2016 Laws Affecting Real Estate
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Mold/Habitatility Standards: A building will be deemed legally substandard for infestation of mold (microscopic organism and fungi that grow in damp conditions) if visible mold growth (as determined by a health/code enforcement officer) endangers the property occupants’ health. A landlord … Read More

Permitting emotional service animals in a no-pet building
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I have a no-pet policy in my building. A tenant told me that she wants to keep a dog that had belonged to her mother, who recently died. She said the dog was an “emotional service” dog that was helping … Read More

How to deal with lead and asbestos in your units
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One of my tenants had her apartment checked for asbestos and lead because she has young children. The inspector found asbestos and lead. Now my tenant is demanding that I fix these hazardous conditions. Must I comply with my tenant’s … Read More

How to handle tenants’ lost keys and related security issues
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One of my tenants lost her keys along with her ID, address and other identification. Our apartment building has special security locks on the front door. If we feel it is necessary to replace the lobby keys for all tenants, … Read More

What you can do if a tenant backs out of a lease before moving in
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If a tenant has already signed a lease, and then decides he/she no longer wants the unit and doesn’t move in, is the tenant still legally responsible for rent payments? The first question is whether or not a landlord-tenant relationship … Read More

What you can and cannot charge your tenant if a disaster strikes the unit
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If a unit remains occupied by a tenant, but is slightly damaged from a disaster, can a landlord continue to charge the full rent? We would recommend that you follow the same general principals that apply for any damages to … Read More

How to pass increased water bills onto your tenants
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We have some units with laundry equipment in them and have recently experienced a huge spike in our water bills. Can we pass these increases on to the tenants or remove the equipment? Be advised that any increase you pass … Read More

Proposition 65 sign requirements for apartment buildings
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Would you go over the Proposition 65 requirements for proper posting of signs in or around apartment buildings? If you have not already done so, you should post Proposition 65 warning signs at your apartment building(s) immediately. Note that merely … Read More

When the tenant must pay your insurance deductible
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“My tenant has refused to pay a rent increase. How can I get her to do so?” The first thing you must do is serve proper written notice of the rent increase. This notice must be given at least 30 … Read More

When the tenant must pay your insurance deductible
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A tenant in my upper flat recently ran water in the sink for over an hour, flooding the lower flat. The tenant has no renter’s insurance; can I charge him my $1,000.00 insurance deductible? Yes, you can charge the tenant … Read More

Application of State and Federal Fair Housing Laws to 1-4 unit buildings
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I read that 1-4 unit buildings are exempt from the Federal Fair Housing Act. Is this true? If so, are they exempt from state fair-housing laws as well? No. Be very careful! 1-4 unit buildings are not exempt from the … Read More

Bypassing the SF Condo Lottery
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I own a duplex in the Richmond that was built in 1980. Can I bypass the city’s condominium lottery and just convert them to condos? The year the building was built (1980), although significant with regard to local eviction and … Read More