U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate > Renting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:58 AM
 
8 posts, read 13,462 times
Reputation: 10
Default Landlord Attempted to Trespass: Now I Want To Break My Lease

Last time I posted on here I was looking for a place. I had been living in a one bedroom apartment in Hollywood and was having issues with my apartment manager. He would watch me on the security cameras, he would try my door knob (and other women's) to see if it was unlocked, I saw him eavesdropping outside my neighbor's door, he opened my mail, and he made sleazy comments among other things. Both myself and my neighbor knew he was entering our units without permission...my things would be moved around and he left something of his in her apartment. It finally came to a head one day when I woke up and he was inside of my apartment. I filed a police report, went to the owner, and when she came to the building and confronted him about it he assaulted her and threatened her life.

So I decided to move to Beverly Hills. Thought it would potentially be safer. When I met with the manager I expressed my concerns to him about having someone enter my apartment without a 24 hour notice. When I was signing my lease with the property company, I wanted to verbally clarify a few things and told the woman that it was something I wasn't okay with and that if there wasn't an emergency entering was against the law. She assured me that I had a great manager and it would never happen.

After I moved in I noticed a number of problems. A casing on my floor going into my bathroom came undone. The lock on my patio was broken. I told the manager about it over a month and a half ago and he still hasn't fixed it which obviously endangers me. The hot water goes out about 3 times a week. I was dealing with all of it. Before I signed my lease, the manager had assured me that this couple who had been looking at the also vacant apartment above mine wouldn't be moving in. I told him if there was any chance that they would, I'd take a different apartment because they have a new baby. TWO DAYS after I move in the baby moves in above me. I've spoken to the manager about the noise twice and I'm so sleep deprived it isn't even funny.

At around 8:50 this morning I woke up to a pounding on my door that sounded like the police. I heard my lock turn and someone try to open my door. I jumped up and ran over - fortunately I have a chain lock this time around. My manager said frantically "there's an emergency!" so naturally having just woken up, I didn't ask questions and just let him in. Turns out he was there with the Time Warner guys and wanted to change a cable because the people above me are having problems with their connection. Once my manager leaves the man from Time Warner turned to me and said "I don't know why he told you it's an emergency. It's not."

So once again, I have a male manager who tries to come in without permission. No 24 hour notice, no nothing. Just feels like he can come in for whatever reason whenever he pleases. Yes, when I'm home I can use the chain lock but what about when I'm not home? And on top of all of that he has a temper. The Time Warner guys left for almost 45 minutes and when one came back and told me what he had left to do I said "I'm sorry but this isn't an emergency and I can't have you in here for that long. If you want to come back tomorrow, that will be 24 hours notice and I'll be here." I then called the manager who proceeded to yell at me and tell me that I had to do this, it would be a pain for them to come back, and that I was inconveniencing people. Really?

I called the police because I wanted to have it on record for when it happened again. The woman I spoke with told me that my manager could have a different definition of the word emergency that other people and if it happens again to call them.

I really want to break my lease. I don't feel safe, I can barely sleep because of the baby as it is, and I'm really upset that I'm put in this same position AGAIN. If you don't feel safe in your home where will you feel at ease?

I've only been here for 2 months. My question is, can I break the lease based on the time it took for the repairs to happen or the trespassing attempt? There are other things that I think are illegal in the building...I believe the elevator is out of date, people park where there aren't parking space and block you in, and I'm sure if I really tried I could find other hazards. But is that enough?

Thanks in advance.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-29-2011, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,066 posts, read 18,433,190 times
Reputation: 6178
Here is what the California state laws say about when your landlord can enter the apartment.
California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

It sounds to me like he has violated those provisions, the need to make a Time-Warner cable modification does not constitute any kind of emergency. In most states the landlords repeated violation, entering the residence without proper notice or permission, is grounds for the tenant terminating the lease. I recommend you write the landlord a letter documented his repeated violations of these requirements. It could become grounds for terminating the lease later if you decide to do so.

Quote:
If your landlord violates these access rules, talk to the landlord about your concerns. If that is not successful in stopping the landlord's misconduct, send the landlord a formal letter asking the landlord to strictly observe the access rules stated above. If the landlord continues to violate these rules, you can talk to an attorney or a legal aid organization, or file suit in small claims court to recover damages that you have suffered due to the landlord's misconduct. If the landlord's violation of these rules was significant and intentional, and the landlord's purpose was to influence you to move from the rental unit, you can sue the landlord in small claims court for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation.127
Most of the repairs you describe are needed do not effect the habitability of the residence, however the lack of locking doors and windows does. In California and many states a residence is not considered habitable if it does not have:
Quote:
Operable dead bolt locks on the main entry doors of rental units, and operable locking or security devices on windows

California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs
I believe I recall reading somewhere that in California tenants have the right to rekey the locks on the doors to prevent the landlords entry without appropriate notice and permission. However, I cannot find a link to that at the moment. That is true here in Texas.

Read this section on having repairs made. California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

You may be able to get some assistance here: Landlord/Tenant Book - California Department of Consumer Affairs (http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/appendix3.shtml - broken link)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,066 posts, read 18,433,190 times
Reputation: 6178
Here is a California attorney's website that says a tenant has the right to change the locks to insure their privacy. California Tenant Law - Free legal advice for California renters' rights

Here is another one: http://www.kennytanlawblog.com/tp-101120061525.shtml

Quote:
In California, there's no law that prohibits a tenant from changing locks unless the written lease explicitly so states.
You should check your lease to make sure it does not prohibit this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
20,519 posts, read 22,551,554 times
Reputation: 21388
You need to address all these issues in writing to the property management company, preferably by certified return receipt mail.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 04:17 PM
 
8 posts, read 13,462 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you for the responses.

I was thinking the same thing regarding the lock on my patio door, that can't be legal. And the manager knew about it before I moved in...he mentioned it before I did. As for as the locks on the door I believe that I'm allowed to change them, but the building manager is required to have a key which unfortunately defeats the purpose

My concern about writing to the property management company is that they have a horrible reputation. Based on the many reviews online people have had large chunks taken out of their deposits, the company has unethical lawyers, and the city has been paid to turn a blind eye. I'm worried that if I were to complain to them they would retaliate and try to find some reason to evict me. That's what happened when I lived in Hollywood. The day I woke up with my manager inside my apartment I told him it was illegal, he knew he was in trouble, so he called the owner and tried to convince her to evict me.

I was thinking of trying to go into the police station in person to file a trespassing report just to keep on file. On the California Tenant Law website it mentions that you can legally terminate the lease because of noisy neighbors. I don't know what would be considered reasonable and what's not, but the fact that a neighbor blasts Cher every morning and people are talk loudly out by the pool after it's supposedly closed around 12-2am both definitely affect my sleep. As far as what's listed in unhabitable conditions "floor separating from wall, uncovered holes in floors, trash in the common areas" all apply. And wouldn't having cars parked where there aren't spaces be a fire hazard? I just want to have a strong case where I can list a multitude of things.

At this point I really don't want to have to stay. The thought that someone may be coming in while I'm gone or try to get in while I'm sleeping - again - really gives me serious anxiety.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 04:19 PM
 
Location: United State of Texas
1,709 posts, read 2,107,558 times
Reputation: 1989
OP. It sounds to me like you live your life just looking for somebody to do something "unjust" to you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,066 posts, read 18,433,190 times
Reputation: 6178
Quote:
Originally Posted by BHGD24 View Post
Thank you for the responses.

I was thinking the same thing regarding the lock on my patio door, that can't be legal. And the manager knew about it before I moved in...he mentioned it before I did. As for as the locks on the door I believe that I'm allowed to change them, but the building manager is required to have a key which unfortunately defeats the purpose

My concern about writing to the property management company is that they have a horrible reputation. Based on the many reviews online people have had large chunks taken out of their deposits, the company has unethical lawyers, and the city has been paid to turn a blind eye. I'm worried that if I were to complain to them they would retaliate and try to find some reason to evict me. That's what happened when I lived in Hollywood. The day I woke up with my manager inside my apartment I told him it was illegal, he knew he was in trouble, so he called the owner and tried to convince her to evict me.

I was thinking of trying to go into the police station in person to file a trespassing report just to keep on file. On the California Tenant Law website it mentions that you can legally terminate the lease because of noisy neighbors. I don't know what would be considered reasonable and what's not, but the fact that a neighbor blasts Cher every morning and people are talk loudly out by the pool after it's supposedly closed around 12-2am both definitely affect my sleep. As far as what's listed in unhabitable conditions "floor separating from wall, uncovered holes in floors, trash in the common areas" all apply. And wouldn't having cars parked where there aren't spaces be a fire hazard? I just want to have a strong case where I can list a multitude of things.

At this point I really don't want to have to stay. The thought that someone may be coming in while I'm gone or try to get in while I'm sleeping - again - really gives me serious anxiety.
Does the lease require that you give the landlord a key? If not then you don't have to do so.

Try filing the trespassing report, and get a copy of the documentation if you can. Send a written notification of the landlords improper intrusion into your privacy, lack of proper notice and absence of locking doors/windows by certified return receipt mail and keep a copy. Detail how you woke up to find him standing over you in your apartment. If you really want out, use that written documentation and notify your landlord that you are terminating the lease for those reasons. If you are uncomfortable at all with doing this then go hire a lawyer to assist you, that will probably facilitate an easy exit from this situation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 05:01 PM
 
8 posts, read 13,462 times
Reputation: 10
Yes Zembonez, absolutely. I get really excited when men come into my home without permission. Without having "unjust" things in my life, I don't know how I would function. *rolls eyes*

In all reality I can live with being blocked in, having structural problems in my apartment, noisy neighbors, etc. Even 2 months of sleep deprivation thanks to the baby hasn't turned me into a horrible person. That's fine. Everything I listed had more to do with finding grounds for a case than completely hating my life.

But now we're talking about my safety. Have you ever been burgalarized? Or had a female friend get raped or murdered? Believe it or not these things happen in real life - not just in Lifetime movies. In my Hollywood apartment the manager PHYSICALLY ASSUALTED the female owner and told her he knew where she slept and was going to find her and kill her. A girl I know had a so-called sexual deviant break in through her balcony when she was asleep. I don't want to be a victim, hence why I am trying to take care of the situation before it even potentially starts to get out of hand.

CptnRn, thank you for being so helpful. It's a little late today but I'm going to look into lawyers, reread my lease, and start making calls tomorrow. Between a trespassing report, written documentation, and having legal representation hopefully all my bases will be covered.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 05:52 PM
 
15,048 posts, read 18,928,714 times
Reputation: 6170
You have to put it all in writing...

The move in of the couple with the baby is not something that you hold against them since you are moving into an appartment and you never know who will be your neighbor, if it wasn't them it would be someone else...that's the risk you take of renting in such building...

I'm not sure if you have a case you can win right now, because you first have to give them notice in writing and if it happens again than you have a case... But you might need to have a witness and they might have to show up in court and making a statement to you about the emergency will not be allowed in court to use unless that person is there to testify and most people don't want to loose a days work for something like this and a judge will not allow it because it will be hearsay...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-29-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
6,499 posts, read 6,461,142 times
Reputation: 10424
That's not exactly correct, Bentlbee. Some courts do allow sworn statements - specifically small claims courts. This issue would probably wind up in housing court which may also permit a sworn statement.

OP, please let us know the outcome.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate > Renting

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top