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Old 07-16-2012, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
3 posts, read 6,659 times
Reputation: 13

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Hello,

I am having some difficulty with a tenant and although I believe I am within the law (Ive tried to do as much reading, calling local rent boards etc. as possible, but please tell me otherwise) Ive recently come into a difficult situation and would like some advice. Some background:

Property is in Los Angeles and is subject to rent control. I bought the property and have filed the necessary paperwork with the city to evict one of the tenants and move into the unit (process has not commenced yet as the city has sat on the paperwork for the past month...). I do not have a lease agreement or keys to the unit as the previous landlord supposedly did not have them, though I have a signed tenant information form that details rent amount, security deposit etc. The tenant is not happy about the eviction, but our relationship has been cordial. During the home inspection it was noted that the electrical panels are out of date (Federal Pacific) and need to be replaced ASAP to conform to modern safety standards and were a hazard.

Now the issue - I have scheduled the electrical work, and the the electrician needs access to the to-be evicted tenants unit. I tried to be as accommodating as possible in scheduling the work (as there will be some power outages) but the tenant did not respond to email, phone calls or when I go around and knock on the door. I started getting frustrated so I went around today to serve a notice of pending work and luckily caught the tenant while they were outside and served them a notice letting them know work has been scheduled in a few days time. The tenant first told me it was ok, then went ballistic ultimately telling me I would have to pick the locks to get access as she believes I am persecuting her and should wait until she moves out to perform the work.

Question now is what should I do. Force the issue, get a locksmith to pick the lock (while making me a spare key), supervise the electrical work and continue on? Or, wait two-three months, pray the electrical system does not give out or worse cause a fire (slightly worried on the liability side as Ive had an inspector tell me the system is a hazard). Im leaning towards the first option but wanted to see if anyone has any thoughts or experience.

Thanks,
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,064,950 times
Reputation: 3403
Is it possible to have the police stand by while you let the electrician in? I don't think you could safely put this work off, since it's electrical and may have safety concerns. I would call the police department and ask them. They won't "help" you but they might "Stand by to keep the peace" while you access the property.

Is there an attorney you might consult?

Bring another person with you if possible to serve as a witness when you let the worker in if that is necessary. The more witnesses the better if she goes ballistic again.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:34 PM
 
27,254 posts, read 55,704,449 times
Reputation: 21543
I try to focus on the big picture which appears to be a getting the unit vacant...

As a sidebar... all the homes around me and mine have Federal Pacific Breakers and I have no plans to change...

There is plenty of controversy on the subject and the two electricians I trust also agree with me.

The consumer product safety commission has the power to order a recall... they have done it for faulty gas appliances and electric devices... to my knowledge, no such recall notice has ever been issued...

So if the panel has not been tampered with, wiring is in good condition and you don't have a deadline... why make a difficult situation worse?

just my thoughts...
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:43 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,171 posts, read 68,132,481 times
Reputation: 37019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
The consumer product safety commission has the power to order a recall...
They're no longer in production to be recalled.

Quote:
According to the National Fire Protection Association there were very few
circuit panel caused fires and no knowledge of a Federal Pacific panel ever being
involved with any fire causing a fatality.
This "out" often cited by those who don't want to spend the $1-2000 or so for an EC
to replace the old panel is in the language saying the panel "caused" fire.
The issue is in what the panel or breakers are known to NOT do:
cut off the electricity when common overload conditions exist.

Quote:
A 1982 Security and Exchange Commission filing by the company that purchased Federal Pacific Electric reads, “UL listings on circuit breakers made by Federal Pacific had previously been obtained through the use of deceptive and improper practices.”
The company and UL ultimately removed the UL listing for the breakers, but not before millions had been sold from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Be sure you keep your fire insurance premium paid up and try to avoid written proof
that you knew in advance that many well informed and qualified have SHOWN that
they absolutely do have known and serious problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasaCalabaza View Post
Now the issue ... Or, wait two-three months
Though I agree that the panel change is important to do, and as soon as reasonably possible,
I also agree that you should focus on the first goal of regaining possession.

As you mentioned the tenant is "cordial...
have you considered a "cash for keys" arrangement to move things along sooner?
btw... what does your attorney say about the City and wending through it's process?
--

ETA: missed the keys question itself. oops.
Absolutely get keys and do that TODAY.

Last edited by MrRational; 07-17-2012 at 06:19 AM..
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:06 AM
 
16,380 posts, read 19,321,655 times
Reputation: 14280
I would get a locksmith out there asap and get 2 keys made. You need these anyway, pronto.
Then get the electrical work done next.

dont let this tenant bully you. Focus on the work that needs to be done and getting the keys made. Do proper notification with tenant and follow all laws.

Part of the reason for doing to work and getting the key is to be able to inspect. You are allowed to do this and you need to evaluate for any expected changes you will make.

Call an attorney for advice. So what if it costs a bit of money. Maybe half hour or something.
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:36 PM
 
27,254 posts, read 55,704,449 times
Reputation: 21543
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
They're no longer in production to be recalled.


This "out" often cited by those who don't want to spend the $1-2000 or so for an EC
to replace the old panel is in the language saying the panel "caused" fire.
The issue is in what the panel or breakers are known to NOT do:
cut off the electricity when common overload conditions exist.
Not to get too far off topic...

About 15 years ago, there was something with the insurance bill regarding Federal Pacific Breakers...

It said turning off and back on again each individual breaker periodically was the most effective way to maintain functionality... which is standard practice on some of the institutional circuit breakers here at the hospital.

My folks were concerned and spoke to the chief city electrical inspector who put their minds to rest...
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:25 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,524 times
Reputation: 10
I rented my cottage to a nice young coupl, took no secuity deposit or pet deposit, I called the new renter, to get some flowers from the last renter and saw a inside in the yard leanning in a unsafe manor, I then knock on the door to ask what was going on, he told me his pizza was coming and he needed his nap. I ask what was going on inside and ask if I could see, he said no and slamme the door on my face, he has just moved in 6 days ago. what would you do? I have asked him
twice to put the door in the shed or back inside. He just laughs at me
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:29 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,524 times
Reputation: 10
I rented my cottage to a nice young coupl, took no secuity deposit or pet deposit, I called the new renter, to get some flowers from the last renter and saw a inside in the yard leanning in a unsafe manor, I then knock on the door to ask what was going on, he told me his pizza was coming and he needed his nap. I ask what was going on inside and ask if I could see, he said no and slamme the door on my face,
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 62,185,436 times
Reputation: 26588
[quote=665566m;32670944]I rented my cottage to a nice young coupl, took no secuity deposit or pet deposit, I called the new renter, to get some flowers from the last renter and saw a inside in the yard leanning in a unsafe manor .../QUOTE]

An inside what?

I know you didn't ask for advice apart from what this "something" in the yard is but I'm going to give you some anyway.

You need to learn what your responsibilities are as a landlord. Go to the first "sticky" on this page and read your state landlord tenant laws so you understand what's expected of you as a landlord and what you should expect from your tenants.

I'm assuming since you don't even have the basics of a security deposit (BAD mistake) that you have no written lease with these tenants and that they're thus legally on a month to month agreement. I suggest you give them 30 day written notice (or whatever's required under your state laws) now. Most states dictate that you have to give 24 hours notice to enter the leased premises unless in case of emergency. Your tenant's behavior in slamming the door in your face in response to a simple question seems to indicate that your tenant is probably someone you'd rather not have living there.

Give them notice now, in writing and via return receipt certified mail.

That's the first step and is simple. There are further steps to take if he ignores you, but there's no point in going into that at this early stage.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 25,327,614 times
Reputation: 9372
I agree. You need to learn what is allowed and what is not. Seeing something in the yard does not give you the right to come in the house unannounced. If I were a renter and my landlord tried to do that, I wouldn't let them in either.

Other than that, I didn't understand what the issue is that you were trying to address. If communication in English is an issue for you, it is possible your tenant didn't know what you were trying to accomplish either. However, I would agree that if the tenant is laughing in your face and shutting the door in the middle of a conversation, they are likely not as nice as you thought. Did you even run a credit report or a background check on them?
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