78 OCTOBER 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Question: What do I do if my rental unit is cited by City of Los Angeles Code Enforcement and the renter does not allow me to have access to the rental unit to inspect and repair? It is a very common occurrence in the City of Los Angeles. Renters will file a complaint with the City of Los Angeles Health Department, which will then conduct annual inspections of the rental properties and to investigate renter complaints. This procedure can be very frustrating for a landlord who has a very recalcitrant renter who refuses to allow inspection of the rental unit in spite of making a complaint. The resolution of this issue should take place long before the renter makes a complaint. First, the landlord should always do a pre-move in inspection of the rental unit. Fill out a pre-move in inspection form to be kept in the renters’ file. An inspection of the rental unit should also take place every six months to determine the condition of the rental unit and need for repairs. California Civil Code Section 1954 gives the renter legal authority to enter a Rental Unit after giving a 24-Hour Notice to Inspect the Rental Unit for needed repairs. It is also helpful, but not legally required, that the rental agreement have a provision that a renter who refuses entry to the rental unit after receiving a 24-Hour Notice will be in Breach of the Rental Unit Agreement and may be subject to a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant or Quit. Every renter complaint or work order should be responded to as soon as possible. The landlord should have the renter put the request in writing and make sure that the date of the complaint and work order is clearly set forth in the writing. When responding to the work order make sure the maintenance person takes the written complaint or work order with him. It is usually best to make an appointment with the renter before arriving to complete the requested work. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL MAINTENANCE PERSONS HAVE WORKING CELL PHONES WHENEVER THAY ARE RESPONDING TO A REPAIR REQUEST OR WORK ORDER TO RECORD THE INTERACTION WITH THE RENTER. Make sure that the maintenance has the renter sign off on the work order that has the date and time of the appointment with the renter clearly marked on it. If the renter refuses to allow access to the rental unit make sure that the maintenance person writes that information on the work order and have the renter sign it so it clearly states that the renter denied access. If the renter refuses to sign the work order, make sure that information is also clearly stated on the work order and dated with the specific time. When Code Enforcement contacts the landlord after conducting an inspection, make sure Code Enforcement gets a copy of each work order that has been requested along with a receipt for the work done. If the landlord receives a Notice of Citation and Order to comply immediately serve a 24-hour Notice of Intent to DEALING WITH RENTERS WHO DON’T ALLOWYOU TO INSPECT YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY By H.G. Long, Attorney, Managing Attorney, H.G. Long and Associates and Fast Eviction Service Management