The 10 Details Los Angeles Landlords Need to Document Tenant Nuisances
Nuisance evictions in Los Angeles are one of the hardest evictions to pull off. Under Los Angeles City's own rent control ordinance ("LARSO") there are specific pieces of information a landlord must put in a 3 day notice to perform or quit or 3 day notice to quit for nuisances. However, landlords can't file nuisance evictions or may lose nuisance evictions for the simple fact- landlords don't document nuisances effectively. And to be honest, landlords are too lenient.
I preface, I am not scolding landlords. Pre-COVID-19 landlords had it rough. Passive income is not passive at all and most multifamily housing in Los Angeles is from the 50s and in constant need of repair. But there is always that one tenant you can't deal with. They are a nuisance but you just don't know how to articulate, prove it or really don't want the headache of dealing with it because housing laws are just too complex. Landlords these days are afraid of their tenants.
Nuisances are commonly:
Behavioral- loud music, arguing with tenants, parking where not allowed, or breaking some other defined rule or laws;
Physical- breaking things in the unit, breaking things around the property, leaving their personal belongings in common areas; breaking into neighbor's cars; and
Illegal- drug dealing, physical altercations with tenants or on the property with non-tenants, stealing packages, threatening tenants, domestic violence or other violations of laws.
Here are the 10 key details a landlord needs to document when they know or learn of a nuisance:
Individuals involved (tenants and names of others if known)
Location (in-unit, location in the property ie. garage, entry, courtyard)
Description of the nuisance
Evidence- Photos, videos, witness statements, resident manager report and police report.
Write-Up: written warning to tenant, notice to perform or quit or notice to quit (may want to consult with an attorney before serving any legal notices). This document should include the date, time, location, people involved, witnesses, description of the nuisance and evidence.
Photos/videos of the unit pre-move in
Photos/videos of the property pre-move in
This is not a need, but pre-move in unit inspection lists signed by the tenant is very helpful when it comes to nuisances relating to damage to the actual unit. The tenant acknowledges and agrees to the condition of the unit before the tenant took possession.
Landlords call me all the time wanting to evict or "get rid of" a nuisance tenant, but have not documented any of the nuisance. It is one thing to know the tenant is a nuisance, but it is another thing to prove it. Nuisance evictions get challenged all the time. Unfortunately, it is the burden of the landlord to prove the nuisance. Los Angeles has a high threshold for landlords to meet and without well documented evidence it is like the nuisance never happened.
I know it is a pain, but do yourself the favor and don't let things slide. If you have an issue with a tenant document it, even in something like a write-up and create a paper trail. In the long run this will get you much further. Where there is a nuisance tenant there is usually a whole building of annoyed tenants that are likely hounding you about it.
If you have any nuisance tenant issues, landlord-tenant law questions or questions regarding this post feel free to reach out to me. You may contact me by phone at (818) 306-0686 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The information in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.