My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California
I am: tenant with family of 4 (including myself) with kids in school
Tenant living in residence 2+ years (has signed two yearly lease renewals with Management Company X, current lease expires in 9 months).
All existing lease agreements have been signed with Management Company X (referred to as 'X' going forward).
'X's D.B.A. (landlord name on lease agreement) expired last year, no longer wants to manage property and does not want to acknowledge existing lease agreement.
'X' signed current lease agreement after 'X's D.B.A. expiration (according to public records).
'X' is now operating under new D.B.A. name using same address as 'X'.
'X' still receiving and cashing rental payments under expired D.B.A name 'X', forwarding payments to 'Owner'.
'Owner' is not actual owner of property. Actual property owner remains unknown.
'Owner' asks Management Company Z (referred to as 'Z' going forward) to manage property and receive rental payments.
'Z' wants tenant to immediately sign new monthly lease agreement with 'Z'.
'Z' does not appear to have real estate license nor legitimate D.B.A.
Tenant does not wish to sign new monthly lease agreement with 'Z' and wishes to live in property until current lease agreement with 'X' expires in 9 months.
All prior rent payments have been sent to 'X' and all rent payments have been on time.
Tenant has not violated terms of lease nor has tenant damaged property.
QUESTIONS FOR FORUM:
1) Is the original lease agreement signed by tenant and 'X' still valid?
2) Is tenant required to enter into new lease agreement with 'Z'?
3) Can tenant request real estate license information from 'Z'?
4) Is 'Z' potentially liable for operating as management company without a real estate licence in California?
5) Is 'X' potentially liable for signing current lease with expired D.B.A.?
6) Is 'X' potentially liable for operating under expired D.B.A. (accepting, signing and depositing checks under name 'X')?
7) Is 'X' potentially liable for breach of lease agreement? *See (1) below
8) Is owner of expired 'X' D.B.A. still responsible for fulfilling terms of current lease agreement? *See (1) below
9) Is 'Owner' potentially liable for claiming ownership of the property when they are not the actual owner?
10) Can tenant legally enter into lease agreement with 'Z' when lease agreement with 'X' has not expired? *See (1) below
11) Can tenant send rental payments to 'Z' without risk of inadvertently breaking contract with 'X' ('X' would no longer be receiving rental payments)? *See (1) and (2) below
12) What should tenant do to ensure existing lease agreement with 'X' is upheld?
13) 'Z' is asking tenant to fill out new Application to Rent form (California). Tenant already filled out this form for 'X'. Is tentant required to do this again for 'Z' since they are already renting the property?
14) Is the actual property owner's name and address required to be printed on lease agreements in California?
15) 'Owner' claims to have posession of original rental deposit given to 'X' by tenant. Who is legally responsibe for the deposit amount in this case?
16) If tenant agrees to enter into new lease agreement with 'Z', what should the tentant request from all parties involved in order to protect tenant? For example, should tenant request from 'X' a release of contract from 'X', or formal agreement between 'X' and 'Z' to have 'Z' carry out remainder of agreement, etc. The current lease agreement requires this to be done via U.S.P.S. *See (2) and (3) below
17) What advice can you give tentant regarding correspondence with all parties involved ('X', 'Z', 'Owner' - as well as the legitamate owner should that information become available)?
18) Are there any other questions I should be asking (as tentant)?
From current lease agreement with 'X':
(1) Waiver, Amendment, Modification. No waiver, amendment or modification of any provision of this Agreement will be effective unless in writing and signed by the party against whom such waiver, amendment or modification is sought to be enforced. No waiver by any party of any default in performance on the part of the other party under this Agreement or of any breach or series of breaches by the other party of any of the terms or conditions of this Agreement shall constitute a waiver of any subsequent default in performance under this Agreement or any subsequent breach of any terms or conditions. Performance of any obligation required of a party under this Agreement may be waived only by a written waiver signed by a duly authorized officer of the other party, which waiver shall be effective only with respect to the specific obligation described. The acceptance of rent by the Owner shall not waive his right to enforce any term of this Agreement. Time is of the essence.
(2) Entire Agreement. The parties acknowledge that this Agreement expresses their entire understanding and Agreement, and that there have been no warranties, representations, covenants or understandings made by either party to the other except such as are expressly set forth. The parties further acknowledge that this Agreement supersedes, terminates and otherwise renders null and void any and all prior Agreements or contracts, whether written or oral, entered into between the Owner and the Tenant with respect to the matters expressly set forth in this Agreement.
(3) Notices. All notices, demands or consents required or permitted under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be delivered or mailed via U.S Postal Service to the respective parties at the addresses set forth above or at some other address as such party shall specify to the other party in writing. Any notice required or permitted to be given by the provisions of this Agreement shall be conclusively deemed to have been received on the day it is delivered to that party by U.S. Mail with Acknowledgment of Receipt or by any commercial courier providing equivalent acknowledgment of receipt. The service of any notice on one Tenant shall be a service of all occupants.