New Law Helps Renters With Pets
By Alan Pentico, CAE, Executive Director, San Diego County Apartment Association
Pets and pet lovers recently caught a break with the passage of an animal-welfare bill that protects renters from having to declaw or devocalize their animals.
SB1229 makes it illegal for landlords to force their tenants to declaw their cats or debark their dogs in an attempt to alleviate property damage or noise. The bill was authored by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September.
The law was sponsored by the Paw Project, a pet-protection organization dedicated to creating awareness of the crippling effects of declawing.
The bill also says landlords cannot turn down tenants who refuse to have their pets undergo the surgeries or advertise for their properties in a way that discourages pet owners from applying.
The animal-friendly legislation makes landlords liable for civil fines of up to $1,000 for each pet if the restrictions are violated.
The consequences of the bill are life-changing for pet-loving renters, some of whom previously had to choose between securing housing for their families and subjecting their pets to expensive, unnecessary surgeries.
Landlords, of course, may still enforce "no-pets" regulations or use additional deposits to offset the cost of any damage caused by animals owned by renters.
The San Diego County Apartment Association provides a pet addendum form to members to use when accepting residents with pets. Such forms help new renters understand their rights and responsibilities when renting with a pet.
When Renters Abandon Their Stuff
By Alan Pentico, CAE, Executive Diirector, San Diego County Apartment Association
Every property manager has a story about trying to legally dispose of TVs and other property residents leave behind. Some landlords open the door to recently "vacated" rental units to find a mostly furnished home. Some tenants leave behind couches, small appliances and other items.
New state legislation has made this hassle less of a headache for property owners and managers, and easier on tenants who might want to reclaim their items.
In other words, the changes in law are a win-win: a benefit to both property owners and tenants.
The bill makes it easier to dispose of unwanted personal property left behind by vacating renters but only after giving them a two-day, cost-free opportunity to reclaim items they wanted to keep. Previously, storage fees started accumulating from the day the tenant moved.
Assembly Bill 2521, co-sponsored by the San Diego County Apartment Association, also modifies the monetary threshold used to determine what is considered valuable property. The previous total threshold of $300 had not been increased since 1983, meaning anything valued at or beyond that amount had to be stored by the landlord in case the tenant wanted it back.
The new law says unless the items estimated total value is $700 or more, landlords can keep, sell or destroy any property left behind. Landlords are required to give written notice to the former tenant that the abandoned items will be confiscated if they are not retrieved within 18 days of receiving the notice.
Also, the bill lets landlords contact their tenants through e-mail, if possible. Previously, they had to make contact using U.S. mail.