Landlor-Tenant Matters
  • Are you a landlord who is trying to evict his/her noncomplying tenant for nonpayment of the rent or violating various clauses of the lease?
  • Are you a "new" landlord who needs a consultation with the specialist on how to handle various landlord-tenant related issues?
  • Are you a tenant who feels that his rights have been violated by the landlord or his/hers agents?

    Landlord-tenant law governs the rental of commercial and residential property. The basis of the legal relationship between a landlord and tenant is grounded in both contract and property law. The tenant has a property interest in the land for a given period of time.

    The landlord-tenant agreement is normally embodied in a lease. The lease, though not historically or strictly a contract, may be subject to concepts embodied in contract law. Housing codes were established to ensure that residential rental units were habitable at the time of rental and during the tenancy. Housing code violations may lead to administrative action or to the tenant being allowed to withhold rent. The habitability of a residential rental unit is also ensured by warranties of habitability, which are prescribed by statutory law. A breach of the warranty of habitability or a covenant within the lease may constitute constructive eviction, allow the tenant to withhold rent, repair the problem and deduct the cost from the rent, or recover damages.

    Also known as "unlawful detainer", an eviction is the legal process whereby a landlord forces a tenant to move out of the property. An unlawful detainer is treated as a civil criminal proceeding because the code describing unlawful detainer states a "tenant is guilty" of this offense, not just liable as in civil cases. Even if a tenant moves and pays the judgment amount, the "conviction" remains on the record for 7-10 years.

    Landlords routinely require a Security Deposit to be posted as a condition of the rental agreement. In California, for residential tenancies, a landlord may charge up to two times the monthly rent for unfurnished and up to three times the rent for furnished rental units. The deposit is held until the tenant moves out. The money is then supposed to be refunded within 21 days of moving out, less deductions for rent owing and charges for cleaning or repairing damages caused by excessive wear and tear. The deposit generally transfers to successive owners. A non-refundable deposit is not allowed. Thus, it is refundable no matter what the contract says.
      If you need legal assistance related to the lanlord-tenant matters, request an initial consultation now.