Q I have a month-to-month rental agreement for an apartment. I like my rental unit, except that my roommate constantly has violent fights with her boyfriend. We called the police on him a couple of times and she put a restraining order on him as well. Today at about 1:30 a.m., I saw him go through the window to her bedroom. He left the same way at about 8:30 a.m. I don't have any written agreement with my roommate, and I am the only tenant on the rental agreement. I would like to give her an eviction notice if that is legal. She is giving me a lot of stress, and I don't have peace of mind since she became my roommate. Please advise.

AProperty manager Griswold replies:

Unfortunately, you do not have the same options a landlord has when it comes to getting rid of a bad tenant. In your case, you have only an oral agreement with a problem roommate, so you need to work with her to get her to move voluntarily.

Even though you like your rental unit, because you are on a month-to-month tenancy, you could give your landlord your 30-day notice to vacate and just move out and find another place to live. Because your roommate is not on the rental agreement, she would have a difficult time avoiding an eviction if she attempted to stay after you left. You could also explain the situation to your landlord and ask the landlord to serve you with a 30-day notice. The landlord may be willing to cooperate or may tell you that it is your problem and insist that you either fulfill the terms of your rental agreement or terminate the rental agreement on your own.

Last year I was awarded a Section 8 voucher. I was given only three months to find a place or lose the voucher. I rushed to find an apartment, hoping to save money. Now my lease is up for renewal and my landlord is demanding a $20 increase in rent and the security deposit.

Can he do this? How often can he raise it? I thought I was on a low-income program.

Property manager Griswold replies:

Landlords can typically adjust the rental rate at the end of your lease term. I suggest you contact the housing authority that administers your Section 8 program to make sure your rental unit and rental rate still meet its guidelines.

Landlords are not required to participate in the Section 8 program, and there are no limits that prohibit the landlord from adjusting the rent at the time of lease renewal as long as the rental rate does not exceed the maximum allowed for your unit.

Also, in today's rental market in most areas, a $20 monthly rent increase is not out of line. The market rent has increased so dramatically over the past few years that the new rental rate may still be below the maximum amount allowed by Section 8.

Also, remember that you may not even be personally affected, because the Section 8 program requires you to pay only up to 30 percent of your income as rent. Thus, the $20 rent increase is most likely going to be paid by the Section 8 program.

Landlords who opt to participate in the Section 8 program are prohibited from charging higher rental rates for units occupied by Section 8 tenants than they charge for comparable market-rate units.

This column on issues confronting tenants and landlords is written by property manager Robert Griswold and San Diego lawyers Steven R. Kellman, director of the Tenant's Legal Center, and Ted Smith, principal in a firm representing landlords. E-mail your questions to Griswold at rgriswold.inman@retodayradio.com. Questions should be brief and cannot be answered individually.

{copy} 2004 Inman News Features