October 2017 Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers

Ted Kimball, Esq.


1.  Question:
I rent out a three-bedroom home with a covered patio that I have turned into a fourth bedroom.  There are four individual people renting.  My question is, can I call it renting rooms or am I renting a house to four different people?
It is better if you rent the house to all four under one lease with each tenant being “jointly and severally” liable, meaning they are individually responsible for the lease, as well as collectively.

2.  Question:
The previous owner of an apartment building I recently purchased allowed the tenants to pay half a month’s rent on the first and the other half on the fifteenth of the month.  The lease, however, says it is all due on the first and I want to enforce the lease.  What, if any legal problems do I face?
California judges may find that there has been a modification of the payment terms of the agreement by “mutual consent and execution” of the new payment terms.  Many leases have a provision which states that one waiver of strict enforcement of the terms does not constitute a continuous waiver for subsequent breaches.  If the agreement contains this clause, the court should rule that the rent is all due on the first of the month.

3.  Question:
One of our tenants is complaining about the carpet and says it is California law that the carpeting must be changed every seven years.  Have you heard of any law on this subject?
California law does not require landlord to replace carpeting, unless the condition of the carpet creates a health hazard or risk of injury.

4.  Question:
When tenants give notice that they will be vacating the residence, is it permissible for me to give them a notice stating that I will be advertising the vacancy and will be showing their apartment?
Unless the tenant agrees to another arrangement, you would be required to give reasonable notice (24 hours) in writing for every entry.

5.  Question:
I have a “Guarantee of Rental Agreement” from the mother of a tenant. The tenant is twelve days late with the rent.  Do I have an obligation to notify the mother and give her the chance to pay?  What is my recourse against her if she refuses to live up to the guarantee agreement?
Notifying the guarantor may be a requirement depending upon the language of the guarantee agreement.  You may want to advise the guarantor in any event and send her a courtesy copy of the three-day notice before taking action.

6.  Question:
Is it necessary that a notice to perform or quit be for three days, or can I choose to give an otherwise good tenant more time to solve the problem?
You can give the tenant more time to respond to a breach, but it should end with a three-day notice.  You could write the tenant that you are going to allow them to cure the breach by a certain date and if not cured by then, a three-day notice to perform will be served.

7.  Question:
How many protected classes are there in California?
In addition to the seven federal protected classes (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability) California has thirteen protected classes, some of which are unique to California.  They are: marital status, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, source of income, medical condition, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, citizenship, immigration status and primary language spoken. California also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that someone is from a protected class or is associated with someone from a protected class. Finally, it prohibits discrimination on any arbitrary basis.


This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. Ted Kimball is a partner with Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP. Our primary practice areas are landlord/tenant, collections, fair housing and business and real estate, with offices throughout California.  Property owner’s and manager’s with questions regarding the contents of this article, please call 800.338.6039.

© 2017 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP