Articles Tagged with Residential

All too often new ideas get ahead of the law. Airbnb and VRBO are examples of just such a situation. Real estate lawyers are being inundated with calls from landlords who are receiving citations from their cities, fines from their homeowners’ association, and/or are receiving complaints from neighbors because their tenants have jumped on the Airbnb bandwagon to make some extra money. While municipal laws such as those enacted in San Francisco are emerging regarding short term rentals, the courts are starting to make rulings strictly prohibiting a tenant from making their apartment available as a short term rental.  Many of you may be reading this blog because you are wondering; “Is it legal for me to list my place on Airbnb?”For Rent Showing Layout Apartment And Plans

In Chen v. Kraft, a California appellate court found that using an apartment as a bed and breakfast or as a transient occupancy residential structure was a violation of zoning laws. Courts and cities throughout California have addressed this issue differently.  New laws are being enacted each month in different cities and counties throughout California.  With all of this confusion, you should consult a real estate attorney who specializes in landlord tenant issues to find out what you can and cannot do with respect to short-term rentals.

Problems Caused By Short Stay Rentals

While it may seem like a fine idea to rent a room or your entire home out for some extra cash, problems abound when people try to circumvent many of the regulations that hotels and inns must follow.  Companies such as VRBO and Airbnb do not provide legal support and often short term rentals violate local ordinances.  When people list their apartments or homes, they do not pay the tourism taxes that hotels do. Most landlords do not appreciate having their residential units turned into hotels yet they have been able to use the short-term rental concept as a means of circumventing local rent control laws by taking their unit off the market for long-term housing and then offering it to visitors and tourists. Continue reading

Each week we receive calls from landlords and tenants who need a real estate attorney to advise them regarding residential security deposits. Nearly every residential landlord requires that a tenant pay a security deposit before moving into a residential property. Even though security deposits are common place, it is surprising how many misconceptions both landlords and tenants have regarding California security deposit law. It is also important to understand that different laws apply regarding mobile homes, commercial properties, and boats. This is the first installment of a two part blog dealing only with laws that relate to residential properties. This part will deal with security deposit issues that arise at the beginning of a lease.

Thumbnail image for Money in Hand.jpgWhat Is Security? California Civil Code section 1950.5 defines “security” as any fee, payment, charge or deposit that is required by a landlord at the start of a tenancy for costs associated with the tenant that can be used to reimburse the landlord for any purpose (except for the application of a screening fee and consumer credit report prior to the time the lease is made.) No lease or agreement may ever categorize a “security” as nonrefundable.

How Much Can Be Charged For A Security Deposits? When a landlord requires a tenant to pay a security deposit, the amount of the security deposit cannot exceed the costs of two month’s rent if the residential property is unfurnished and three month’s rent if the residential property is furnished. There are some exceptions to this rule but they deal primarily with advance payments of rent when a lease is for more than six months. (Civil Code section 1950.5(c).) Just because a security deposit is given a different name such as “pet deposit” or “last month’s rent” does not change the fact that it is a security deposit and must comply with the limits provided by law.
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