Q. How often and how much can a landlord raise a tenant’s rent?
A. Because there is no rent control in San Joaquin County a landlord can raise a tenants rent as much and as often as they wish, so long as they give proper notice of the change in terms. Proper notice means that an increase of less than 10% requires 30 days written notice before the increase takes effect. However, increases of more than 10% in any 12 month period, requires 60 days written notice before the increase takes effect. (For more information regarding proper notice, please see the section on defective notices.)
Q. What should a tenant do if they cannot pay the rent?
A. If a tenant knows in advance that they will be unable to pay their rent, due to a temporary situation, they should talk to their landlord immediately to work out an arrangement with the landlord. If the tenant is unable to make arrangements with the landlord to delay the rent payment then the tenant should make arrangements to vacate the unit as soon as possible, giving the landlord written notice. A tenant can be held responsible for paying the rent for a full 30-day notice period whether or not they are in the unit. A landlord may be willing to waive the 30-day notice if they can avoid a possible eviction. A landlord is not required to provide housing for those who do not pay the rent. It is better for the landlord and tenant to avoid legal eviction proceeding if at all possible.
Q. What can a landlord do if a tenant fails to pay the rent on time?
A. A landlord should talk to the tenant if at all possible to see if suitable arrangements can be made for the payment of rent. If arrangements cannot be made then the landlord can give the tenant a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. This notice gives the tenant 3 days to pay the rent. You count the days beginning the day after the tenant is served with the notice. The landlord should keep the original notice. If the tenant fails to pay within the 3 days, the landlord can file an Unlawful Detainer complaint (or eviction) against the tenant in Superior Court.
Q. Can a landlord lock a tenant out for not paying rent?
A. No. A landlord may never lock a tenant out of their apartment. Also, a landlord may not shut off utilities or other services for failure to pay rent or any other reason. Actions such as these by a landlord will give the tenant the right to sue the landlord. A tenant may be locked out by the Sheriff if the landlord wins the Unlawful Detainer Action in court.