SUBJECT TO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE
AND WORK-PRODUCT DOCTRINE
We have received a number of claims by tenants against real estate agents for the improper handling of notices provided to tenants. It is strongly recommended that unless an agent is a property manager, listing and leasing agents (agents that lease properties, but do not manage the properties) refrain from delivering any notices to tenants on behalf of owners or sellers. Likewise, agents should not be preparing these notices. If agents prepare and/or deliver an improper notice, an agent can potentially, be held liable under the law to the tenant. This is particularly important in areas where rent control exists. Just as importantly, most agents preparing and/or delivering these notices are not getting paid, but are undertaking these actions as a courtesy to a seller. Therefore, it makes little economic sense to undertake this risk for no compensation.
If an owner has a tenant and needs to issue a notice to a tenant, agents are advised to refer that owner to a qualified California landlord-tenant attorney for handling. As indicated, this is an area of substantial risk and the agents are ill advised to become involved.
Shannon B. Jones, Partner firstname.lastname@example.org