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Orange County Legal Blog

Can I get my landlord to fix a minor problem?

As a tenant, you may find that you have a problem that you believe your landlord should fix, but the landlord does not believe he or she must fix. In these circumstances, it is helpful to understand the limits of what you can expect a landlord to cover and how you might compel a landlord to fix a minor problem even if he or she does not technically have to.

The first thing you should do in any situation where you are unclear on the responsibilities of your landlord is consult your lease. In many cases, your lease actually spells out in detail the landlord's responsibilities. If your particular issue is addressed in your lease and the terms state that the landlord must cover it, then it will probably also outline remedies you can pursue should the landlord choose to disobey the lease terms.

Affordable housing bills face $10 billion annual problem

Residential real estate developers throughout California have been anticipating some new affordable housing bills for a while now, as Governor Jerry Brown continues his push to alleviate the ever-expanding affordable housing crisis here in the Golden State. However, now that several bills have floated around the legislature for a while, it is becoming clear that any sort of real solution may still be quite a long way off.

Several bills under consideration all face the same issue — namely, that the need for affordable housing is already staggering, while the population of the state continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of this writing, there is still no clear path forward that properly incentivizes developers to focus on affordable housing and also brings the cost of such development down to a sustainable level.

Things to know about your commercial lease

Congratulations on opening or expanding your business! Entering a new commercial lease is a big deal, and definitely not a decision to take lightly. To ensure that you make the best-informed decisions, there are a few things that you should know going in.

It is important that you have an understanding of real estate law and how it affects your business. There are a few leasing laws, rules and stipulations in place. As such, there are certain things that you should know about your commercial lease.

Olympics pose a big housing problem

Los Angeles is not exactly "sparsely developed" in the regards to its real estate market. While we don't contend with the population density of many other, more vertically developed cities like New York, housing is not as easy to find by any stretch of the imagination. State and city officials understandably have a bit of complication on their hands in terms of the logistics of hosting the Olympics in 2028. The question on many people's minds is not so much where the events may take place, but moreover where will the thousands of athletes and other individuals working with the Olympics live during the event?

According to officials, this is a relatively minor concern (or at least they present it this way), with one official stating that cities "seldom go into the Olympic Games with housing ready to go." If that's the case, then some enterprising developers are going to have as much work as they can handle over the next decade.

Can I compel my landlord to fix a mold problem?

Tenants often feel as though they have few options when the space they rent has frustrating or dangerous conditions. However, depending on the nature of the condition in question, California law may offer tenants recourse to hold a landlord accountable for unacceptable conditions in a rental space. This is particularly true of spaces with mold infestations. As of 2016, the presence of mold in a rental space qualifies as a substandard housing condition.

If you have a mold problem in your rental space, the first step is to examine the scope of the issue. Mold is often like an iceberg — if you see some of it visible, there is probably much more of it in a place you cannot see. By the time that mold becomes visible, it may have spread well beyond the area that is visible. Once you have a decent idea of the scope of the problem and have collected sufficient documentation, you can try supplying the landlord with the proof of the infestation to try and compel them to do their duty and resolve the issue.

California City stands as a warning to developers

Being a real estate developer isn't just about having vision, it's about knowing the difference between a great opportunity and not overextending your ambitions. California City stands (more or less) as a stark reminder to developers in California of exactly how badly an overambitious development can go awry.

The city boasts an area of over 200 square miles, which is enormous by any standards. However, despite its huge footprint, the population hovers at just around 14,000 residents. For a city roughly the same geographical size as Chicago, the acreage dwarfs the number of people who live there.

What if I need to terminate a commercial lease?

As a California business owner who rents your premises, you may want to get out of your lease early for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this location no longer works for you or you wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Commercial landlords typically do not take kindly to the notion of a tenant breaking a lease. While you may eventually come to an agreement with your landlord that lets you out early, you can expect to pay a price. In other situations, the landlord might refuse to even consider a compromise. Either way, consulting an attorney can help you understand the options in your particular situation.

Governor pushes for incentives for affordable housing builders

California's governor is pushing for new legislation to address the need for affordable housing throughout the state, but simply wishing it is not all that is needed to create more affordable housing in the state. As things stand, developing affordable housing in California is a very complicated process.

Any sort of housing development requires the developer to jump through an enormous number of hoops and meet many guidelines and standards, which can eat away at profit margins and encourage the cost of any project to skyrocket. While that may be acceptable to some degree in a completely open marketplace, when it comes to creating affordable housing in a state with one of the highest costs of living anywhere in the country, it is a little more difficult.

Steps tenants can take to protect themselves

As a renter, whether commercial or residential, it can often feel as though you are at the mercy of your landlord, even when he or she is not always reasonable. While this is an understandable feeling, this does not have to be the case in practice. There are a number of steps you can take even before you sign a lease that can help protect your rights as a renter throughout your lease and beyond.

One of the key things you can do to avoid a toxic tenant-landlord relationship is to research your potential landlord before you enter into an agreement with him or her. You may find that other renters have something to say about their experience, either positively or negatively, that may influence your decision. It is also wise to confirm through public records who actually owns the property you intend to rent. If you begin digging and find a number of similar complaints, it may mean that this is not the right lease for you.

Getting the best mall lease is possible with the right knowledge

If you're ready to jump into a commercial lease at a local mall, take a second to consider a few things that could affect you. Depending on the lease and the things you want to do, you need to be sure you're signing a lease in your benefit. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your business is protected.

To start with, understand that a mall has high traffic and is a busy location. It's a great place for an emerging business, assuming the business owner has the capital to pay for enough time at the location. It takes between 12 and 18 months to build up a brand following and new business, so it's a good idea to choose a lease that extends at least that length of time. Longer leases are good for established businesses, since they provide stability and extra allowances.