilburne-501947-unsplash-copy-300x200San Francisco’s Rent Control Ordinance gives tenants certain rights when it comes to eviction. It either prohibits eviction in certain cases or, in others, allows the tenant to recover relocation costs from the landlord. It also created The Rent Control Board to help prevent tenant abuse by landlords. One of the areas of law that the ordinance covers, which is frequently abused by landlords, is called “just cause” evictions.

Rent Control Ordinance

The  San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance regulates how and when landlords can increase rents and pass on their costs to their tenants. It also regulates tenant evictions. It provides restrictions on when landlords may evict tenants.

yoann-siloine-532510-unsplash-copy-200x300The California Department of Public Health has previously declared that childhood lead exposure poses the greatest environmental health threat to children in the state. As such, both federal and California law provide protections to ensure that exposure to lead is minimized.  Children are especially sensitive to lead exposure, and California has long been considered a leader in trying to eliminate lead exposure in children.

How are Children Exposed to Lead?

Since 1978, lead has been banned in paint in the U.S. However, especially in a city like San Francisco that has a tremendous amount of older housing stock, decades of lead-based paint still exists in many buildings. Over time, paint breaks down and is worn away. This results in dust and paint chips being released into the environment. As every parent knows, small children will put anything in their mouths, including paint chips. Furthermore, lead was a constituent ingredient in many plumbing products. When it degrades, it can enter the water supply, thereby serving as another method of introduction into the bodies of children. Finally, lead can accumulate in the dirt on the grounds of a dwelling as it sloughs off exterior painted surfaces.  The dirt can then get ingested directly or brought into the house and incidentally ingested.

scott-webb-386701-copy-202x300In California, landlords have a duty to ensure that residences are “fit for human occupancy,” and that any necessary repairs are taken care of. Despite these laws, however, it is not uncommon for tenants to walk into an uninhabitable apartment for which they have already signed the contract and paid. If you find yourself in a situation like this, contact the landlord-tenant attorneys at Willoughby Brod and seek out the help you need to regain habitable living quarters.

What an Uninhabitable Residence Looks Like

Just because something is broken or malfunctioning in your apartment does not mean that it is uninhabitable. However, California law does assign a broad spectrum of responsibilities to landlords when it comes to ensuring that a property is habitable, including the following:

lili-popper-29464-300x169California law prohibits any harassment by landlords in order to push their tenants out of their homes. Even though the landlord owns the building, the tenant lives there and has the right to live peacefully in his or her home. If your landlord is harassing you in any way, call the experienced landlord tenant attorneys at Brod Law Firm to provide a fast and aggressive defense of your rights.

What is Landlord Harassment?

Landlord harassment is when a landlord purposely creates undesirable living conditions that are designed to push the tenant out of the home. Examples of landlord harassment may include the following:

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