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One simple rule for prorating rent: All months have 30 days

January 07, 2007|From Project Sentinel

Question: I'm a new manager of a small apartment complex and would like to know how to figure out prorated rent for February 2007. Is it the same as if the month had 30 or 31 days?

Answer: Even though February 2007 has only 28 days, the calculation to determine prorated rent is the same as if there were 29, 30 or 31 days.

Prorated rent is used for tenants who will not be occupying a property for a full month and are responsible for partial rent. Regardless of the number of days in the month, divide the month's rent by 30. Then multiply this amount by the number of days a tenant is responsible for the rent. For example, if the rent is $900 a month, the prorated amount is $30 a day ($900 divided by 30). If a tenant is responsible for 12 days of rent, the prorated rent is $360 (12 multiplied by $30).

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Carpets cleaned, but fleas hang on

Question: My children and I have been experiencing flea bites on our legs for the last three weeks, even though we do not have a pet. The problem seems to be coming from the living room carpet in the apartment. The previous tenant had two cats, but the manager said the carpet was treated before I moved in four months ago. I want the carpet cleaned again, but the manager refuses to pay for it. What can I do?

Answer: The rental housing standards for habitability established by Civil Code Section 1941.1 include insect or rodent infestation. This section states that "the landlord's obligation to the tenant is to rent out units that are initially free of insects, rodents and garbage."

Because you don't have any pets in your home, chances are the infestation is a holdover from the previous tenant's cats. You should ask how the carpet was cleaned; was it simply shampooed or was it treated with a special product to kill the flea eggs or larvae?

Even if the carpet was treated, request that it be done again. Flea eggs can get entwined in carpet fibers as well as cracks and crevices of floors, and in some cases a second treatment is needed. If the landlord does not agree to treat the carpet again, contact a local housing mediation program for assistance. In the meantime, you could contact a pest-control company or search online for temporary solutions.

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Manager scares kids in courtyard

Question: I have two preteen sons and am very concerned about the manager's strict attitude toward the children who live in the complex. If they play in the large, grassy courtyard, she yells and tells them to go to the park down the street. There's nothing in the lease that says children can't play in the courtyard, but now my children and most of the others are scared to go outside. Can the manager treat children this way?

Answer: What you have described seems to indicate that the manager is creating a hostile environment for children. As long as there is adequate supervision, there is no legitimate business reason to restrict children from playing in the courtyard during the day.

If individual children are damaging property or causing other problems, the manager should address the issues with their parents on a case-by-case basis. Any other rules that the manager may wish to enforce, such as restricting the use of bikes and scooters on the pathways for safety reasons, must be written and enforced in an age-neutral manner, so that children and adults alike are restricted from the activity in question.

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This column is prepared by Project Sentinel, a rental housing mediation service in Sunnyvale, Calif. Questions may be sent to 1055 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road, Suite 3, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, but cannot be answered individually. For housing discrimination questions, complaints or help, call the state Department of Fair Housing and Employment at (800) 233-3212 or the Southern California Housing Rights Center at (800) 477-5977.

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