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Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.

— Abraham Lincoln

We are a boutique personalized law firm with an emphasis on landlord-tenant Law.

We represent landlords, property management companies, and lending institutions in civil matters including:

  • Prosecution of unlawful detainers
  • Rent control issues
  • Personal injury defense
  • Discrimination defense
  • Tenant relocation projects
  • Lease negotiations
  • Modifications
  • Renewals
  • Breach of lease conract actions
  • Consulting and correspondence
  • Criminal Defense

We believe in this philosophy and encourage our clients to follow it. But, if that approach proves unsuccessful, we are there to assist you. We strive to be effective, aggressive, and to take the worry and stress off your shoulders and place it onto ours.

Please feel free to call us for more information. We have extremely reasonable pricing and a passion for what we do.

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Our Services

We represent landlords, property management companies, and lending institutions in civil matters including;

Prosecution of Unlawful Detainers

We handle commercial and residential eviction matters through all stages of the proceedings throughout Southern California.

Click Here To Download A Flow Chart Of This Process.

Rent Control Issues

We guide you through the intricacies and complexities of the rent stabilization ordinances in the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica.

Personal Injury Defense

We represent landlords in defense of personal injury claims alleged to have occurred on their properties.

Discrimination Defense

We represent landlords in response to governmental agency complaints relating to discrimination as well as civil actions arising from allegations of discrimination.

Tenant Relocation Projects

We have handled numerous relocation projects, whether for owner or family member occupancy or to demolish or convert multi-unit properties to condominiums.  We are well-versed in  the complex requirements of rent control ordinances, Planning and Building Department issues.

Lease Negotiations, Modifications, Addenda, and Renewals

We assist in review as well as drafting of leases and lease provisions.

Breach of Contract Actions

We represent landlords in pursuit of claims against tenants for monies owed on balances of lease terms, for physical damage sustained to properties by prior tenants, as well as in defense of actions brought against landlords by tenants.

Consulting and Correspondence

We can assist in providing an objective, legal perspective on various issues relating to property ownership, management, and tenant issues.  We can communicate on your behalf with tenants, third parties, vendors, and the like concerning issues relating to the property.

Criminal Defense

We defend landlords who have been criminally cited by the City Attorney with building citations, failure to comply orders, and misdemeanor complaints.

Questions?

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About Us

We are a boutique firm that will provide you uniquely personal, strategic and individualized services.

We are extremely passionate about what we do and have over 30 years experience.

We pride ourselves on being able to provide uniquely personal service, with efficiency, and reasonable pricing. Our attorneys handle your matter personally through all stages of the proceedings.  We promptly calendar your matter through each stage of the case to ensure cases proceed as expeditiously as possible to conclusion.

Fred M. Szkolnik

Fred M. Szkolnik is the founder of Law Offices of Fred M. Szkolnik and has been practicing law since 1980. Mr. Szkolnik earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California in 1977 and later earned a juris doctor from California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Mr. Szkolnik has successfully handled well over ten thousand landlord-tenant matters.  He has sat as a judge pro tem for over 20 years presiding over landlord-tenant cases in numerous courts throughout Los Angeles County.  He has published several articles and has conducted many seminars for apartment associations and attorneys on the subject of landlord-tenant law.

Mr. Szkolnik is born and raised in Los Angeles. He is married and is the father of 3 children and 2 dogs.

Lisa A. Walco

Ms. Walco attended UCLA undergraduate and obtained a BA in communication studies in 1990.  She later went on to obtain a Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law, and was admitted to practice law in 1995. Ms. Walco joined the firm in 1988, starting as a file clerk, then a legal secretary, paralegal, and finally, as a practicing attorney.

Ms. Walco has sat as a judge pro tem in various courts throughout Los Angeles County presiding over landlord-tenant matters.  She has also co-written numerous articles and speeches for apartment association publications and seminars. Ms. Walco has extensive experience in dealing with the City of Los Angeles in relocation projects relating to redevelopment of residential properties.

A native Los Angeleno, Ms. Walco is the mother of an adorable son and two dogs.

Trusted Support Staff

We also have an amazing support staff including:

Lusi Jacobo, a paralegal who has been with the firm since 2005.

Eneyda Escuadro, a legal secretary who has been with the firm since 2013.

Jill Jones, an office assistant who has been with the firm since 2016.

Their personal touch compliments our hands-on approach.

Civil Codes

The following are some Civil Codes you might find of use.

  • California Civil Code Section 1954 regarding Notice of Intent of Landlord to Enter Unit.

    California Civil Code Section 1954

    Landlord’s Right to Enter and Tenant’s Right to Privacy

    1. A landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
      1. In case of emergency.
      2. To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors or to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1950.5.
      3. When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
      4. Pursuant to court order.
    2. Except in cases of emergency or when the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises, entry may not be made during other than normal business hours unless the tenant consents to an entry during other than normal business hours at the time of entry.
    3. The landlord may not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant.
    4.  
      1. Except as provided in subdivision (e), or as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the landlord shall give the tenant reasonable notice in writing of his or her intent to enter and enter only during normal business hours. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. The notice may be personally delivered to the tenant, left with someone of a suitable age and discretion at the premises, or, left on, near, or under the usual entry door of the premises in a manner in which a reasonable person would discover the notice. Twenty-four hours shall be presumed to be reasonable notice in absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice may be mailed to the tenant. Mailing of the notice at least six days prior to an intended entry is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
      2. If the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, the notice may be given orally, in person or by telephone, if the landlord or his or her agent has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days of the oral notice that the property is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally for the purpose described above. Twenty-four hours is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. At the time of entry, the landlord or agent shall leave written evidence of the entry inside the unit.
      3. The tenant and the landlord may agree orally to an entry to make agreed repairs or supply agreed services. The agreement shall include the date and approximate time of the entry, which shall be within one week of the agreement. In this case, the landlord is not required to provide the tenant a written notice.
    5. No notice of entry is required under this section:
      1. To respond to an emergency.
      2. If the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry.
      3. After the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the unit.
  • California Civil Code Section 1946 regarding termination of non-rent-controlled tenancies

    California Civil Code Section 1946

    Termination of Tenancies

    A hiring of real property, for a term not specified by the parties, is deemed to be renewed as stated in Section 1945, at the end of the term implied by law unless one of the parties gives written notice to the other of his intention to terminate the same, at least as long before the expiration thereof as the term of the hiring itself, not exceeding 30 days; provided, however, that as to tenancies from month to month either of the parties may terminate the same by giving at least 30 days' written notice thereof at any time and the rent shall be due and payable to and including the date of termination. It shall be competent for the parties to provide by an agreement at the time such tenancy is created that a notice of the intention to terminate the same may be given at any time not less than seven days before the expiration of the term thereof. The notice herein required shall be given in the manner prescribed in Section 1162 of the Code of Civil Procedure or by sending a copy by certified or registered mail addressed to the other party. In addition, the lessee may give such notice by sending a copy by certified or registered mail addressed to the agent of the lessor to whom the lessee has paid the rent for the month prior to the date of such notice or by delivering a copy to the agent personally.

     

  • California Civil Code Section 1988 regarding Abandoned Personal Property

    California Civil Code Section 1988

    Abandoned Personal Property

    1. If the personal property described in the notice is not released pursuant to Section 1987, it shall be sold at public sale by competitive bidding. However, if the landlord reasonably believes that the total resale value of the property not released is less than three hundred dollars ($300), the landlord may retain such property for his or her own use or dispose of it in any manner. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the landlord or tenant from bidding on the property at the public sale.
    2. Notice of the time and place of the public sale shall be given by publication pursuant to Section 6066 of the Government Code in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county where the sale is to be held. The last publication shall be not less than five days before the sale is to be held. The notice of the sale shall not be published before the last of the dates specified for taking possession of the property in any notice given pursuant to Section 1983. The notice of the sale shall describe the property to be sold in a manner reasonably adequate to permit the owner of the property to identify it. The notice may describe all or a portion of the property, but the limitation of liability provided by Section 1989 does not protect the landlord from any liability arising from the disposition of property not described in the notice, except that a trunk, valise, box, or other container which is locked, fastened, or tied in a manner which deters immediate access to its contents may be described as such without describing its contents.
    3. After deduction of the costs of storage, advertising, and sale, any balance of the proceeds of the sale which is not claimed by the former tenant or an owner other than such tenant shall be paid into the treasury of the county in which the sale took place not later than 30 days after the date of sale. The former tenant or other owner may claim the balance within one year from the date of payment to the county by making application to the county treasurer or other official designated by the county. If the county pays the balance or any part thereof to a claimant, neither the county nor any officer or employee thereof is liable to any other claimant as to the amount paid.
  • California Civil Code Section 1950.5 regarding Residential Security Deposits

    California Civil Code Section 1950.5

    Residential Security Deposits

    1. This section applies to security for a rental agreement for residential property that is used as the dwelling of the tenant.
    2. As used in this section, "security" means any payment, fee, deposit or charge, including, but not limited to, any payment, fee, deposit, or charge, except as provided in Section 1950.6, that is imposed at the beginning of the tenancy to be used to reimburse the landlord for costs associated with processing a new tenant or that is imposed as an advance payment of rent, used or to be used for any purpose, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
      1. The compensation of a landlord for a tenant's default in the payment of rent.
      2. The repair of damages to the premises, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, caused by the tenant or by a guest or licensee of the tenant.
      3. The cleaning of the premises upon termination of the tenancy necessary to return the unit to the same level of cleanliness it was in at the inception of the tenancy. The amendments to this paragraph enacted by the act adding this sentence shall apply only to tenancies for which the tenant's right to occupy begins after January 1, 2003.
      4. To remedy future defaults by the tenant in any obligation under the rental agreement to restore, replace, or return personal property or appurtenances, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, if the security deposit is authorized to be applied thereto by the rental agreement.
    3. A landlord may not demand or receive security, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of an amount equal to two months' rent, in the case of unfurnished residential property, and an amount equal to three months' rent, in the case of furnished residential property, in addition to any rent for the first month paid on or before initial occupancy. This subdivision does not prohibit an advance payment of not less than six months' rent if the term of the lease is six months or longer. This subdivision does not preclude a landlord and a tenant from entering into a mutual agreement for the landlord, at the request of the tenant and for a specified fee or charge, to make structural, decorative, furnishing, or other similar alterations, if the alterations are other than cleaning or repairing for which the landlord may charge the previous tenant as provided by subdivision (e).
    4. Any security shall be held by the landlord for the tenant who is party to the lease or agreement. The claim of a tenant to the security shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord.
    5. The landlord may claim of the security only those amounts as are reasonably necessary for the purposes specified in subdivision (b). The landlord may not assert a claim against the tenant or the security for damages to the premises or any defective conditions that preexisted the tenancy, for ordinary wear and tear or the effects thereof, whether the wear and tear preexisted the tenancy or occurred during the tenancy, or for the cumulative effects of ordinary wear and tear occurring during any one or more tenancies.
    6.  
      1. Within a reasonable time after notification of either party's intention to terminate the tenancy, or before the end of the lease term, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of his or her option to request an initial inspection and of his or her right to be present at the inspection. The requirements of this subdivision do not apply when the tenancy is terminated pursuant to subdivision (2), (3), or (4) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure. At a reasonable time, but no earlier than two weeks before the termination or the end of lease date, the landlord, or an agent of the landlord, shall, upon the request of the tenant, make an initial inspection of the premises prior to any final inspection the landlord makes after the tenant has vacated the premises. The purpose of the initial inspection shall be to allow the tenant an opportunity to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security. If a tenant chooses not to request an initial inspection, the duties of the landlord under this subdivision are discharged. If an inspection is requested, the parties shall attempt to schedule the inspection at a mutually acceptable date and time. The landlord shall give at least 48 hours' prior written notice of the date and time of the inspection if either a mutual time is agreed upon, or if a mutually agreed time cannot be scheduled but the tenant still wishes an inspection. The tenant and landlord may agree to forgo the 48-hour prior written notice by both signing a written waiver. The landlord shall proceed with the inspection whether the tenant is present or not, unless the tenant previously withdrew his or her request for the inspection.
      2. Based on the inspection, the landlord shall give the tenant an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleaning that are proposed to be the basis of any deductions from the security the landlord intends to make pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive of subdivision (b). This statement shall also include the texts of paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The statement shall be given to the tenant, if the tenant is present for the inspection, or shall be left inside the premises.
      3. The tenant shall have the opportunity during the period following the initial inspection until termination of the tenancy to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security.
      4. Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a landlord from using the security for deductions itemized in the statement provided for in paragraph (2) that were not cured by the tenant so long as the deductions are for damages authorized by this section.
      5. Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a landlord from using the security for any purpose specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b) that occurs between completion of the initial inspection and termination of the tenancy or was not identified during the initial inspection due to the presence of a tenant's possessions.
    7.  
      1. No later than 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, but not earlier than the time that either the landlord or the tenant provides a notice to terminate the tenancy under Section 1946 or 1946.1, Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or not earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of a fixed-term lease, the landlord shall furnish the tenant, by personal delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of an itemized statement indicating the basis for, and the amount of, any security received and the disposition of the security and shall return any remaining portion of the security to the tenant.
      2. Along with the itemized statement, the landlord shall also include copies of documents showing charges incurred and deducted by the landlord to repair or clean the premises, as follows:
        1. If the landlord or landlord's employee did the work, the itemized statement shall reasonably describe the work performed. The itemized statement shall include the time spent and the reasonable hourly rate charged.
        2. If the landlord or landlord's employee did not do the work, the landlord shall provide the tenant a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt supplied by the person or entity performing the work. The itemized statement shall provide the tenant with the name, address, and telephone number of the person or entity, if the bill, invoice, or receipt does not include that information.
        3. If a deduction is made for materials or supplies, the landlord shall provide a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt. If a particular material or supply item is purchased by the landlord on an ongoing basis, the landlord may document the cost of the item by providing a copy of a bill, invoice, receipt, vendor price list, or other vendor document that reasonably documents the cost of the item used in the repair or cleaning of the unit.
      3. If a repair to be done by the landlord or the landlord's employee cannot reasonably be completed within 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, or if the documents from a person or entity providing services, materials, or supplies are not in the landlord's possession within 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, the landlord may deduct the amount of a good faith estimate of the charges that will be incurred and provide that estimate with the itemized statement. If the reason for the estimate is because the documents from a person or entity providing services, materials, or supplies are not in the landlord's possession, the itemized statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the person or entity. Within 14 calendar days of completing the repair or receiving the documentation, the landlord shall complete the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) in the manner specified.
      4. The landlord need not comply with paragraph (2) or (3) if either of the following apply:
        1. The deductions for repairs and cleaning together do not exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125).
        2. The tenant waived the rights specified in paragraphs (2) and (3). The waiver shall only be effective if it is signed by the tenant at the same time or after a notice to terminate a tenancy under Section 1946 or 1946.1 has been given, a notice under Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure has been given, or no earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of a fixed-term lease. The waiver shall substantially include the text of paragraph (2).
      5. Notwithstanding paragraph (4), the landlord shall comply with paragraphs (2) and (3) when a tenant makes a request for documentation within 14 calendar days after receiving the itemized statement specified in paragraph (1). The landlord shall comply within 14 calendar days after receiving the request from the tenant.
      6. Any mailings to the tenant pursuant to this subdivision shall be sent to the address provided by the tenant. If the tenant does not provide an address, mailings pursuant to this subdivision shall be sent to the unit that has been vacated.
    8. Upon termination of the landlord's interest in the premises, whether by sale, assignment, death, appointment of receiver or otherwise, the landlord or the landlord's agent shall, within a reasonable time, do one of the following acts, either of which shall relieve the landlord of further liability with respect to the security held:
      1. Transfer the portion of the security remaining after any lawful deductions made under subdivision (e) to the landlord's successor in interest. The landlord shall thereafter notify the tenant by personal delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, of the transfer, of any claims made against the security, of the amount of the security deposited, and of the names of the successors in interest, their address, and their telephone number. If the notice to the tenant is made by personal delivery, the tenant shall acknowledge receipt of the notice and sign his or her name on the landlord's copy of the notice.
      2. Return the portion of the security remaining after any lawful deductions made under subdivision (e) to the tenant, together with an accounting as provided in subdivision (g).
    9. Prior to the voluntary transfer of a landlord's interest in the premises, the landlord shall deliver to the landlord's successor in interest a written statement indicating the following:
      1. The security remaining after any lawful deductions are made.
      2. An itemization of any lawful deductions from any security received.
      3. His or her election under paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (h). This subdivision does not affect the validity of title to the real property transferred in violation of this subdivision.
    10. In the event of noncompliance with subdivision (h), the landlord's successors in interest shall be jointly and severally liable with the landlord for repayment of the security, or that portion thereof to which the tenant is entitled, when and as provided in subdivisions (e) and (g). A successor in interest of a landlord may not require the tenant to post any security to replace that amount not transferred to the tenant or successors in interest as provided in subdivision (h), unless and until the successor in interest first makes restitution of the initial security as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) or provides the tenant with an accounting as provided in subdivision (g). This subdivision does not preclude a successor in interest from recovering from the tenant compensatory damages that are in excess of the security received from the landlord previously paid by the tenant to the landlord. Notwithstanding this subdivision, if, upon inquiry and reasonable investigation, a landlord's successor in interest has a good faith belief that the lawfully remaining security deposit is transferred to him or her or returned to the tenant pursuant to subdivision (h), he or she is not liable for damages as provided in subdivision (l), or any security not transferred pursuant to subdivision (h).
    11. Upon receipt of any portion of the security under paragraph (1) of subdivision (h), the landlord's successors in interest shall have all of the rights and obligations of a landlord holding the security with respect to the security.
    12. The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord's successors in interest of the security or any portion thereof in violation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacement security in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages. The court may award damages for bad faith whenever the facts warrant that award, regardless of whether the injured party has specifically requested relief. In any action under this section, the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest shall have the burden of proof as to the reasonableness of the amounts claimed or the authority pursuant to this section to demand additional security deposits.
    13. No lease or rental agreement may contain any provision characterizing any security as "nonrefundable."
    14. Any action under this section may be maintained in small claims court if the damages claimed, whether actual or statutory or both, are within the jurisdictional amount allowed by Section 116.220 or 116.221 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
    15. Proof of the existence of and the amount of a security deposit may be established by any credible evidence, including, but not limited to, a canceled check, a receipt, a lease indicating the requirement of a deposit as well as the amount, prior consistent statements or actions of the landlord or tenant, or a statement under penalty of perjury that satisfies the credibility requirements set forth in Section 780 of the Evidence Code.
    16. The amendments to this section made during the 1985 portion of the 1985-86 Regular Session of the Legislature that are set forth in subdivision (e) are declaratory of existing law.
    17. The amendments to this section made during the 2003 portion of the 2003-04 Regular Session of the Legislature that are set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) are declaratory of existing law.

     

  • California Civil Code Section 1941.1 regarding Habitable Dwelling Units

    California Civil Code Section 1941.1

    Characteristics of a Habitable Dwelling

    A dwelling shall be deemed untenantable for purposes of Section 1941 if it substantially lacks any of the following affirmative standard characteristics or is a residential unit described in Section 17920.3 or 17920.10 of the Health and Safety Code:

    1. Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
    2. Plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
    3. A water supply approved under applicable law that is under the control of the tenant, capable of producing hot and cold running water, or a system that is under the control of the landlord, that produces hot and cold running water, furnished to appropriate fixtures, and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under\ applicable law.
    4. Heating facilities that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
    5. Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
    6. Building, grounds, and appurtenances at the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement, and all areas under control of the landlord, kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
    7. An adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in clean condition and good repair at the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement, with the landlord providing appropriate serviceable receptacles thereafter and being responsible for the clean condition and good repair of the receptacles under his or her control.
    8. Floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair.
    9. A locking mail receptacle for each residential unit in a residential hotel, as required by Section 17958.3 of the Health and Safety Code. This subdivision shall become operative on July 1, 2008.