Monday, May 01, 2006

Does anyone know tenant laws in LA?

My landlady must go. Or I must. I have never hated a landlord/manager like this one. I've lived in many apartments over the years, so I have some experience.
I've was annoyed at Stephen, the building manager who was all up in my grill and read my paper before I got to it, and "rented" a two bedroom apartment to his boyfriend for use as a design studio, but I didn't hate him. Lucille's son gave me the creeps, but he was handy with a wrench so I didn't hate him. And the couple who rented out the house to four unacquainted girls then was surprised when there were personality clashes? No hate. But this lady? Frau Ripoff? HATRED ABOUNDS.

Her latest stunt? In my annual rent increase letter, she is demanding an additional $200 to increase the security deposit because when I moved in, seven years ago, the security deposit was considerably less than the current rent. She was not the owner then and the rent was cheaper.
Can she do this?? Does anyone out there know the law? Because I am pretty sure that she has no intention of giving me back my security deposit anyway, regardless of how pristine I leave that apartment. Why should I give her an extra $200 that I'm not going to get back.

And if she can legally do this, I'm moving. Yes, my rent is unbelievably cheap. Yes, it's a cute apartment. I would just rather give that $200 (and more) to a landlord that I'll like, who won't have a problem with a water filter, who won't let workmen slop spackle all over my apartment, who won't tell me to "unplug the stove before the codes inspector gets here or I'll charge you the fine," who doesn't smell like Powder Fresh Carefree Pantiliners, who won't accuse me of hiding a second bathroom, who won't accuse me of having a leak in my bathroom that doesn't exist, who is genuinely pleasant to deal with and who will most certainly NOT BE HER!

So, seriously, if you know the laws or have a friend who does, I need some legal advice.
Cheap rent is not worth dealing with this woman.

3 comments:

Hanuman1960 said...

She thinks that you're "hiding" a spare bathroom? In the apartment that she's renting to you?!!

I think that it's time to move....

Sachi said...

I'm sorry to say, dear, that she can indeed do this. Especially if you'd signed a "1-year" lease more than 2 years ago. (I'm sorry... is my property manager geekiness showing?)

As for getting your security deposit back, that's where the law is on your side. Get an independent assessment when you are ready to move out. She can't charge you for wear and tear. She can't charge you to replace the carpet, shampoo the carpet, paint the walls; nothing. Do a quick web search on tenant's rights on the web and print out the pamphlet for the state of California. There's great info in there.

You would need to have a general contractor who is experienced in tenant improvements (retail) and it would cost you about $80. But they would independently verify that there's nothing more than regular wear and tear. It also helps if, as you're moving out, you write a letter, enclosing photos (sent via certified mail) that says things like "I understand that, per section X of the California blahdy blah code, paragraphs 3-6, after 3 years of occupancy, carpet replacement cannot be deducted from my security deposit" and just go through everything like that.

Do EVERYTHING that might be wrong with your apartment. There might even be a law that says they have to repaint for new tenants and therefore can't charge you for it.

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