Q: Three of my tenants have cars that leak oil and make stains on the cement floor of my parking lot. I have asked them to get their cars fixed, and they have added drip pans under their cars, but it doesn't completely solve the problem. I have a lease addendum that states that tenant vehicles must not leak oil. What are my options?
A: The Oakland Just Cause Eviction Ordinance permits an owner to recover possession of a rental unit when the tenant has violated a lawful and material term of the tenancy. So when a rental agreement includes a provision prohibiting a tenant from parking a car in the garage that leaks oil, the tenant may be subject to eviction for violating this provision.
Here the tenants have made some effort to prevent the oil from leaking onto the garage floor by using a drip pan. Under these circumstances, it may be best to approach the tenants, inform them that their drip pans are not solving the problem, and remind them of the applicable rental agreement provision and their obligation to comply with it. Repairing the car would certainly solve the problem. There may be other ways to solve the problem that might be acceptable to the owner, such as using a garage floor mat underneath the cars to protect the garage floor. If the tenants refuse or fail to promptly solve the problem, then the owner may consider serving the tenants with a Notice to Cease and then a Three-Day Notice to Perform or Quit, if necessary, which may result in an eviction for violating a lawful term of tenancy.
Copyright © 2017 by Fried & Williams LLP. All Rights Reserved. The information in this article is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice. For any specific matter, please consult with an attorney.