CALIFORNIA LANDLORDS – Chapter 3, Disclosures

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DISCLAIMER

 This article is intended to be a general discussion only, and should not be considered legal or real estate advice. Your use of it does not create either an attorney-client or broker-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article, or any of its links, is expressly disclaimed. This blog is not legal, real estate, loan, accounting or tax advice, and is not to be acted on as such, it was outdated the moment it was written, and is subject to change without notice. If you are dealing with a potential problem with your investment property you are advised to retain the appropriate licensed professional. This article is not meant to apply to a rent controlled area in which special rules may apply.

INTRODUCTION

As you read this article keep in mind that it was written for the owners of property located in the State of California. This is critically important because the state statutes, case law, and public policies can vary widely from state to state.

If you are an absentee owner who has decided to manage your own property it’s best you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the territory. This serialized blog is an attempt to identify at least some of the potentially serious issues faced by an inexperienced owner.

DISCLOSURES

Over time the real estate industry, state and federal legislatures, and the courts have all contributed to a growing list of landlord disclosures which should and in most cases must be made to the prospective tenant.

 Lead-Based Paint

If the leased unit was constructed before 1978, the landlord must disclose the presence of any known lead-paint or lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling before the tenant signs the lease. At the same time the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the currently approved federal government pamphlet on lead hazards.

While the landlord must make the disclosure he is not required to evaluate the lead based paint or to correct the problem. The lead warning (the required language) must be delivered and acknowledged in writing.

Periodic Pesticide Treatments

When a pest control company is retained to perform an on-going pest control service it must provide a written report to both the landlord and the tenant regarding the pesticides being used. If a new tenant moves in during this time period the landlord must give any new tenants a copy of the written pesticide report.

Demolition Permit

Landlords who have applied for permits to demolish the rented property must give written notice of this to to prospective tenants before accepting any deposits and entering into any rental agreements. There are specific requirements of what must be included in the written notice.

Military Base/Explosives

If an owner knows that the rental property is located within a mile of a military installation at which ammunition or explosives were used written notice of this fact must be given to the prospective tenant before the lease is signed.

Death Occurring In The Unit

If a death has occurred within the rental property within the last three years (this time limit may be subject to change) the owner must disclose to the prospective tenant at the time of the offer to rent the unit. The owner must disclose the manner of death, but is not required to disclose that the occupant was ill with, or died from AIDS. Owner, however, may not intentionally misrepresent the cause of death in response to a direct question.

Other Warnings

This hasn’t been an exhaustive discussion. As you can imagine there are a number of other necessary disclosures including subjects such as condominium conversion projects, asbestos, carcinogenic materials, methamphetamine contamination, disclosure of agency relationships as well as various known nuisances (animal, mineral, human or otherwise) affecting the property and/or the enjoyment of the property.

The fact that the disclosure requirements are spread out in a number of different federal and state codes only make matters more complex and confusing. It is a wise owner who takes the issues surrounding disclosures seriously and discloses to the prospective tenant anything and everything he himself would like to know if he were the tenant.

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DISCLAIMER

This article is intended to be a general discussion only, and should not be considered legal or real estate advice. Your use of it does not create either an attorney-client or broker-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article, or any of its links, is expressly disclaimed. This blog is not legal, real estate, loan, accounting or tax advice, and is not to be acted on as such, it was outdated the moment it was written, and is subject to change without notice.  If you are dealing with a potential problem with your investment property you are advised to retain the appropriate licensed professional.