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Old 06-09-2007, 01:14 AM
9 posts, read 39,140 times
Reputation: 10


Moved into 450 sq ft garage converted to studio in Carlsbad last July. $875 including utilities per ad and signed contract. Landlord's elderly mother and sister live in main house, some 1500 sq. ft. Stay at home nearly 24/7. Mother told me from day one she has nothing to do with the money/rental.

Before I paid 2nd month's rent, he said "mom forgot to factor in the cable, and now she's stuck with $50 month bill; I offered to pitch in another $25 per month. Ok, rent now is $900. Six months later, landlord emailed me and said, "mom's SDGE bill was very high last month, would you pitch in another $100?" I said no and could tell it made him mad.

I don't even have a heater in this palce, he gave me a space heater which was inadequate, and that I used maybe 20 minutes a day. I froze, not wanting to run up their SDGE bill.

Now, he says I now have to pay 1/3 the utilities, they are no longer included in the rent (12 months is up Aug 1 when he says this new deal is to begin). It will run 1/3 of the cable (33.00), 1/3 of the water (he rescinded this one) and 1/3 of SDGE which will be $100 to $200 per month depending upon usage.

I am still fighting with him. I do not use that much electricity. It is ludicrous for him to factor this in thirds.

He's hit me up for money 3 times in 11 months, even after we both signed a contract.

Oh, and he also "forgot" to tell me his mother is allergic to smoke, and I cannot smoke in my apt. Nor in the yard. Nor in my car. Nor anywhere as she "smells the smoke on my clothes when I enter the apt."

I know....I have to move, but it infuriates me. Just wondering if landlords make these changes in the middle of the stream? It cost me $600 in moving expenses, then he drops all this on me, and the expense to move is on me.

Any input? Is it legal to change from "utilities paid" to tenant pays utilities?

PS: I am a 55 year old professional who wanted to live by the beach for a while after caring for mother with cancer, not a partying kid who the landlord is trying to get rid of.
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Old 06-09-2007, 01:53 AM
74 posts, read 659,752 times
Reputation: 58
I'm not anywhere near an expert on this but I have rented a lot. To my understanding, if you signed a contract that specifically says the utilities are included in the rent then that's the deal for the length of the contract. If you are currently paying more that the contract amount, i.e. 900 instead of 875 I would back out of that and only pay 875. It sounds like he is taking advantage of you. Especially when you said he wants you to pay 1/3 of the expenses. You live in 1/4 of the house and you are not at home as much as the other people that are helping to run up the electricity bill. Frankly, $100/month is ridiculous for electricity of a 500 sqft. apt. with no heating. I would say $50 would be closer to what you are probably using.

I know that moving sucks and it costs a lot but I would tell this guy that come August 1st you are out. He is showing his colors and you need to heed that and know that it will probably continue if you stay there.

Lastly, if you are truly sick of what he is doing take a really hard stance with him. Tell him that from now on you will only pay and abide by the rules that the contract entails and if his harassment persists you will file a complaint with the housing board.

Believe me, I know how much it sucks to be under a horrible landlord, sometimes hardball is the way to go.


Last edited by Starrynight227; 06-09-2007 at 02:54 AM..
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Old 06-09-2007, 03:36 AM
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
3,641 posts, read 9,531,793 times
Reputation: 3612
I agree with Starrynight. At this point, take a hard line. You're out the door Aug 1st anyway. There's no way to salvage this rental situation.

Be prepared to go to Small Claims court to get your deposit back too with this guy. However, I have the suspicion this is an illegal garage conversion, and he'll back down on that when he sees that you're serious.

I've almost had entirely good experiences with landlords. This guy is a total dud.
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Old 06-09-2007, 06:31 AM
Location: Rolling hills,TN
15 posts, read 57,534 times
Reputation: 16
If this is a legally binding contract with a specified rent of $875.00 I would hand him a check for that amount and tell him to go pound sand.
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Old 06-09-2007, 06:45 AM
2,015 posts, read 4,355,177 times
Reputation: 1858
I think this landlord is already getting a sweet deal by renting out his garage as an apartment, and as someone already mentioned an illegal garage conversion. Moving on, a contract is a contract - it is legal and binding. He cannot change terms on it whenever he feels like it. I agree that he is a crud (sure sounds like it), and he does not play fair, nor is he professional. Departing on August 1 sounds like a good idea. I truly wish the best for you and your family. Sorry that you're in this predicament.
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Old 06-09-2007, 08:53 AM
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 10,519,760 times
Reputation: 1686
As a Property Manager I am disgusted with the owners actions and demands he is making on you. Yes, it does sound like you are living in an illegal garage conversion. First, I would keep receipts of all monies you gave him. Second, I would only pay him the $875/rent. When you sign a 12 month lease, landlords CANNOT under any circumstances change the terms. Third, I would be prepared to go to small claims court, not only for the security deposit (if you don't receive it back), but I would also add all those illegal charges he had you pay. Fourth, I could contact the City and notify them of the converted garage.

Landlord like him give us (the good ones!) a bad name.

Good luck.

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Old 06-09-2007, 11:42 AM
9 posts, read 39,140 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all so much. It's unfortunate that people just can't play fair, but I guess that's what contracts are for. I am beginning to see the things to address when I rent, rather than trusting someone who appears to be "nice". I was a married homeowner before, and this is only my 2nd rental in the last 8years. The first one was a dud, too, so I must be missing the warning signs or something.

The other one was in Vista, family owned. I finally moved after they raised my rent $135 a month to "keep up with the other townhouses" in the complex; but wouldn't upgrade mine like the others. They only did that when people moved out. One day, I looked at my duct-taped carpeting and said, "this is enough, I've had it". I had never asked them for one cent in repairs in seven years, and they had no maintenance plan, so they collected my annual rent increases and just let it go (except that I did my own maintenance, like toilets, caulking, painting, light fixtures, screens).

Re present situation: A realtor in Carlsbad told me that she, too, suspects this is an illegal rental. I didn't think so as I have a mailbox with my address on it 1075A. I was told by Fair Housing in San Diego that Carlsbad "does not participate" with them. I have no idea who to contact about anything, but bottom line, I will move when I find the right place, right price, and decent landlord. I don't believe a guy like my landlord is going to change, and I get far too stressed out dealing with this, and I know it will never stop. I moved in here for serenity, reflection and R and R after my mother's death. And I got this bozo to deal with. The next one will be better.
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:25 PM
9 posts, read 39,140 times
Reputation: 10
I called the City of Carlsbad building codes department and they said it appears it is an illegal apartment....there is no record that the owner got a permit for installing a kitchen sink. He did get permits to enlarge the garage and put in a bathroom. What recourse can I take?

I signed a contract with another (and very reputable) apt. and am moving Sept. 1.

I have read I am entitled to my year's rent back. Don't know.

If I request a city inspection, I will be told to vacate if it is indeed illegal. Can't believe he would put me in jeopardy like that.

This whole fiasco is going to end up costing me nearly $2000 in moving expenses (twice), increased deposit at new place, and rent overage I stupidly paid.

Any suggestions? Thanks....
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