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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33802
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I need help. My aunt and I lived on a house in CA, Tiburon,

Customer Question

I need help.
My aunt and I lived on a house in CA, Tiburon, for about 5 years. Payments were made by check or sometimes wires.
The landlord asked us to leave the house and we did. Later she finds out that 3 or 4 payments were not transfered to her account. Payments from 2 or 3 years back. I agreed to pay her and made alredy 3 payments total 2,500 dollars. At the end of the year I told her I would be making weekly payments from now own. We never settled an specific amount or time. The house belonged to her mother who passed last year in May. We never had a contract and I always negociated with the daughters. Now she keep sending me emails saying that if I dont pay her by April the whole amount the mother's trust officer will have to take me and my aunt to court.
I never disagree on paying what was not transfered, although I think she should have told us the months the amount was not transfered not at the time she asks us to leave. The mother died and they wanted to sell the house.
Anyway, could I send her a letter saying my payment schedule and ask her to stop sending me treatning emails. I honestly dont believe there is an officer wanting to sue me if this person existed, I believed they would require a rent agreement which I ofered to pay for a lawyer to draft and they never wanted to sign.
What are my rights?
Thank you so much!
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I have read your comments but I am not exactly sure what your legal question is that I can help with this afternoon?

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If you can post your legal question, I will get you an answer..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My questions are:
1- it took so long for her to realize the transfers did not go through, dont you think I can make a payment plan since now I have to pay my current rent?
2- there is no contract and I never dealt with the mother since she was in a home. I ofered a contract and never got one signed. I have the email from her dening.
3- we agreed on a plan and later I told her to keep the checks I had given her because I am going to send checks from the bank. Different amounts and timing. Never really got a yes or no answer from her.
4- can she keep treatening me every 15 days for the entire amount or her trust people will take me to court?
What could I write her to stop this and send a new plan?
Thank you so much
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

1- it took so long for her to realize the transfers did not go through, dont you think I can make a payment plan since now I have to pay my current rent?

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Should the landlord work with you on a plan?....yes. Are they legally obligated to do so?... No, it is your responsibility to make sure the rent is paid each month and the landlord can legally demand the full payment right now if they want to or immediately file suit for breach of contract.

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2- there is no contract and I never dealt with the mother since she was in a home. I ofered a contract and never got one signed. I have the email from her dening.

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You had a verbal contract with whoever rented you the property. That is still considered a legally binding month to month oral lease contract.

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3- we agreed on a plan and later I told her to keep the checks I had given her because I am going to send checks from the bank. Different amounts and timing. Never really got a yes or no answer from her.

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If you agreed on a plan in writing or even verbally, and you have complied with the terms of the agreement, then it is enforceable. But without a fixed amount that was agreed to be paid, you don't have a completed contract. You could mean you will pay $10 a week and she could mean you pay $2000 a month.. So a vague agreement to "make payments" without anything more definite wouldn't be enforceable.

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4- can she keep treatening me every 15 days for the entire amount or her trust people will take me to court?
What could I write her to stop this and send a new plan?

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Unfortunately yes, since she/the trust are the original creditors, they are not subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act restrictions on contact and can legally contact you about the debt since they have a legitimate reason for doing so.

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You could send her a letter threatening to sue her for harassment if she continues to contact you, but that may very well result in her/the trust just going ahead and filing suit against you both to sue you in court for a judgment..

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I certainly understand and I thank you for that.
So to minimize the problem, could I send her a letter with a plan and also send her the warning for harrassment? How would I word such a thing ? Very briefly but with legal arguments?
Thank you again.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

You are very welcome..

So to minimize the problem, could I send her a letter with a plan and also send her the warning for harrassment?

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Yes, you could try that, but again, it might just result in the filing suit rather than working with you at all...

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How would I word such a thing ? Very briefly but with legal arguments?

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Yes, I would state something to the effect that the constant calls are very disturbing and harassing as you realize that the money is owed and you are doing your best to resolve this with a plan that you both can agree on. Had they notified you as soon as the payments weren't received, you could have immediately remedied the problem. But after 3 years, it will take a little time to repay any missed payments due to your current financial obligations.

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But you don't really have any "legal arguments" because the landlord is within their rights to demand the full payment, even 3 years later. Presumably when the money didn't transfer, it stayed in your account so technically should have been noticed if you reviewed your accounts even every couple months as you would have seen an amount that was exactly one month's rent more than should have been in there..

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I hesitate to even mention this.....but if the debt was over 2 years old and there was only an oral agreement, then if you hadn't made any payment at all, there is nothing that they could have done since the statute of limitations on an oral contract in CA is only 2 years... But when you made a partial payment, you reset the SOL back to zero and they would then have 2 more years to come after you...

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thanks

Barrister

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