Articles Tagged with Calfornia landord/tenant law firm

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:

jared-erondu-8130-copy-300x200On May 15, the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board appointed Marìa Poblet as the replacement commissioner for Katherine Harr, who had to step down. Poblet is a well-known tenants’ rights advocate and recently served as the executive director of Causa Justa: Justice Cause, a housing and immigrant rights organization for the area. Poblet will serve as commissioner until Nov. 20, 2018 and then must run for her seat if she wishes to continue on.

Poblet Brings Additional Tenant Advocacy to Berkeley Board

Poblet spent a significant part of her youth in Los Angeles, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has been a community organizer and human rights leader in the Bay Area for more than a decade. She is a fierce advocate of housing as a human right and through Causa Justa, focuses on helping the black and Latino communities find and retain affordable and safe housing. Prior to helping create Causa Justa in 2010, she was the executive director at St. Peter’s Housing Committee in San Francisco. Additionally, Poblet is known for her stance that technology companies that move into the area and perpetuate rising rents and tenant displacement should work to mitigate these issues. In 2016, she pushed for a San Francisco initiative that would tax tech companies to help pay for affordable housing in the area. She was also awarded the 2016 Levi Strauss Pioneer Award for the work she has done in preventing evictions.

fre-sonneveld-2073-300x200San Jose took a momentous step forward in April when it passed two regulations to create stricter eviction rules and protect the city’s tenants. The Tenant Protection Ordinance and Ellis Act Ordinance both passed with six votes in favor and five votes against, only narrowly making it through after hours of public comments and council discussion. The new regulations set an important precedent as tenants all over California worry about being evicted so landlords can charge newer tenants more rent.

The Tenant Protection Ordinance

Under the new Tenant Protection Ordinance, landlords must give tenants a “just cause” for the eviction. This includes evicting tenants for not paying rent, breaking one or more provisions within their leases, causing damage to the unit, having unauthorized subtenants, or being a nuisance with their behavior. In fact, the law lays out a dozen different just cause evictions. While landlords state that this places an undue burden on them and makes it difficult to get rid of problem tenants, the law offers landlords sufficient reasons to evict tenants who do not follow the terms of the lease or create problems within the building.

nitish-meena-198784-copy-300x200In the current political climate, it comes as no surprise to local California attorneys and authorities that landlords are using the threat of deportation against their tenants who are or appear to be immigrants. The exact reasons for the threats vary. Some landlords want to force immigrants to pay higher rents while others want them to move out so the landlord can charge new tenants more. Still other landlords are using threats of calling immigration officials to move racial minorities out of certain neighborhoods for the purpose of gentrification. Whatever the reasons, these threatening tactics violate tenants’ rights.

If you are experiencing threats or harassment from your landlord based on your immigrant or documentation status, contact a San Francisco tenant rights attorney at Brod Law Firm to learn about protecting your rights.

Your Immigration or Citizenship Status is Private

mike-wilson-175347-225x300Whether or not your landlord can raise your rent and by how much depends on your rental unit and whether it is covered by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. If you received notice of a massive rent hike on your unit, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney for answers to your questions. You can contact the San Francisco Rent Board, San Francisco Tenants Union, or an experienced San Francisco tenant rights attorney at Brod Law Firm.

Whether Your Unit is Covered under the SFRO

Your rental unit is covered by the SFRO if it was built before 1979 and has at least two residential units. Buildings that were certified for occupancy after June 13, 1979 are exempt from the Rent Ordinance. This means if you live in an older building, it is probably rent controlled. If you live in a new building, it is likely not rent controlled.

800px-Ectobius_vittiventris_001-300x193Where there is one cockroach, there are bound to be many more. These hard-to-kill insects, also called water bugs, reproduce easily and quickly. A female can produce hundreds of new cockroaches each year and the insects can live off of almost anything. It is no wonder that once a cockroach gets into your apartment, it quickly turns into an infestation that requires professional treatment. If you are a tenant and you begin noticing cockroaches in your apartment, it is time to go to the landlord. Your landlord has a responsibility to maintain your rental unit so that it is safe and habitable. An untreated cockroach infestation makes your apartment unlivable, giving you a couple of legal options.

The Implied Warranty of Habitability

The implied warranty of habitability is a promise given by California law that your rental unit will be safe and livable. It also includes the promise that the landlord must maintain the premises in a safe, working, livable condition, which means fixing problems as they arise. This warranty is not a part of your lease. It exists no matter what your oral and written lease says. If the landlord breaches this promise and your apartment becomes unlivable, you may have the right to fix a problem yourself and deduct the cost from rent, move out without a financial detriment, or sue the landlord for compensation.

uteuunhvmls-steinar-engeland-300x200There are no shortages of older buildings in San Francisco. While these old homes and apartment buildings may have their own charm, they also often have lead paint since it was not banned until 1978. When lead-based paint is in good shape, it poses little health threat to you or other renters. However, older and poorly maintained units can have lead paint that is chipping, peeling off the walls, and contributing to a great deal of contaminated dust. If you believe your unit has lead paint or you know it has lead paint and it is causing your health issues, call a San Francisco tenant rights attorney from Brod Law Firm as soon as possible.

The Potential Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause individuals both minor and serious health problems. When too much lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause seizures and lead to damage in the brain and other vital organs like the kidneys. Lead is particularly dangerous for kids and pregnant women. Even small amounts of lead in kids younger than 6 can lead to mental and physical developmental issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. For pregnant women, high lead levels in the body can increase the risk of miscarriage, early birth, low birth weight, health issues for the fetus, and developmental delays in the child.