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Violation of tenet privacy and inspection rights

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Trivius, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. Trivius

    Trivius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Recently, I found our complex's maintenance worker on a ladder looking through the little windows along the top of our closed garage door--our landlord/complex owner has been sending notices about using garages as storage areas rather than parking spaces and stating there would be inspections in the near future.

    Am I correct in asserting this was a violation of CA law regarding providing 72-notice prior to non-emergent inspections, as well as my right to opt to be present during the inspection; furthermore asserting that a closed garage establishes a right of privacy (I tried searching case law on this, but was not able to find anything that was really applicable to this situation)? Similarly, to the employees of the complex peeking through skylights, closed shutters, blinds or curtains? ...Realizing that this would for all intentions qualify as an inspection.

    TIA
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Nope, dead wrong. There is no 72 hour notice requirement in the CA landlord tenant statute.

    Read Section 1954 at:

    CA Codes (civ:1940-1954.1)

    Note that it only applies to "entry" into the dwelling unit and not to inspections that occur outside, or from outside, the dwelling.

    In your case the LL had no obligation at all to notify you in advance of the garage inspection that was accomplished by looking through the garage door window and no, you have no right of privacy when the inside of your garage can be see by looking through the garage door window.

    If you want garage privacy so badly, put up window tinting that is opaque from the outside or curtains that you can close across the windows.

    Then the landlord would have to give you 24 hrs notice for entry into the garage for inspection purposes.

    Anything inside that can be viewed from the outside is fair game.

    Inspection yes, entry no. The statute is specific about applying to "entry."

    Oh, if you own the dwelling, then the L-T statute doesn't apply to you at all. It would be the CC&Rs of your HOA that apply.
     
  3. Trivius

    Trivius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    (Oh okay, it is 24-hours, not 72.)

    I would then remind you of the following concerns:

    In CA an attached garage is considered apart of the dwelling, i.e., it is a felony to enter a garage and steal from it even when the door has been left open.

    The windows on the door are above the visual line unless you happen to be about 8-feet tall (an extreme rarity in nature), thereby there is an expectation of privacy established, just as the fence-line does in your backyard, e.g., if you desire to bathe nude in your enclosed backyard you are not violating public nudity laws (regardless as to how nosy you neighbors may be or if you get caught by Google Earth), as you otherwise would if bathing nude in your front yard.

    The looking through of windows out of the normal field of view and still further with the intention of inspecting the interior qualifies as "an entry" so stipulated by the statute, first requiring that proper notice be serviced.

    Further still, the action of getting on a ladder to look through high up windows is a "right of access" violation as per subsection (c): "The landlord may not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant." Complex employees simply have no other reasonable purpose to carry around ladders peering through the upper windows of their tenets.

    The statute does make a point as to "the reason for the entry", as an entry can very well be a physical presence entry, it can just as well be a visual entry, or an audible entry, or a scent entry, or a feel entry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  4. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    A tenet is a belief or principle. A tenet has no rights.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    OK.

    That has nothing to do with your situation as nobody is "entering" your garage or stealing anything from within.

    Well, there's the Na'vi on Pandora. (Sorry, just re-watched Avatar and you gave me the opening.)

    Again, that has nothing to do with your garage situation, especially if you are sunbathing in the nude in your back yard and have a chain link fence. If your neighbor sits back there watching you or even photographing you, you have no beef.

    Kindly, stick to the topic of YOUR GARAGE and not throw in meaningless "apples to oranges" comments.

    Uh, you got proper notice. Earlier you alluded to management sending out notices about potential inspections of garages coming up. That's proper notice assuming that the notices were sent out at least 24 hours in advance.

    There's where we disagree. The statute addresses entry. There was no entry into your garage.
     
  6. Trivius

    Trivius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Principal? Your response makes no sense, of course tenets have rights, established under both common, contract, and tort laws.
     
  7. Trivius

    Trivius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, it establishes the garage as part and parcel to the dwelling itself, you are trying to make the argument that it is external to the residence so it is disqualified for that reason.

    And yes, an intended visual entry was made for the purpose of conducting an inspection of the garage.



    A chain-link fence does not establish a privacy boundary, a closed garage door does, it is the difference between a wide open window or door and a closed off window or door.

    My comparison was not apples to oranges; however, yours is.


    There was not any stated date and time, it was a blanket notice send to all tenets, nothing that the event would occur some time in the coming weeks or month, and nor were we contacted at our residence for the inspection at the time, to grant access, it was merely a maintenance working driving around from garage to garage on a golf cart with a ladder.

    There is the matter of entry and right of access, does the landlord have the right to climb on ladders to peek through windows without prior notice, and does not entry also consider a visual entry into the dwelling?

    Apropos, if I did this as a private party along a public easement, climbing a ladder to look into a window of a private residence or office not publicly accessible, would this not be considered an act of trespass?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes. But that also has nothing to do with your situation.

    I can see that there is no way you are accepting anything I'm saying so I suggest you handle the community management your way and see how it goes.

    Thread closed.
     

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