Q. I was recently performing routine maintenance in my 2 unit, and I saw that the tenant installed a counter top dishwasher without my approval. There is water damage on the wooden around the dishwasher, and also to the floor underneath it. How can I remedy this during his tenancy, as opposed to waiting for the security deposit?
A. The first step is the review the lease you have with this tenant. Most leases, like the SFAA Residential Tenancy Agreement, have provisions that prohibit alternations, modification, or changes to the premises without permission of the property owner and provisions where a tenant agrees to maintain the premises in a clean and good condition.
If a tenant violates, a term of the lease, this is considered a breach of the lease, and you may have grounds for an eviction. However, before serving a notice to perform or quit, you must first serve your tenant a warning notice to cease. This notifies the tenant of the violation and allows the tenant an opportunity to cure the violation in at least 7 days. The notice should include as much detail as possible and include the language required by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. If your tenant fails to comply with the notice to cease, you can take steps to start the legal eviction process.
If you do not have a written lease or your lease does not include the necessary provisions, you can still serve a demand notice on your tenant requesting that he/she remove the dishwasher at his/her own expense. At a minimum, your tenant is obligated to keep the premises in a clean and safe condition, abide by building and housing codes and not damage the unit.
This Q&A was featured in SFAA's May 2019 Magazine.
© 2019 by Fried & Williams LLP. All Rights Reserved. The information contained in this article is general in nature. For advice on any particular matter, please consult with our attorneys because the facts of your situation may be unique and the law changes from time to time.