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NEW LAWS FOR 2004

  
 

 

 


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SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FOLLOWING NEW LAWS FOR 2004
(This page will be updated from time to time with new information or analysis.) 

EVICTION NOTICES
Code of Civil Procedure 1161.2

The legislature has taken steps to put a stop to the scam outfits posing as "legal aid" by including the telephone number of the real Legal Aid office on the Notice of Filing Eviction mailed to tenant defendants.  The telephone number of the local County Bar Association will also be included.

COURT RECORD OF EVICTION
Code of Civil Procedure 1161.2

Courts are now directed to seal the court case records from general public views when that  tenant "prevails" in an Unlawful Detainer action within 60 days of filing.  Eviction cases should no longer be easily seen by eviction credit reporting agencies who put tenants on their "blacklist" even when the tenant wins their case.   This makes winning the case more important than ever   Therefore, act effectively to protect your rights and remember, do NOT represent yourself in any such court case. 

SECURITY DEPOSITS
Civil Code 1950.5
(residential deposits)

In addition to the amendments of 2003, the following has been added to this law:

The landlord is no longer required to notify tenants of  their rights to an "initial inspection" if the eviction is commenced with a 3 day notice.
If the claimed deductions will exceed $125.00, the landlord must provide copies of receipts or other documents evidencing the expenditures including those for labor and materials.  If the deductions are less than $125.00, tenants may still get copies, but they must request them in writing and the landlord then has 14 days to comply.
If the landlord claims deductions for their own labor, or for their employee, an itemized statement must be included as to the hours spent and the reasonable hourly rate charged.
The landlord may deduct a "good faith" estimate of the charges if they will not know the true charges within 21 days of moving out.  In that case, when the work is done, they must comply with the deduction and refund law within 14 days of completion of the work.
Tenants can waive certain of their rights herein, if the waiver is in writing and executed after a notice to terminate tenancy is served, or within 60 days of the end of a lease.
 

ENTRY BY LANDLORD
Civil Code 1954

In addition to the amendments of 2003, the following has been added to this law:

In residential tenancies, the tenant and the landlord may agree orally to an entry to make agreed repairs or supply agreed services. The agreement shall include the date and approximate time of the entry, which shall be within one week of the agreement.  In this case, the landlord is not required to provide the tenant a written notice.
No notice of entry is required in the following cases:
 (1) To respond to an emergency.
 (2) If the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry.
 (3) After the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the unit.


         PENALTY FOR HARASSMENT OF TENANT
     Civil Code 1940.2

There is now a penalty of up to $2,000.00 if the landlord commits any of the following for the purpose of influencing a tenant to vacate a dwelling:
1. Violate Penal Code 484(a)  (Theft)
2. Violate Penal Code 518      (Extortion) 
3. The use or threat to use force, willful threats, or menacing conduct that interferes with the tenants quiet enjoyment of the rental.
4.  A significant
and intentional violation of Civil Code 1954 (entry by landlord).

INCREASED PENALTY FOR SLUMLORDS
Civil Code 1942.4

Maximum penalty for demanding or collecting rent in a dwelling deemed untenantable is $5,000.00 plus costs, and attorneys fees in the case of an Unlawful Detainer action. (old maximum penalty was $1,000.00)
Penalty now applies when a landlord raises the rent or issues a 3 day notice to pay rent for a dwelling deemed untenantable.
Penalty now applies if the violations existed for 35 days (old law was 60 days)

INCREASED PENALTY FOR RETALIATION
Civil Code 1942.5

Maximum penalty for retaliatory eviction (or rent raise) is increased to $2,000.00 (old maximum penalty was $1,000.00)

LEASES NEGOTIATED IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Civil Code 1632

A landlord/agent who negotiates a lease primarily in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean, orally or in writing, shall deliver to the tenant, prior to the execution of the lease, an unexecuted translation of the lease, in the language in which it was negotiated:

SAN DIEGO CITY GOOD CAUSE EVICTION ORDINANCE

San Diego County is still a "no cause" eviction jurisdiction BUT San Diego City is now a just cause eviction jurisdiction.  As of April 29, 2004, a local ordinance requires that the landlord must write a reason for the eviction on a notice terminating a m0onth to month tenancy (i.e. 60 day notice) once the tenant has been at the same rental for at least two years.

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California law for San Diego is applied in these pages. This is not represented to be a full and complete list of all laws that may or may not affect tenants or occupants in properties  Such laws may or may not be applicable in other jurisdictions.  The information provided herein is of a general nature and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice. Legal summaries are only the opinion of the Tenants Legal Center and are not intended nor should they be relied upon as any specific representation of any law.  For legal advice in a particular situation, promptly consult with an appropriate attorney.