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Tenant-Landlord Training Gibson Dunn Jeanne Merino Joyce Song Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto.

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Presentation on theme: "Tenant-Landlord Training Gibson Dunn Jeanne Merino Joyce Song Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tenant-Landlord Training Gibson Dunn Jeanne Merino Joyce Song Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto

2 Overview of Training CLSEPA Intake Sessions CLSEPA Intake Sessions Goals Goals Mechanics Mechanics During the Tenancy During the Tenancy Habitability Habitability Rent Rent Fair Housing Fair Housing Odds and Ends Odds and Ends Ending the Tenancy Ending the Tenancy With and Without Cause With and Without Cause Process Process Security Deposits Security Deposits

3 Goals Goals of CLSEPA Housing Law Practice Goals of CLSEPA Housing Law Practice Maintain and increase decent, safe, and affordable housing for low-income people on the Peninsula, with a focus on East Palo Alto; Maintain and increase decent, safe, and affordable housing for low-income people on the Peninsula, with a focus on East Palo Alto; Work with tenants to increase knowledge of their rights, and develop and refine problem-solving skills; Work with tenants to increase knowledge of their rights, and develop and refine problem-solving skills; Work with tenants to keep them in their homes and smooth their transition to new homes. Work with tenants to keep them in their homes and smooth their transition to new homes.

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5 Timeline of Development in EPA 1983: EPA Incorporated as a city 1983: EPA Incorporated as a city 1989: Passes parcel tax 1989: Passes parcel tax : Pursues plan to bring Adobe HQ : Pursues plan to bring Adobe HQ : Pursues plan to bring Sun campus : Pursues plan to bring Sun campus 1992: “Murder capital” 1992: “Murder capital” 1995: Parcel tax struck down in court 1995: Parcel tax struck down in court 1995: Passes plan for Ravenswood : Passes plan for Ravenswood : Passes plan for University Circle 1997: Passes plan for University Circle 2000: Whiskey Gulch torn down 2000: Whiskey Gulch torn down 2012: California eliminates Redevelopment Agencies 2012: California eliminates Redevelopment Agencies

6 1960 Census East Palo Alto White72.0% Black22.0% All Other6.0%

7 1970 Census East Palo Alto Bay Area White34.0%86.4% Black61.0%7.9% Indian0.3%0.4% Japanese1.9%1.1% Chinese1.0%2.1% Filipino1.5%1.2% All Other0.6%0.9%

8 2010 Census East Palo Alto Bay Area White6%42% Black16%6% American Indian0% Asian4%23% Pacific Islander7%1% Other Races2%4% Hispanic or Latino64%24%

9 Goals of Housing Intake Clinics  To efficiently assist individual clients to resolve their housing problems;  To resolve housing problems before they get too unwieldy, and keep people in their homes;  To provide a venue for lawyers, legal assistance, and clients to strategize about how to reach client’s goals;  To leverage CLSEPA’s resources

10 Mechanics: Intake Meet a half hour before clients come to review issues – but be flexible for unexpected changes! Meet a half hour before clients come to review issues – but be flexible for unexpected changes! Interview-Consult with Attorney-Return to client to determine process going forward Interview-Consult with Attorney-Return to client to determine process going forward Post-interview Post-interview All interviewers will write an intake memo All interviewers will write an intake memo Most interviewers will write a demand letter Most interviewers will write a demand letter Other follow-up possible Other follow-up possible

11 Mechanics: Interview Purposes Purposes Determine housing problem and client’s goals Determine housing problem and client’s goals Get information Get information Establish good working relationship Establish good working relationship Don’t give any advice without checking with attorney! Don’t give any advice without checking with attorney! Bring pen & paper for interview Bring pen & paper for interview Bring laptop for research (and drafting) Bring laptop for research (and drafting)

12 Interview Process Start with Explanation of the Process Start with Explanation of the Process Who you are (non-lawyer supervised by lawyers) Who you are (non-lawyer supervised by lawyers) All ethical obligations of an attorney All ethical obligations of an attorney No charge No charge We will figure out at the end what we can help with We will figure out at the end what we can help with Paperwork Paperwork Conflict’s check, intake sheet, brief services form Conflict’s check, intake sheet, brief services form Get the client’s story Get the client’s story Consult with Attorney Consult with Attorney Make copies of everything! Originals stay with client Make copies of everything! Originals stay with client Decide what we can help with Decide what we can help with

13 During the Tenancy Rent Increases and other Changes in Terms Rent Increases and other Changes in Terms Habitability Habitability Fair Housing Fair Housing Odds and Ends Odds and Ends

14 How much rent can LL charge? Initial rent is market-driven Initial rent is market-driven No limitations under EPA Rent Ordinance for initial rent (vacancy decontrol) No limitations under EPA Rent Ordinance for initial rent (vacancy decontrol) But new tenant in EPA is protected by rent stabilization (without regard to what prior tenant paid) But new tenant in EPA is protected by rent stabilization (without regard to what prior tenant paid)

15 Rent Landlords must give written receipt!!! Landlords must give written receipt!!! Civil Code Section 1499 Civil Code Section 1499

16 Rent Increases in EPA Limitations under Rent Stabilization Ordinance Limitations under Rent Stabilization Ordinance Landlords not exempt must register Landlords not exempt must register Vacancy decontrol Vacancy decontrol Administrative Board establishes AGA (around 2%) Administrative Board establishes AGA (around 2%) Landlords can “bank” increases for 3 years Landlords can “bank” increases for 3 years Only one increase per year Only one increase per year No more than 10% in a 12-month period No more than 10% in a 12-month period Does not apply to single family homes Does not apply to single family homes

17 Rent Increases Outside of EPA Landlord must wait until the end of the term of tenancy (i.e. yearlong lease) Landlord must wait until the end of the term of tenancy (i.e. yearlong lease) No limit per year No limit per year 30-days notice if rent is increased 10% or less 30-days notice if rent is increased 10% or less 60-days notice if rent is increased more than 10% 60-days notice if rent is increased more than 10% Civil Code Section 1013(a) Civil Code Section 1013(a) Exceptions: Section 8 tenancies, mobile home tenancies, floating tenancies Exceptions: Section 8 tenancies, mobile home tenancies, floating tenancies

18 Source of Habitability Obligation Warranty of Habitability at Common Law Warranty of Habitability at Common Law Statutes and Regulations Statutes and Regulations Provision of the Rental Contract Provision of the Rental Contract Rent Stabilization Ordinance in EPA Rent Stabilization Ordinance in EPA Tort Liability Tort Liability

19 Statutes and Regulations Landlord obligated to put premises into a condition fit for residential occupation and to repair all conditions that render the unit untenantable. But tenant is obligated to repair damages caused by herself, children, guests. Landlord obligated to put premises into a condition fit for residential occupation and to repair all conditions that render the unit untenantable. But tenant is obligated to repair damages caused by herself, children, guests. Cannot be waived. Cannot be waived. Civil Code Section 1941.

20 What is “untenantable”? Failure to provide effective: weatherproofing, electricity, plumbing and gas, heating, hot and cold water, stairways, floors and railings, working locks on doors and windows, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Premises free of rodents, vermin and lead hazards. Cal. Civil Code Section and Health and Safety Code Section and Calif Code of Regulations Section 1 et seq.

21 EPA Rent Ordinance Failure to Maintain Premises Failure to Maintain Premises Decrease in Services (broader than statutory requirements) Decrease in Services (broader than statutory requirements) Can result in a downward rent adjustment until the problem is fixed Can result in a downward rent adjustment until the problem is fixed EPA Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Section 18 (Passed June 2010) EPA Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Section 18 (Passed June 2010)

22 Remedies for Habitability Issues If emergency, If emergency, call fire department, call fire department, PG&E, PG&E, Code Enforcement of City and County Environmental Health Code Enforcement of City and County Environmental Health

23 Non-emergencies... Written request to repair (verbal okay but not ideal) Written request to repair (verbal okay but not ideal) Inspection Inspection Repair and Deduct Repair and Deduct Tenant’s Petition for Rent Adjustment (EPA) Tenant’s Petition for Rent Adjustment (EPA) Small Claims/Superior Court Action Small Claims/Superior Court Action Administrative Process with Code Enforcement Administrative Process with Code Enforcement

24 Repair and Deduct Risky! Risky! Only for problems that affect the “tenantability” Only for problems that affect the “tenantability” Notice required, + “reasonable time to repair” Notice required, + “reasonable time to repair” 30 days presumed reasonable 30 days presumed reasonable Maximum of one month’s rent each time right is exercised Maximum of one month’s rent each time right is exercised Only twice in a 12-month period Only twice in a 12-month period Civil Code Section 1942 Civil Code Section 1942

25 Fair Housing Protected Classes Protected Classes Race Race Religion Religion National origin/ancestry National origin/ancestry Sex ( including sexual harassment) Sex ( including sexual harassment) Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation Family/Marital Status Family/Marital Status Children Children Age Age Source of Income Source of Income

26 Source of Right Federal Fair Housing Act Federal Fair Housing Act Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act Cal FEHA Cal FEHA Unruh Act Unruh Act Local Ordinance Local Ordinance

27 Odds and Ends Landlord’s right of access Landlord’s right of access Civil Code Section 1954 Civil Code Section 1954 Changing Terms of Tenancy Changing Terms of Tenancy Civil Code Section 827(a) Civil Code Section 827(a)

28 Terminating the Tenancy East Palo Alto RSO requires good cause for eviction East Palo Alto RSO requires good cause for eviction In non-good cause jurisdictions, without cause, after initial term of tenancy, written notice: In non-good cause jurisdictions, without cause, after initial term of tenancy, written notice: 30 days (if tenancy of less than a year) 30 days (if tenancy of less than a year) 60 days (if tenancy of more than a year) 60 days (if tenancy of more than a year) 60-day notice (mobile home) 60-day notice (mobile home) 90-day notice for Section 8 90-day notice for Section 8

29 Grounds for Eviction Outside of EPA, no grounds needed if proper notice (but not retaliatory) Outside of EPA, no grounds needed if proper notice (but not retaliatory) 90-day for eviction due to foreclosure (not EPA) 90-day for eviction due to foreclosure (not EPA) 3-day notice (in alternative if breach can be cured) 3-day notice (in alternative if breach can be cured) Non-Payment of Rent Non-Payment of Rent Notice to Cure Covenant or Quit Notice to Cure Covenant or Quit Incurable breach Incurable breach Assignment/sublet contrary to lease provision Assignment/sublet contrary to lease provision Commission of waste, nuisance, dealing drugs Commission of waste, nuisance, dealing drugs

30 No Landlord Self-Help File lawsuit in court to evict – usually an Unlawful Detainer File lawsuit in court to evict – usually an Unlawful Detainer Notice alone does not give landlord the right to force out tenant Notice alone does not give landlord the right to force out tenant Landlord can’t change locks, move out personal property, turn off utilities, etc. Landlord can’t change locks, move out personal property, turn off utilities, etc. Statutory damages of $100 per day for self-help eviction. Statutory damages of $100 per day for self-help eviction.

31 What is an Unlawful Detainer? Expedited action for possession of premises – 3 to 5 weeks Expedited action for possession of premises – 3 to 5 weeks Priority in setting for trial Priority in setting for trial Possession is the only issue Possession is the only issue Eviction by sheriff by writ after Judgment entered and writ issued Eviction by sheriff by writ after Judgment entered and writ issued

32 Anatomy of a UD Notice to quit  Landlord Files/Serves Summons and Complaint  Tenant Files Answer/Other Response or Tenant Does Nothing    LL files Memo to Set Case for Trial LL obtains default    T files Counter-Memorandum    Trial: set within 8-20 days of LL memo     Judgment for Tenant Judgment for LL  Writ of Possession  Sheriff posts Notice to Vacate  T files for stay of eviction Sheriff posts Notice to Vacate  T files for stay of eviction

33 Defending the Eviction Deny the statements in the Complaint (judicial form) (general and special denials) Deny the statements in the Complaint (judicial form) (general and special denials) No breach No breach Rent paid; LL would not accept rent Rent paid; LL would not accept rent Establish an affirmative defense Establish an affirmative defense Implied Warranty of Habitability (for nonpayment cases) Implied Warranty of Habitability (for nonpayment cases) Retaliation (for 30 or 60 day notice) Retaliation (for 30 or 60 day notice) Discrimination Discrimination Equitable defenses (such as waiver) Equitable defenses (such as waiver)

34 Security Deposits Landlord must return within 21 days of end of tenancy Landlord must return within 21 days of end of tenancy Landlord can deduct for unpaid rent or damaged caused by tenant other than ordinary wear and tear Landlord can deduct for unpaid rent or damaged caused by tenant other than ordinary wear and tear Landlord must give itemization of deductions and receipts for work Landlord must give itemization of deductions and receipts for work


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