My Landlord is Asking for an Estoppel. Need I Sign It?

An estoppel certificate is a legal document that simply establishes the terms and status of a rental agreement (or lease) for a third party like a prospective buyer. Typically a tenant is asked to complete an estoppel when purchase negotiations advance and that request may come from the current owner or an agent working on behalf of a prospective buyer. It is nothing to fear; it is a standard step in the sale of real property. In any case the lease or rental agreement may require the tenant to complete it. When presented with an estoppel to complete and sign you may have questions. Here is what you need to know.

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Small Claims Court: A Tenant’s Guide [Updated]

A landlord-tenant legal dispute can arise in a variety of situations, but when it concerns money in an amount that is less $12,500 the tenant can take the landlord to small claims court. Neither the plaintiff nor the landlord can bring an attorney to small claims, so it somewhat levels the playing field compared to superior court where landlords are invariably represented by counsel. Among the most common small claims cases are those that concern a security deposit unlawful withheld. Let’s look at the small claims process and, specifically, at the example concerning the security deposit.

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Security Deposits: A Primer [Updated]

One of the challenges of renting is the up-front cost: a prospective Beverly Hills tenant can expect to hand over about $5,000 to rent a 1-bedroom apartment while a 2-bedroom household may need $7,000 to start. A hefty two-month deposit would add another 50%. But another challenge is renting when the landlord delays returning the deposit or takes a big bite out of it. What’s the law?

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Security Deposit: Ten Steps to a Timely Refund [Updated]

State law requires that the security deposit be returned to the tenant within 21 days of move-out. Any deduction up to $125 must include an itemized list of actual expenses paid by the landlord. But too often we hear of improper deductions or even the entire deposit stolen by the landlord. The law is clear that the deposit is the tenant’s money and is to be returned minus only specific, lawful expenses. Before the landlord can steal your money protect yourself with these steps….starting with move-in.

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Burglar Bars in Multifamily: Crime Protection Measure or Fire Safety Hazard?

‘Burglar bars’ are wrought-iron grates that are affixed to first-floor windows of residential dwellings. We see them all across Los Angeles and occasionally in Beverly Hills. They may provide a sense of security, but when not properly maintained they can rust and fail to swing open when released from inside. In a fire they can trap residents inside. Too often we see aged and rusting burglar bars on multifamily properties that are poorly-maintained and that can be a safety hazard. So we got to wondering…What are the regulations on burglar bars?

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New City Website. Same City Hall Indifference.

We could fund a robust tenants’ rights campaign if only we had a nickel for every time that we found and reported a problem with the city’s website. And a recent redesign is scant improvement. For a decade we have complained to the city about poorly-organized menus, long load times, and broken links throughout the site. But after the redesign broken links are now our problem. Nearly all of our posts link to beverlyhills.org and overnight all those links broke. They now return an error page. To what can we attribute that oversight? Indifference!

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Pamela Azar: Remembering My Neighbor, Gone Five Years Already

Five years ago we lost to cancer Pamela Azar, who was a civic-minded neighbor and a passionate Renters Alliance follower. So much time has passed; how can it be? It seems like only yesterday that Pam and I shared a call or I opened my email inbox to see another uplifting message of support in our ongoing effort to wring better tenant protections from city hall. Pam died in hospice on June 22, 2019 before we even had a chance to meet though we lived only blocks apart. Here is a bit more about a lovely soul I am proud to have called ‘neighbor.’

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SB 712: Tenants May Keep a ‘Micromobility’ Device At Home

Landlords can be arbitrary when it comes to ‘house rules.’ We know landlords that don’t allow the storage of bicycles in common areas or even leased premises like the balcony. Yet few apartment houses provide bicycle parking. That is also the problem with personal mobility devices like scooters and e-bikes: where to store and charge them? On January 1st Senate Bill 712 took effect. The new law allows a bicycle, e-bike or other micromobility device to be stored inside an apartment. But some conditions apply so let’s look at the details!

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Sacramento Limits Security Deposits to One Month’s Rent*

In recent years our state legislature has chipped away at certain rental housing practices that harm tenants every day. Most recently Assembly Bill 12 took effect on July 1st to bar most landlords from demanding more than one month’s rent for the security deposit. It was intended by legislatures to make renting more financially affordable at the front end. But it also provides a move-out benefit for tenants who would be ripped-off by their unscrupulous landlord: he can keep only one month’s worth of deposit without any justification. Here is what Assembly Bill 12 means for tenants.

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How to Submit Your Complaint to City of Beverly Hills

City of Beverly Hills is slow to act on problems in the community because city hall undertakes no proactive enforcement of our municipal code. If an officer in the field witnesses a violation, he won’t take the initiative to open a case. Instead the city relies on residents to make a complaint, follow up, and if the problem goes uncorrected then to go through the process all over again. Submitting a complaint can be frustrating but don’t worry we have plenty of experience. Here is our guide to complaints and some tips to get the city to act!

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Juneteenth: The Beverly Hills Construction Holiday That Wasn’t!

Beverly Hills employee unions asked for a paid holiday for Juneteenth. City hall couldn’t agree more and city council gave its approval in December. Would residents also get a holiday from construction on this new city holiday? Yes! Five months later council proclaimed it so. However the holiday ordinance was adopted two days too late for Juneteenth to be recognized as a construction holiday this year. The employees got their paid holiday but residents didn’t get our holiday so construction proceeded apace across the city. Read on to learn how we lost our promised construction holiday in 2024.

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