Generally, landlords may change the terms of a month-to-month rental agreement by serving the tenant with a valid 30 day notice. The change in terms can change several items in the rental agreement. Landlords should exercise this right when there is a clause in the rental agreement that could potentially be troublesome to the landlord.
When a landlord changes the terms of a rental agreement by serving the tenant with a 30 day notice, the new terms replace the old terms and the new terms become a part of the rental agreement.
One clause that landlords may want to change is a clause that says the “winning” party in an eviction case will be entitled to recover attorney fees from the “losing” party. Why? Tenants often don’t have the money to pay their rent, let alone attorney fees. In the event that the landlord wins the case, the landlord will get possession of the property back, and possibly an award of attorney fees, but the tenant probably won’t pay. The tenant doesn’t have money, and the tenant has nothing to lose by having a negative mark on their credit report. On the other hand, if the landlords happens to lose the case, and the tenant gets an award of attorney fees ,the landlord might have to pay the tenant’s attorney fees.
My firm offers a free template for landlords to change the terms of the rental agreement to minimize attorney fees to the prevailing party to $500. The form is available for download here: http://www.attorneydavid.com/forms/AttorneyFeesTemplate.pdf.
The above example is one reason why a landlord might want to change the terms of their rental agreement. Landlords are encouraged to scrutinize their rental agreements and look for any provisions that might not be in their favor. If any exist, landlords should consider serving the tenant with a 30 day notice to change the terms and modify the rental agreement.
Landlords are cautioned that their right to change the terms of a rental agreement might be severely limited in rent control jurisdictions such as in the city of Los Angeles.
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Read Attorney Piotrowski’s landlord book: “California Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview: An Easy-to-Read Guide Outlining Best Practices for California Landlords Plus a Summary of the Eviction Process.“