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Q: I have a tenant who is not paying rent and I’m confused about all the current legislation. Am I, or am I not allowed to evict?

A: Well, that’s a good question, no, you’re not right now. The eviction ban is on in California and there are a lot of nuances right now in terms of getting portions of your rents and lump sum payments that are due by a certain date. 

Q: I used an old addenda from an older lease, and we said that the tenants were responsible for wear and tear on paint. This caused a lot of controversy and I believe conflict with a clause in the lease agreement. Is this not a good thing to include? 

There’s an applied warranty around paint, but for after a certain period. We are not implying; but applied usable life or the lifespan for paint/everything in rental property in California and in the United States in general has an expected functional lifespan. Whether it’s wall paint, carpet, hardwood floor refinishing appliances or toilets. I’ve actually looked at that schedule, there’s nothing set in stone, but if you look up the schedules, you can find like contractor resources online because the state of California and the real estate industry doesn’t necessarily provide anything. But there are guidelines that are relatively congruent amongst different sources that state these things, and we find we like to err on the side of caution when it comes to those things. When we are making significant deductions to our tenants deposit, we feel like if we’re showing some kind of fairness towards the tenant, how they’re being treated, when they’re being held accountable and if we’re spending their money making deductions, that it will help support that case in court.

Because as Christopher and I know about going to court over deposit deductions, once you go in front of a judge, no matter how justified you feel your case is, no matter how well documented it is, all bets are off. Once you go in front of a judge because they become the arbiter and it’s up to them regardless of what the law supports. So I think also you want to think about the spirit behind the clauses and the agenda. If their rationale behind that is to put the onus of repainting the interior, exterior of your property on the tenant. That’s not really a reasonable way to approach that scenario. I mean, when a tenant moves into a property, hypothetically speaking, it’s been repainted on the inside. It’s fresh paint, or the paint is relatively new and they’re gonna live in that. And if the tenant is just living the property costs scuffs on the walls or inadvertent dings, that’s one thing. If they hammer a hole in the wall or they hang a bunch of pictures and the whole wall needs to be repainted, that’s completely different from normal wear and tear. So I think that if you’re going to include an addendum like that, you want to make sure that it’s clear, clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, not just putting the onus completely back on the tenant so that you don’t have to spend money on the back end of that lease. It’s also important to know that no matter what you put in your lease, you can’t supersede California law right? So you can do whatever you want until the cows come home, but it’s exactly, and that’s probably what I would imagine what those tenants were getting into. 

Now. I will say we see this come up when landlords have very expensive custom paint jobs like murals or very fancy wallpaper like it does come up where they say, I want this Venetian glasses. And the thing is, when you are turning your home into a rental, you are now operating a business. And with that business comes some expense. And part of that is expecting, wear and tear. So while it may be awesome to say, like, I just repainted, this is all brand new. So it needs to be turned over brand new, or I’ve got this $50,000 Venetian plaster, and it’s got to look the same, the fact is the tenants have a right in California to put reasonable wear and tear on your property. And that’s just part of being a landlord. I mean you’re somewhat complicit in the fact they might damage walls or inadvertently because you’re allowing tenants live in your property. You’re complicit in that damage on some level, according to in the eyes of the law. 

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