April 2012 Archives

Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage Legislation Change

800px-Wedding_rings.jpgLegislation amends Family Code 297 and 2320, and add Family code 297.1 and 298.7 to remove the requirement that domestic partners have a common residence to register, permits establishment of a confidential domestic partnership, and permits same-sex spouses who married in California to petition for dissolution in California without the parties meeting regular residency requirements if neither spouse resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage.

Continue reading "Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage Legislation Change" »

Miss a 15-Day Window, No Rent is Due To Santa Rosa Landlords

commercial-residential-rental-real-estate-investment.jpgThe California Apartment Association (CAA) is opposing Assembly Bill 1953 which says that if a new owner or property manager fails within 15 days to provide notice to the tenant of the new name, telephone number, and address of the person or entity to whom rent payments shall now be made, waives any rent accrued prior to giving that notice.

The bill is sponsored by the San Francisco tenant's rights group, Tenants Together. Tenants Together claims that some owners don't tell tenants where to pay the rent and then they intentionally wait months for the rent and then they finally get around to serving the tenant with a 3-day notice, at a time when tenants have already spent their rent money and can't pay.

But CAA disagrees and points out that a number of years ago, this issue was addressed in statute. The law requires the property owner to put specific information in the Notices to Pay Rent or Quit. Those notices must include information about where rent payments are to be made and the specific times that the owner or the agent is available to receive the rent. A tenant who claims he or she didn't know where the rent was to be paid or whether it was even due and owing, and they thereafter spent the rent money, is simply not logical.

Continue reading "Miss a 15-Day Window, No Rent is Due To Santa Rosa Landlords" »

Prospective Tenants and Screening Fees: What An Owner Can And Cannot Do

tenant-screening-02.jpgThe amount of the screening fee cannot be greater than the actual out-of-pocket costs of gathering information concerning the applicant, including, but not limited to:

1. The cost of using a tenant screening service or a consumer credit reporting service, and
2. The reasonable value of time spent by the owner or his or her agent to obtain the information.

The initial law provided that in no case, however, can the amount of the application fee charged by the owner be greater than $30 per applicant. This fee may be adjusted annually by the owner commensurate with an increase in the Consumer Price Index. As of December 2011, the adjusted rate is $43.54.

Unless the applicant agrees in writing, the owner cannot charge a fee when he or she knows or should have known that no rental unit is available at that time or will be available within a reasonable period of time.

The owner must provide the applicant with a receipt for the fee paid by the applicant. The receipt must itemize the out-of-pocket expenses and the time spent by the owner or his/her employees to obtain and process the information.

If the owner does not perform a reference check or does not obtain a credit report, the owner must return any amount of the fee that is not used.

If a fee is paid and if a request is made by the applicant, the owner must provide a copy of the credit report to the applicant.

Continue reading "Prospective Tenants and Screening Fees: What An Owner Can And Cannot Do" »