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Is this change legal?

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by sgeneris, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. sgeneris

    sgeneris Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Since 1992 when I rented my apartment the management company would reimburse me for new stove metal plates and, as far as I understand, this means that it was a service covered by the lease. I would purchase new ones, deduct the amount from the rent and include the receipt with the rent check.

    At some point the landlord changed management company and when I tried to follow the same procedure, they told me that I have to cover the cost myself. Since the lease has not changed, this seems to me to be a violation of the lease.

    Is my understanding correct -- is this legal?
    If so, what are my options?

    Thanks.
     
  2. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about something like this?

    [​IMG]

    If so that shouldn't be considered a wear item. Those things can last for decades if properly maintained.

    Also if it isn't in the lease that such wear items are the responsibility of the landlord then it is likely on you. Just because a previous LL reimbursed you doesn't make it part of the lease.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    As far as you understood? What does that mean? What does the lease actually say? Also, what is a "stove metal plate"? If you're talking about the things pictured in the prior response, how often do you need to replace them? I ask because I've never in my life replaced them (I just wash them).

    Seems to you? It either is or it isn't, and it will depend on what the lease says.

    No one here has ever read your lease. Until and unless you tell us what it says, no one here will have any way of knowing.

    To say nothing of being incredibly inexpensive.
     
  4. sgeneris

    sgeneris Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A respondent has provided pics -- I thank him.
    They don't put such details in the lease -- certainly not a 1992 lease.
    They rust pretty quickly. I have replaced them about 3 times since 1992.
    The previous mgmt did not refund out of the kindness of their heart (and if you claim so this exchange is over). Rather, they interpreted the lease to cover them. And if they did and the lease did not change...

    You may have not realized it, but this was intended as a matter of principle using the specifics as just an example: can a landlord make such changes at will if they are not explicit in the will? The plates may be inexpensive, but if the answer is they can do it with expensive stuff.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Well...I agree that such things are not covered in MOST leases, but I've seen stranger things in leases (I once had a lease that said the landlord would provide replacement light bulbs), so I always reserve judgment.

    Not in my experience (although I've had a gas stove for the last 8 years, so I can't say I recall too much about the last ones I had).

    Please quote the provision of the lease that the old management interpreted in this way.

    The terms of a lease cannot be changed except by mutual agreement of the parties, unless the lease gives one party or the other the right to make unilateral changes. However, you haven't been clear about your lease. On one hand, you indicated that your lease was silent about this issue but, on the other hand, you said there's a provision in your lease that the former property manager interpreted in a way that caused it to provide these items. It is certainly possible for a landlord to stop providing something that it has no legal obligation to provide, but without knowing exactly what your lease says, I can't speak further to the issue.

    Additionally, if you're on a month-to-month lease, the landlord can dictate changes to the lease terms simply by giving a 60-day notice. Of course, if you're in a city with rent control/stabilization, the local ordinance might be relevant in this regard.
     
  6. sgeneris

    sgeneris Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I did not say that they interpreted a specific item in the lease -- I meant that their understanding was that they were supposed to do that. Let's assume there's nothing in the lease: if they did reimburse me, can the new mgmt simply choose to ignore the precedent? If so, they can do that with anything.

    And yes, if the ordinance allows them they should have notified me of any changes. Can they just do it without notification?











     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes.

    If they voluntarily give you something that they aren't obligated by the lease to give you they can stop giving it to you at any time.

    They can do it with anything that they give you that they are not obligated by the lease to give you.

    You had notification. You were told that they weren't going to reimburse you. That's notification.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You previously wrote that "[t]he previous mgmt . . . interpreted the lease to cover them." In order for that to be true, there must be something in the lease that was being interpreted. Now you seem to be saying something different - that the former property manager had an "understanding that [it was] supposed to replace the stove trays." Ok...what was that understanding based on?

    Absolutely. If someone has no legal obligation to provide you with something free but does so anyway (for whatever reason), that person is free, at any time, to stop providing the thing for free (or at all), with or without advance notification.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
    shadowbunny likes this.
  9. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Short answer, yes. They aren't changing the lease they are just interpreting it differently and probably correctly. The only way those rust "fairly quickly" is from improper use or super cheap models.
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I agree, but it's possible that, if this is an apartment right on the beach, they might rust more quickly than in more inland locations. Even if they're replaced every ten years, that's a de minimis expense not worthy of any legal discussion.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes, a set of 4 from Home Depot is under $20.
     
    justblue likes this.
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Walmart sells some for a ten spot.
     

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