Category: Tenant resources

It is Totally OK to Post Your Own Yes-on-10 Sign

It is that time of year! Our election ballot is loaded with propositions and the No-on–10 campaign is sowing a small crop of political signs across lawns in town. (That’s what $75M in landlord money buys.) What’s a tenant to do? Plant a Yes-on–10 sign, right? But there is no Yes-on-10 sign available. So we must fashion them from the opponents’ signs as one self-starter on Reeves has done. But…is it lawful for a tenant to post a lawn sign on the landlord’s lawn? Yes it is! Read More It is Totally OK to Post Your Own Yes-on-10 Sign

Tips to Avoid the Carpet Cleaning Bait-and-Switch

Longtime tenants know this story: worn carpets long past their prime get to looking downright threadbare. Yet pleas for renewal find no sympathy from an inattentive landlord. Even a request for a carpet cleaning falls on a deaf ear (so to speak). When the quality of interior furnishings like carpets declines, it can fall to the tenant to pick up the slack: new paint, new carpet and the occasional carpet cleaning at her own expense. We’ve done that and more over the past twenty years and most recently hired a carpet cleaner. Here are our lessons learned! Read More Tips to Avoid the Carpet Cleaning Bait-and-Switch

Wilshire-Rodeo Station Construction: Where is the Mitigation for Tenants?

Wilshire-Rodeo station location mapDo you live in near the future Metro station at Wilshire and Reeves? If so you are likely to experience construction-related disruption from the project. But If you rent housing near the future Purple Line station, your problems are only beginning. Households near the station are quite likely to be displaced over the coming years, so I’ve asked City of Beverly Hills to consider strong-arming Metro for compensation. Read on! Read More Wilshire-Rodeo Station Construction: Where is the Mitigation for Tenants?

The Heat is Here!

Heatwave July 2018The summer heat has finally arrived! And with it comes special dangers for a senior who may not have air conditioning in her apartment. A recent heat warning spelled out the danger:

…EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM FRIDAY TO 9 PM PDT SATURDAY.. HIGH TEMPERATURES…Record heat likely. Increased potential for serious heat-related illnesses, especially for the young and elderly, those performing outdoor activities, as well as those without access to air conditioning.

Seniors without air conditioning who reside on the upper floors of older buildings are most vulnerable. Check for the latest posted Los Angeles County heat alert and then consider these resources. Read More The Heat is Here!

No-Just-Cause Eviction: A Primer

I regularly speak with tenants who are not aware that the landlord can end a month-to-month tenancy for any reason or no reason at all. If no local ordinance prohibits it, and Beverly Hills has no such prohibition, the landlord’s good will is all that stands between the home we’ve made and the stomach-churning search for post-eviction replacement housing. Have you thought about what happens next after receiving such a notice? Here’s a primer on no-just-cause eviction: what it is, what to expect, and what you can do. Read More No-Just-Cause Eviction: A Primer

Repair-and-Deduct at Your Peril!

Tenants are allowed to deduct from the rent the cost of a repair when the landlord won’t make it. Colloquially it’s known as ‘repair-and-deduct’ and the logic is straightforward: the rental agreement says you pay your rent and the landlord maintains the premises. But like so many tenant protections, this one too comes with practical limits. Understand that failing to follow the law carefully may put a tenant in court fighting an unlawful detainer. That’s why I advise tenants against withholding any part of the rent. If you feel that you must deduct, then at least read more before you do. Read More Repair-and-Deduct at Your Peril!

Know Your Rights: State Law Prohibits Discrimination in Housing

Landlords largely get free rein in Beverly Hills. The city mandates so few protections for those who rent, in fact, that only residents in 3% of households – those that fall under the city’s earlier Chapter 5 rent stabilization code – can feel like City Hall has their back. Most tenants’ protections derive largely from state law which means a trip to court on our own dime for an uncertain outcome. Discrimination in housing is different: state and federal law provides for significant penalties against any landlord who discriminates, and that protection is backstopped in the courts by state and federal officials and non-governmental organizations that file suit on behalf of tenants. Read More Know Your Rights: State Law Prohibits Discrimination in Housing

The Tenant’s Challenge: Due Diligence on the Landlord

Tenant and landlord representatives sat down for a series of facilitated dialogues last summer to talk about a rent stabilization policy changes and we agreed that bad actors cause the most grief: predatory landlords who take advantage of tenants and problem tenants who are a thorn to landlord and neighbors alike. While landlords have the means to flag potentially-problematic tenants, though, a prospective tenant cannot do the due diligence: there exists no means to reliably vet a landlord before signing a lease. That puts the lie to caveat emptor: ‘Let the buyer beware.’ Read More The Tenant’s Challenge: Due Diligence on the Landlord

Beware Unauthorized Occupants!

Taking in a roommate or a long-term guest seems innocuous enough. Maybe it’s a means to pay the rent or a goodwill gesture to a friend or family member. But the presence of unauthorized occupants may be a breach of the lease or rental agreement so it’s always smart to read what it allows and then secure permission from the landlord if necessary. Lets look at a couple of situations that may get the unwitting tenant into some trouble. Read More Beware Unauthorized Occupants!

Limits on Unit Occupancy: It’s Complicated!

Recently an apartment adjacent to mine leased quite quickly. The new tenants, nice guys all, introduced themselves. Three adult men seemed a tight fit for a one-bedroom apartment smaller than 500 square feet. It raised two questions. Why would three men rent that apartment? How many people can a landlord pack into a small place? The answer is not as straightforward as one might think. I did a little digging! Read More Limits on Unit Occupancy: It’s Complicated!

Pets in the Unit: Know Your Rights!

Incidents involving disruptive animals in airplanes have garnered much attention recently because farm animals like pigs and peacocks don’t seem a good fit for a tight cabin. Yet they may fly as ‘emotional support’ animals under federal rules. Tenants can claim the same accommodation and may use it to keep a landlord from turning away a pet. But is that advisable? Let’s take a closer look at pets in apartments and review the tenant’s options. Read More Pets in the Unit: Know Your Rights!

Mold in the Unit: It’s Complicated!

Landlords and tenants tend to get anxious when hearing the term ‘mold.’ But it’s important to remember that while mold is a moisture problem, the presence of moisture isn’t necessarily a mold problem. That is, humidity creates conditions for mold to grow but toxic mold should not prevail in our relatively dry climate unless it is left unaddressed. Mold is “complicated,” as they say, and so is getting help if you suspect mold is present in your apartment. Read More Mold in the Unit: It’s Complicated!

How to File a Code Violation Complaint

Listening to tenants talk in City Council or at the facilitated dialogues I am astounded that significant health and safety issues go unreported. Situations where a property’s structure is compromised or where in-apartment conditions beg for an inspector from code enforcement. I also understand that some tenants fear retaliation and don’t want to go on record. But others might contact the city if they know to reach out, and how to make that complaint effective. Here I walk through the steps to file and online complaint and highlight how the form allows for filing a complaint anonymously. Read More How to File a Code Violation Complaint

City-Funded Home Repairs Are Available

Did you know that Beverly Hills provides free minor home repairs to multifamily households? This federally-funded ‘housing rehabilitation program’ can provide mobility improvements, weatherization, water conservation, security and other aspects of apartment maintenance to households long-ignored by the landlord. The only catch: households must qualify for the handyworker program [flyer]. Read More City-Funded Home Repairs Are Available

City Holds Rent Stabilization Education Workshops

On Thursday Beverly Hills wrapped up the second of two rent stabilization ‘education workshops.’ Residents and landlords were invited to these town-hall events to learn about major changes to the city’s rent-stabilization law (read about the changes in the ordinance). This is tenants first opportunity to hear directly from city officials about how the new policies will affect us. Read More City Holds Rent Stabilization Education Workshops

On City Council’s Agenda: Legal Assistance for Those Who Rent [updated]

City Council at its Tuesday, May 16th 7pm meeting will discuss whether to fund a new housing rights legal services program. For the first time the city recognizes that residents who rent can find themselves at the wrong end of an eviction notice, or be harassed by a landlord or even suffer retribution for reporting mold, say. If this proposed $60,000 grant is supported by Council tonight, then residents will finally have access to free legal advice if we need it. Read More On City Council’s Agenda: Legal Assistance for Those Who Rent [updated]