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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34847
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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In October, a tenant advised us that their heater was no

Customer Question

In October, a tenant advised us that their heater was no longer working. We had our regular handyman look at it when he had time, but he recommended a regular technician, and thus we called a HVAC contractor, who recommended the unit be replaced. We are in process of finding an affordable unit to replace the existing one, which is proving difficult, as the house is rural, almost an antique, cabin and has an individual propane heater, and no contractors seem interested and/or are available in a timely manner. If I am unable to get this unit replaced soon, what is my legal obligation to my tenant? I was told I need to provide 30 day notice and $1500 per person. Is that correct? I am in California.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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I need to ask a few questions before I comment..

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Can you tell me what city this is in?

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Is the tenant under a written fixed term lease?

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Is there no other way to provide heating such as electric heaters?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Unincorporated area of Sonoma County, California. No city. Tenant is month to month. No electric heaters cause fuse failures. Tried that.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, if the tenant is month to month, if you can't find a suitable replacement heater, then you can just terminate their lease with a proper written notice under state law. This is either 30 days, if they have lived there under a year, or 60 days if over a year.

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But there is nothing under CA state law that requires you to pay them any move out fees if you terminate their tenancy and Sonoma County doesn't have rent control for normal dwellings.

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However, as a landlord myself for over 26 years, I can tell you that you can purchase a simple vent free wall mounted propane heater that is incredibly easy to install and will heat a huge space. You literally just screw a hanger to the wall and hang the heater on it and then hook up the propane line...

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See this link for an example: Propane Wall Heater.

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You can have one shipped to you if you can't find one at a local hardware or big box home improvement store.. Very simple easy fix for a problem like this unless I am missing something here...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'd be more than happy to do that, but the tenant insists on having a licensed contractor so they can feel "safe".
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Well, it isn't up to the tenant as to how you make repairs to your property... As the property owner, you get the discretion to determine how repairs are made. So you can tell the tenant that you understand their concerns, but will make repairs as you see fit. These heaters are entirely up to code and are vent-free so are incredibly easy to install and almost foolproof..

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Over the years I have installed dozens of them in older rentals where putting in a new furnace wasn't practical and they work perfectly and are actually more efficient than any furnace because they are vent free..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you SO much!!!
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. Always happy to help a fellow landlord with a difficult tenant..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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