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Steven Christophe Williams

Steven Williams’s Answers

10 total

  • If a tenant is served with a 90 day notice and it is now 120 days after the notice, does the landlord have to serve new notice?

    Section 8 tenant lease is up. Has not been paying her portion of the rent because it was increased. Landlord serve 90 day notice to terminate lease. Tenant does not move out and states he will pay so the landlord tries to work things out with tena...

    Steven’s Answer

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    If you have give proper termination notice, then the tenancy and housing authority contract is terminated upon the expiration of the termination notice. Termination of Section 8 tenancies and housing contracts typically require 90 days notice, so you may have given proper notice. If this is the case, then no further notice is needed. The tenancy was terminated and an unlawful detainer action may be filed immediately.

    Please note that if you have been accepting or demanding rent payments or housing authority payments for any period of time after the expiration of the termination notice, then you may have waived the 90 day termination notice. If this is the case, then you may consider serving a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit.

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  • Tenant magically disappears - mysteriously or not so mysteriously. What do I do now?

    I have a tenant who appears for all purposes for be in the hospital for an extended amount of time. I have not been able to collect any rent. Is this just a regular eviction like any other, or are there special legal obstacles to overcome? Of c...

    Steven’s Answer

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    As an alternative to the nonpayment of rent eviction process, you may be able to recover possession of the rental unit by delivering a belief of abandonment notice. When rent is due and unpaid for at least 14 days and you believe that the tenant has abandoned the property, then you may serve the tenant with a Notice of Belief of Abandonment. (CA Civil Code Section 1951.3).

    If the tenant does not respond within about 18 days after the abandonment notice is served, then the rental unit is deemed abandoned and you can recover possession of the rental unit.

    With regard to abandoned personal property, that requires a separate and additional notice after you get possession of the rental unit. (CA Civil Code Sections 1980 - 1991)

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  • My tenants have not paid rent in 3 months and I have served a 3 day pay or quit notice but they will not answer my calls now...

    They dont answer the door and all the phone numbers are changed.

    Steven’s Answer

    The tenants aren't under any obligation to take your calls. The notice to pay rent or quit only obligates them to pay the rent or vacate. If they do neither, then they are in unlawful possession of the premises. The fact that they are avoiding you speaks volumes. Your recourse is to file an unlawful detainer action against them in the superior court and then have them served with that lawsuit. That will probably get their attention.

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  • If my tenant pays his rent late but doesn't pay his later fee in the amount of time to receive it , can i give him 3day notice?

    Landlord rights in California for giving 30day notice for not paying late fee for late rent

    Steven’s Answer

    Late fees are generally not considered rent, so a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit is probably improper. But if the tenant fails to pay a lawful late fee that is required by the rental agreement, then the tenant is still violating the rental agreement. The law permits you to serve a 3 day notice to perform covenants or quit (this is different than a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit) when the tenant violates the rental agreement. You should probably consult with an attorney before serving any such notice.

    Depending on the language in your rental agreement, you may also be able to deduct the late fee from the security deposit and request the tenant to replenish the security deposit.

    You may also consider a small claims court action against the tenant.

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  • Is there a maximum number of units an owner can occupy 3 & 4-plex buildings in Oakland CA?

    A friend and I are planning to purchase a multiple unit building in Oakland CA. We would occupy 3 units in the building we purchase (one for myself, one for my friend, and one for my mother). I've heard that there might be a maximum number of un...

    Steven’s Answer

    Many Oakland properties are subject to local eviction controls. If your property is subject to these eviction controls and any of those units are tenant occupied, then you would need "just cause" to evict the tenants. An owner intending to make a unit his residence may be a just cause for eviction.
    However, if more than one unit is tenant occupied, then there may be some issues/restrictions in evicting them for owner occupancy.

    Anytime you need to evict someone from a unit that is subject to local eviction controls, then you should consult with an attorney familiar with those eviction controls. The Oakland eviction control laws are very complex.

    If, however, the three units are vacant or the tenants have voluntarily vacated (no evictions needed), then you are entitled to occupy one or more of those vacant units. There is no maximum number of vacant units in your own property that you may occupy.

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  • If my tenate has a month to month moved out without notice can i collect rent until i find a new renter

    if my tenate has a month to month moved out without notice can i collect rent until i find a new renter

    Steven’s Answer

    A tenant can terminate a month-to-month tenancy with a 30 day notice. That was not given to you. So, you are generally entitled to the resulting damages (i.e. rent for the next 30 days).

    However, you have a duty to try to minimize your damages. This means that you must make a reasonable effort to re-rent the unit as early as possible. If you find a new tenant within 15 days, for example, then you cannot collect 30 days worth of rent from your prior tenant - only 15 days worth of rent.

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  • If my tenate has a month to month moved out without notice can i collect rent until i find a new renter

    if my tenate has a month to month moved out without notice can i collect rent until i find a new renter

    Steven’s Answer

    A tenant can terminate a month-to-month tenancy with a 30 day notice. That was not given to you. So, you are generally entitled to the resulting damages (i.e. rent for the next 30 days).

    However, you have a duty to try to minimize your damages. This means that you must make a reasonable effort to re-rent the unit as early as possible. If you find a new tenant within 15 days, for example, then you cannot collect 30 days worth of rent from your prior tenant - only 15 days worth of rent.

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  • Can I turn off electric on a rental if it's not paid?

    I have the electric in my name, and my tenant is supposed to pay. They have not paid in 2 months. How can I force them to put the electric in their name? If I send a certified letter demanding that they do, how much time do I have to give them? I ...

    Steven’s Answer

    You first need to look to the rental agreement to see what it says about electric utilities. If the agreement requires them to pay for electricity and to put it in their names, then they are in violation of the rental agreement. In California, the law permits a landlord to serve a three day notice to "perform or quit" when the tenant is violating the terms of the rental agreement. If, after three days, the tenant does not perform (i.e. comply with the rental agreement) or quit (vacate), then the landlord can file an action in court - called an unlawful detainer action - to recover possession of the rental unit.

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  • Does it have to be the owner himself/herself to file the complaint for unlawful Detainer?

    I am the son. My dad does not speak any English and the house is under his name. We have a tenant who is not willing to pay rent. We sent them the 3 days notice already. We want to go to the next step which is the unlawful detainer. I just want to...

    Steven’s Answer

    The person named in an unlawful detainer complaint as the Plaintiff has to be someone who has the right to recover possession. This is typically the owner.

    However, the right to recover possession can also be assigned by the owner to someone else. It is not uncommon for owners to assign the right to a property manager. The person or company managing the property on behalf of the owner can be the Plaintiff in the unlawful detainer action.

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  • After being served a Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, does the tenant have to pay rent if she moves within the 3 days?

    After being served a Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, does the tenant have to pay rent if she moves within the 3 days?

    Steven’s Answer

    If the tenant quits (vacates) pursuant to a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, then the tenancy is terminated and the landlord is entitled to the rent through the date of the termination.

    Additionally, because the tenant breached the rental agreement by failing to pay rent, the landlord is also entitled to reasonable damages resulting from the breach, such as the rent demanded in the notice. Nevertheless, the landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent the unit and mitigate the damages. So, for instance, if the tenant quits on October 10th and the landlord is able to re-rent the unit on October 15th, then the tenant's rent liability will be for 15 days.

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