By Mark B. Zinman | Zona Law
Question: I received a citation regarding my rental property due to weeds growing in the front and my tenant leaving bulk trash outside on a regular basis. I don’t live in an HOA. Is this real? What can I do?
Answer: You likely received a citation from the neighborhood services department of your city. Even if your property isn’t in an HOA, the city can fine you if there is an ongoing problem with your real property, such as a nuisance or blight. There are numerous things that need to be done. First, you need to get the problem fixed ASAP – regardless of whether you fix the problem, or the tenant does. The city will look to consider whether you complied before they decide to prosecute. Second, you need to send your tenant a 10-day notice of noncompliance regarding the citation, because if the problem persists you will need to evict your tenant. When these issues happen, there is an argument that the homeowner is not the responsible party if the homeowner is taking the steps to enforce the lease. Ultimately, in a court of law, the issue is whether there was a violation on the date and time of the first incident. However, whether you are enforcing your lease against the tenant and whether the matter has been cured, will be relevant to any court, or may even stop the matter before it gets to court.