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Should I notify apartment owner of management’s inappropriate replies to my reporting of problems?

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by CommentingCommenter, Jul 20, 2017.

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  1. CommentingCommenter

    CommentingCommenter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi. Should I inform the owner of my apartment (a log term hotel) that management appears to be responding inappropriately to me after I reported a bed bug infestation in my apartment? At the end of May I became infested with bed bugs no fault of my own. My landlord has responded slowly and often replies with thinly-veiled threats, deflections, guilt-tripping, and intimidation tactics.

    Although management has notified me of a plan to replace my bed, clean the carpet, and a plan to spray my apartment specifically for bed bugs, they also make other comments during our conversations that concern me. During our various conversations, management has told me: • no other tenants complain • other tenants supposedly complain about me • in 30 years they’ve never had problems like this • she is busy with her other job and family matters • other tenants supposedly take care of their pest problems themselves • she has made comments suggesting any of us could be evicted any time • she has made comments suggesting I don’t have tenant rights because this is a “hotel” • she has made comments suggesting I could be displaced with no compensation to fix the bug problem

    My friend insists I should send the owner an email about those inappropriate replies to cover my butt if I wind up getting evicted and having to challenge it – or if this otherwise winds up in court. He tells me failing to do this would make it seem like I am retaliating if I bring it up later. He tells me “document everything in writing.”

    I live in a building from the 20’s in the East L.A. area of Los Angeles. The landlords claim it’s a hotel but I never see overnight guests with luggage. Everyone who lives here are long-term residents, month to month. I never see overnight type hotel guest According to the Zimas map this property is under Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). I am a disabled person in poverty and I make money to pay rent doing gig work. I certainly don’t have the money to easily up and move.

    I don’t like confrontation and I am afraid they might retaliate by evicting me if I inform the owner about these types of replies. Also, I don’t know the actual owner well. He appears to live in another state. As far as I know he could be happy to be a slum lord.

    In late May, I first reported the bed bug problem to the manager, he reacted grumpily (shrugging off body language) and offered no follow up. It was not until I sent the building owner an email and we had a phone call in June that management began to show signs of taking steps to try to stop the bed bugs. I was then told by management that my bed would be replaced.

    I then contacted the owner and gave him an update. I was then told by management to stop emailing and calling the owner and to notify management only (my friend insists I should confirm this for myself by checking with the owner). The reason why I contacted the owner, is because, the exterminators hired by management continue to fail at stop the cockroaches. I worried they would not stop the bed bugs if they hired the same company – or that they could spread. I want management would find a new extermination team since the current extermination team fails to rid my apartment of cockroaches. I have conveyed this concern to the owner by phone and to management at least twice by email now. So far, it looks like they’re planning to hire the same failed exterminators.

    Almost a month after I reported the problem, after I showed management photos of the bed bug infestation, they sent a construction crew to repair some baseboards in my closet and restroom. However, the construction team did a terrible job and left many un-repaired cracks and holes remaining in my apartment. They’ve used this construction team before and they always do a poor job and make a mess. Likewise we’ve had cockroaches in this building and their extermination team always fails to rid the roaches. Roaches are always back within the same day and never go away. Although I should not have to tolerate them, I have tolerated the roaches. Beg bugs however are intolerable. It was not until the second week of July when management sent in a pest control team to confirm the bed bug problem and make a plan to exterminate them. They’re only now planning to do a bed-bug specific spraying at this time in mid-July.

    My feeling is management should be communicating with me solely about factual things being done to rid my apartment of bed bugs. The management team consists of three people so certainly they ought to be capable of fulfilling their responsibilities as the management team. If they make inappropriate comments to me, they could be making these types of comments to other tenants who may be too afraid to speak up for themselves (some may not have citizenship) if they too have bed bug problems. Perhaps that’s why no other tenants complain about bugs – if that’s indeed true. While I empathize with any personal problems management may be going though, bringing up their personal problems after me reporting bed bugs feels in appropriate. Despite my sympathy for their problems, it does not change the legal responsibilities that management and owners have (to stop the bed bugs. What’s more, bringing up alleged complaints by other tenants about me during conversations about the bed bug problem seems retaliatory and that’s prohibitive by California law. See: AB-551 Rental property: bed bugs.

    Speaking of the law, I have emailed management 2 emails outlining California law regarding this bed bug matter citing official State and Los Angeles County / City laws pertaining to this matter. I also emailed them a summary of all the info provided by the county about how to stop bed bugs as a courtesy to them – and to show I am proactively trying to be helpful in solving this problem.

    Being told things to the effect that I don’t have traditional tenant rights because we’re supposedly living in a hotel appears to contract the law. It appears to contradict the law when I am told things to the effect that I could be displaced without financial compensation or arbitrarily or purposely evicted as the result of this bug problem appears to contract the law. I emailed management a summary of laws applicable to this bed bug infestation and also about the rights of people living in hotels.

    So should I indeed email the owner about these inappropriate reactions as my friend suggests? Or should I just tolerate it since they’re sloooooly addressing the problem albeit with the same failed construction and extermination teams they’ve previously hired.

    Thanks.

    You're wrong ElleMD. This is why people who reply should cite sources.

    Read Retaliatory Actions, Evictions And Discrimination by California Department of Consumer Affairs. Or read California State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation by Nolo who cites their source.

    Also, this guy clearly said he went to the landlords and they didn't fix his problem. If you hire a workers to repair your place but they don't repair it then it's not fixed obviously. He didn't at all say he gets to decide. He simply said the people those landlords hired didn't get the job done.

    If the landlords don't get the job done urgently on a matter as serious as bed bugs, do you think he should just sit around and do nothing as the bugs multiply? No. Seems like reporting to the owner and filing a complaint with appropriate agencies there in Los Angeles would be the next logical step.

    His landlords appear to be in clear violation of implied warranty of habitability. See: Dealing With Problems (it's about landlords and tenants) by California Department of Consumer Affairs. Nolo also has good info about this - see: "Tenant Rights to a Livable Place."

    Updates? Yes they kinda do have to give updates since they're required to give notice before repair work is to be done. See State Laws on Landlord’s Access to Rental Property by Nolo.

    Lastly, CA law makes very clear they should not be retaliating against him. Read: AB-551 Rental property: bed bugs

    Here's another helpful read on this topic with sources cited:

    How to Get Your Landlord to Make Repairs - tobenerlaw

    You can never entirely be sure you won't get retaliated against but if that happens, as you can see for yourself by reading those laws, the landlords will have broken the law. If you get evicted and appeal, the law should be on your side. You may want to seek out legal aid clinic help or get a lawyer if you can affords one. Those links I shared here also make clear you can sue. You could do some research and perhaps figure out how to file the lawsuit yourself.

    Good luck.

    @ElleMD - your arguing points he didn't make. And they landlords are violating the law based on what he wrote. I refuted your reply and cite sources that reference the actual law.

    Thank you C-C. I very much appreciate your feedback.

    @ElleMD And yet several laws clearly state retaliation is not allowed so your continued clinging to the idea that he could be evicted for rightly reporting illegal conditions (such as cockroaches and bed bugs) is absurd. Sure the landlords could try to evict for anything but the law clearly says they can't retaliate without committing a crime. If they do he would likely win in court appealing an eviction as well as a personal law suit.

    Once again you make claims contrary to the law. California Code, Civil Code - CIV § 1941.1 cites cockroaches. Caltenantlaw also complied an awesome checklist here: http://www.caltenantlaw.com/HabitabilityChecklist2013.pdf - floor holes and cockroaches are cited as uninhabitable. Again, AB-551 is a special law in CA all about tenants' rights regarding bed bugs. If this guy makes a bed bug complaint to the landlord and they reply "Oh yeah, well the other tenants complain about you" I highly doubt a judge would not deem that to be retaliation.

    He wold not be merely reporting "petty comments." He would clearly be reporting serious violations of the law pertaining to relation and his landlords failure to fix the problem which I'm sure you know very well is their legal duty.

    You fail to back up your claims with proof. I however cited CA law and provided the links to back up my claims. If the moderators of this forum allow you to post unsupported claims here so be it. But a simple look as all of the laws regarding tenants and landlords relating to habitability and cockroaches and bugs and holes in the floor make clear that the landlord has a duty to fix the problem and not retaliate.

    Location: Los Angeles, CA

    Hi. Are there any laws in L.A. CA prohibiting a tenant from sleeping in a closet?

    I am a disabled many in poverty living in a cheap (Rent Stabilization Ordinance) RSO residential hotel. Oral contract.

    My roommate and I take turns sleeping on a mattress in the closet while the other one sleeps on a small bed in the main room.

    The unit only has the main room, closet, and restroom with shower. All residents share a community kitchen.

    My friend stayed with me and that turned into him now being here for about 2 years. He gets mail here. Mail is delivered by landlord to unit doors (slid under door bottom gap). He also paid rent at least once here with his name and this building's address on the check. According to RSO laws, he's been here over 30 days and therefore is a tenant.

    Are there any laws prohibiting one of us from sleeping in the closet or on the floor? Please cite any laws or codes in answer.

    Thank you.

    Thanks adjusterjack.

    We may end up having to go to court over damages caused by bedbugs and cockroaches. We are trying to prepare for whatever they may throw at us.

    I have emailed Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) about my question but I have not gotten a reply in over 7 days. I guess I can try again.

    There's no contract in writing. It has always been oral contract here. No other written rules exist other than a posted notice to keep the doors closed.

    Hi,

    Three times in the past two years the construction team hired to do work by my landlords have caused a huge mess and damaged my property as a result of their laziness and incompetence. The latest incident occurred last week. If I reported this as vandalism to local police, do you think they'd do anything?

    My landlord recently hired a construction team to re-affix carpet to my floor following a heart-treatment to kill bedbugs. The landlord also instructed this construction team to scrape off sealant I had proactively placed along the floorboards to stop the cockroach and bedbug problem in my home. This follows notifying the landlord several times of the bedbug and cockroach problem and their failing to stop it before I reported them to the Health Department. Instead of coming prepared with a large-hosed vacuum, the construction crew swept up the floor mess getting dirt all over my bedding and laundry that had just been washed. They also caused scuff marks on several items. During their last two repair jobs in my home, they got sealant on my curtains, mini fridge, and all over the walls leaving me to clean up the mess.

    I asked the landlord to reimburse for the laundry expense and they refuse. It's not enough to sue over.

    I live in a residential hotel in Los Angeles and it's a Rent Stabilization Ordinance property. What can I do? Thanks.

    My microwave fell when I was in the process of preparing my home for maintenance work by a construction team hired by building management to do work in my unit. My feeling is the landlords should replace it since the accident happened as the result of me preparing for the work their obligated to do.

    What's more, I live in a residential hotel. There is a community kitchen accessible from around 5a to 8:30p. I work various hours as a freelance background actor. I cannot always access the kitchen after 8:30p. The kitchen is routinely left in filth by other tenants. Building management does not clean it regularly. They also save dirty soda cans out in the open so cockroaches crawl around them. Also, after reporting the cockroaches to the Health Department, they inspected the kitchen and ordered management to remove microwaves that were in there but not working. The microwaves have not been replaced. Management was not ordered to store soda cans in a trash can with a lid.

    Regarding applicable laws, “California Civil Code section 1941 states that when a landlord rents property to a tenant as a place to live, the property must be in a "habitable" condition… In order for the property to be habitable, it must have… a kitchen.” Landlords' and Tenants' Responsibilities for Habitability and Repairs, Legal Guide LT-8 - California Department of Consumer Affairs

    “Residential hotels: You have the legal rights of a tenant if you are a resident in a residential hotel, which is in fact your primary residence. Residential hotel means any building which contains six or more guest rooms or efficiency units which are designed, used, rented or occupied for sleeping purposes by guests, and which is the primary residence of these guests…” Request Rejected

    I'm not expecting a kitchen in my unit but considering the spirit of those two laws one would think it's property management's duty to replace my microwave. What's more, when the microwave fell and broke I found dead cockroaches in it. So they already damaged the microwave by allowing cockroaches to run rampant in this building.

    Also, do you know if management is suppose to have a microwave in the kitchen? Are they supposed to allow access to it all hours?

    Thanks.

    No thanks to spending my own money on the pest control duties of the landlords. Their failure to stop the cockroaches led to it being infested with roaches. Their failure to stop the roaches (this was not the first spraying) has led me to do work that resulted in damage to it.

    I'm not sure why you're nitpicking words when the Department Of Consumer Affairs website used the word "habitable" 11 times.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2017
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  2. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Email or the owner or don't. I personally wouldn't over a few petty comments. You are a month to month tenant and can be evicted provided they follow the proper procedure. Taking your problems right to the owner repeatedly without trying to resolve them with management first is a great way to ensure it happens, unless what you are reporting is so egregious that the owner would have no choice but to fire the manager. Nothing you describe even comes close to that standard.

    You as a tenant do not get to decide which company you want them to hire to perform work. There is not a legal requirement that they give you updates on any pending work, maintenance, or other projects, let alone at the intervals you seem to want them. You can't be evicted for requesting treatment for bedbugs but you can be evicted for by-passing management, demanding certain companies be used, or not cooperating with the process.
     
  3. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    There is absolutely nothing at all in anything you posted or on any of the links that protects a tenant from being evicted for reporting petty comments made by a manager to an owner. That was the actual question, though it was hard to find buried in with a bunch of unrelated details. If he was reporting the actual bedbug problem, different story.

    Tenants do not have the right to their landlord they can not use a certain company. If the place is uninhabitable that is different but there is nothing to suggest that replacing baseboards rendered the place uninhabitable, even if the workmanship left to be desired.

    It is also not retaliation to tell a tenant they have received complaints about him from other tenants. It is pretty common to complain about a neighbor to the landlord and for the landlord to address it with the accused.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Here is the CA landlord tenant statute:

    Codes Display Text

    And the RSO:

    http://www.mcs360.com/documents/compliancedoc/VPR/Los Angeles CA rental registration ordinance.pdf

    There is nothing in the state law prohibiting anybody from sleeping in the closet. I haven't read the RSO but I doubt that there is anything in there either.

    The owner may have something to say about it but if you have a written lease that doesn't prohibit it, you're OK.

    The problem starts if you are tenants at will. If the owner doesn't like your behavior he can terminate your tenancy with proper notice.

    Is something happening that gives rise to your question? What is it?
     
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  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    There is no law regarding where anyone sleeps.
    There likely are rules within the rental agreement regarding the number of occupants allowed in the unit.
    If you are exceeding that limit you could have trouble.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    No.

    You certainly can, but you need to understand that agencies like this are underfunded and overworked.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That's silly. Doesn't matter why you were moving it, you're the one who dropped it. Nobody else is responsible.

    No, it doesn't say that at all. You're reading guides and summaries. Now read the statute. See what Section 1941 says. It uses the word "untenantable" not "habitable." And 1941.1 describes what makes a dwelling "untenantable."

    Codes Display Text

    Nothing in the statutes requires the LL to provide a microwave. Buy yourself a new one to replace the one you broke. They don't cost much.

    As for a few roaches in your unit, spend a few bucks on roach motel or some other product. I get a roach or two in my house now and then. I don't whine about them, I spray and they die. Priban works fine. You can get it at DIY pest control stores or on ebay (I suppose).
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No. It's not vandalism. It's negligence. It's a civil matter, not a crime.

    Then eat the loss if you don't want to sue. What else do you think anybody can tell you.

    You have an awful lot of complaints about this place. You can move if you don't like living there.
     
  10. CommentingCommenter

    CommentingCommenter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I can move? Gee thanks for the brilliant insights. You appear to be more interested in condescending comments thank being helpful. I am not interested in that.

    Thanks.

    Hello,

    I am preparing my small claims lawsuit against my landlord for uninhabitable conditions in my home.

    Am I allowed to ask for expenses such as copies made to provide the judge evidence or the expense of certified copies of Health Department reports, and other government documents that cost me money to obtain?

    Do small claims judges tend to award these requests?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2017
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    If, as you stated, this happened "as a result of their laziness and incompetence," then it's not vandalism, so no.

    I'm sure you can do lots of things. What might be most appropriate isn't apparent from your post. You told us that the construction team "caused a huge mess and damaged [your] property," the only thing you specifically mentioned was that they got "dirt all over [your] bedding and laundry," which caused you to incur some "laundry expense, which presumably wasn't more than $5-10. Was there other damage? If so, what was it? If not, then just let it go.
     
  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You are the one who asked, "What can I do?" "adjusterjack's" response is a completely legitimate answer to that question. As my mother used to say, "ask a stupid question; you'll get a stupid answer."
     
  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Not unless the lease requires it.
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Have it your way.

    Because the Department of Consumer Affairs is NOT the California legislature and because when you go to court the judge won't give a crap about what the Department of Consumer Affairs says. He'll want to know what the statute says and it's the words in the statute that he will rule on.
     
  15. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    And mine used to say "If banging your head against the wall hurts, stop banging your head against the wall."
     
  16. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The microwave is not a requirement, however you might make an argument that the loss of the feature should result in a small reduction in rent. I doubt the landlord would be responsive to that, especially since you are the one that broke the microwave, but it's the best argument I can think of that you might make.
    Your fastest solution here is to buy yourself a cheap microwave and take it with you when you move out.
     
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  17. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You're "allowed to ask" for anything at all. The types of things that are allowable as costs in a California civil action are found in section 1033.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. I would expect the cost of certifying copies would be allowable under section 1033.5(a)(16), but the cost of obtaining photocopies is expressly not allowed under section 1033.5(b)(3).
     
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  18. CommentingCommenter

    CommentingCommenter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    My landlords leave out soda cans in the hallway and community kitchen at the residential hotel I live in. The soda cans have sticky soda residue. I have video and photo showing cockroaches crawling around these cans.

    The landlords also refuse to seal the numerous holes, cracks, and crevices in my unit and common area hallway. I have photo/video showing cockroaches crawling around these areas.

    I got bedbugs between May-Sept. Landlords reacted by trying to tell me to deal with the problem myself, threatening eviction, & telling me I don't have rights (not true, lived here years well over 30 days). My neighbors are low income, Spanish-speaking seniors. I worry the landlords create a culture of intimidation so other tenants don't speak up. I have vid of one of my neighbor's cockroach problem. I have a vid where my roommate filmed the landlord yelling at me. He knew he was being filmed.

    They did however spray. But they spray every 2 months because they cause the problem to begin with. They're dumb and lazy actions are causing the problem to continue.

    Do you think I have a case?
     
  19. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    A case of what? The simplest remedy would seem to be to move.
     
  20. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Or throw out the empty cans when you see one. Takes 2 seconds.
     

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