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Violation of "quiet enjoyment"? Quiet Enjoyment

Discussion in 'Living in, Use of the Premises' started by Caeristhiona, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. Caeristhiona

    Caeristhiona Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My fiance and I are housesitting his parents' place for several months, so we decided to sublet our apartment. We have a signed agreement with the subletter, and also have written permission from the owner of the building.

    So. We've tried to get in touch with the subletter, J., a couple of times (in relation to a personally valuable item which we left behind at the apartment and which we still have not recovered from him), and each time he's avoided contact. If we call, his phone will be out of service. If we email, his computer will be down. Naturally, this failed to inspire a great deal of confidence in him, but whatever, it's his right not to want to talk to us if he doesn't want to. (Just because it's relevant to the issue, I'll state that since he's taken possession of the apartment we've placed a total of 4 phone calls over the last month, sent a total of 2 emails, and stopped by the apartment to knock on the door twice -- both in relation to the issue of the lost item and the issue to be explained below.)

    So, now his rent has come due, and we send him a friendly reminder email just letting him know that we'll be stopping by to pick up the check on X date. No response. On the morning when we're planning to stop by, we place a phone call. No answer. Another phone call in the afternoon when we're on our way. No response. When we show up at the apartment, we knock on the door, and there's no answer -- but there's a window (curtained) in the top half of the door, and we can see him walking around, hear him in the kitchen clattering dishes, etc. We knock a couple more times and ring the doorbell twice, but there's never any response. So, we leave him a note subtly hinting that we knew he was home, but we'll call again tomorrow in any case, and to please get in touch with us ASAP.

    This morning, we still haven't heard from him, so my fiance places a phone call. There's no response, and my fiance leaves a frustrated message saying we need the rent from him immediately, as per our agreement, since we can't really afford to pay for him to live there. Five minutes later he calls back and threatens to sue us for breach of quiet enjoyment if we contact him again. He says he does not care to speak with us, and will leave the checks outside in the mailbox for us to pick up, but we had better not knock on the door or place a call regarding the rent again.

    So, my first question is, are we in violation of some kind of agreement? We have not threatened to evict him or remove him from the premises, we've paid the utility and rent bills on time, and we've only contacted him in regard to urgent issues -- the lost item in the first case, and the rent in the second. So to me, it seems that we've been quite reasonable -- but maybe not.

    Alright, here's where it gets complicated...

    As I said, we've been able to see into the apartment. Last time we were there, we were able to see not only him but a dog running around -- in a no pets building. I'd guess that this is the reason why he's being so combative -- he doesn't want to get in trouble for his illegal pet. But, since we're only subletting, I'm not really sure what we can do. We may be able to convince the building owner to put up with it since he's only there for a couple of months (and of course there's the possibility that it's a service animal, though I doubt it), but at the very least there will be a hefty cleaning bill when he moves out. Do we, as subletting renters, have any way of ensuring that he repays us for the wear and tear which his (probably illegal) animal is responsible?

    Thanks so much for your help in advance! This whole situation has been driving us crazy!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You need to do a couple of things, if you haven't done them already.
    Most importantly, you need to get that BUM out of your apartment fast!

    Does your lease allow you to sublet?

    If it doesn't, your subletting to this BUM can cause you problems.
    He needs to be evicted, or you will be.

    The fact that he has a pet, and your building permits "no pets", jeopardizes your leasehold.
    This guy has to go and fast.
    He's also dodging you and owes you money.
    These characters will steal anything and everything you left in your apartment.
    I hope you know WHO this creep really is, otherwise, YOUR lives could get real complicated and confused!

    Regardless of if he pays you, and he probably won't, (if you value your leasehold); you need to bring an eviction action.

    Yes, what you did, could arguably be used against you (denying him "quiet enjoyment").
    Forget him, think only of yourselves.
    Subletting isn't wise.
    It rarely ends well for the person that sublets to another.
    The reason MANY people sublet, is they have bad credit, have been evicted, or have criminal records.
    Usually, its a "hat trick", as the vast majority of these "creatures" are GUILTY of all THREE sins!
    However, let's keep this real simple for YOUR sake.

    Send him a registered letter (return receipt requested) [or a FedEx overnight letter] and post the letter on the door of the apartment.

    The letter is what is called a demand to vacate letter.

    This is a California State Courts self-help website.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/other/landtenudforms.htm

    There are many types of notices to give the tenant.
    This one fits your situation. (As I said, you may not get the rent. You do want him OUT ASAP, or you may be evicted!)

    In the interim, and to make sure HE doesn't jeopardize your tenancy, you might want to hire a lawyer.
    Why?
    Because, if you screw this up, YOUR landlord might evict you both. (He has that damn dog!)

    This website assists you with the eviction.

    http://www.fastevictionservice.com/

    Contact them for some guidance.
    Contact any attorney for an initial free consultation.


     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    When you are subletting, you are essentially the landlord.
    You indicated that you are subletting with permission, so everything should be fine.

    I suspect that the valuable item you are seeking is gone forever. If you can PROVE that it was in the residence when the new tenant came in then perhaps you could try small claims if necessary... but he will deny it was there and claim you simply lost it in your move.

    You have a bad tenant and you are in store for several months worth of headaches and likely unpaid damages when he moves out... if he moves out when required in a few months.

    If he is in violation of the lease for pets or unpaid rent then you should consider eviction. If you want, post a notice that you intend to inspect the property on a certain date and time. With notice, you may enter with or without his presence and check for the dog or evidence of it.

    The better you handle this without the assistance of YOUR landlord, the better your relationship with that landlord will be.... but when it gets down to it, it is YOUR landlord's property, so if things are getting bad you should keep that person in the loop.
     

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