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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 111550
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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San Francisco has a rent control arbitration board where

Customer Question

San Francisco has a rent control arbitration board where disputes between landlords and tenants can be brought and end in binding arbitration - - my extant situation was that I was illegally evicted by a speculator stating that I was not living in my unit when she bought the building which gave her legal rights to evict me with a 30 day notice - - the reason I was not living there is because the place was filled with mold and I was not paying rent which my landlord's management company went along with. I asked them to come out to evaluate a number of times - - they came out but never did anything. When the building was sold and the new owner began their eviction it was my claim that I was not living there because of the mold. Because there is no subpoena power in this quasi legal arbitration I could not subpoena those parties that were aware of the mold and the non remediation of that mold so I had to move out. The legal theory I am trying to find to use is one that accomodates the failure of the former landlord and former management company to answer my pleas for their testimony and documentation. I would have fought the eviction but there were hazards of losing without the corroboration of these other parties. I received a little money but a fraction of what the opportunity cost was to give up my premises. Are there any remedies I can use in this situation against the former landlord and the former management company. And if there are what are the statutes of limitation for those remedies and since the property was in San Francisco what would be the jurisdiction for the filing of the lawsuit ? Thank You.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you have proof that you gave notice to the old owner that they were in breach of contract. The landlord has a duty to the tenant to provide a habitable premises and if there is mold and the premises is not habitable then the landlord evicting a tenant when the landlord was in breach of the lease is grounds to appeal and file a petition to vacate the eviction and also sue the landlord for the breach of the lease for damages for not providing a habitable premises. Even if there was a new owner, they took the premises subject to the actions of their previous owner as they are a successor in title to the property, so the new landlord would be liable still for the conduct of the prior landlord in breaching the lease.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks. It's tricky in that the new landlord did not charge me rent until the unhabitable conditions were remediated by her and then started charging us the same rent I was paying under the old landlord. The rub is that the new landlord right away challenged me stating that I was not living in the unit when they bought the property and under SF rent control law an uninhabited unit is not eligible for rent control and therefore she said she could raise the rent through the roof to market which would have been $2,500 to $3,000 per month up from the $1,200 I was paying. I tried very hard to enlist the former landlord and their property management company to provide ample proof of the existing mold and uninhabitablity but they shunned me and would not cooperate. As I stated there is no subpoena power in actions taking place under the rent arbitration board. So I had a choice fight it and have an abitrator rule in favor of the new landlord and get a rent hike I could not afford or accept a small buyout from the landlord for me to go quietly. So the party that put me in this situation is my former landlord and their management company. I want to sue somebody for damages.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for the additional information.
It is not really tricky, it was smart in that they knew their duty to you and as such they satisfied their obligation by not charging rent which would take away your claim of breach of lease. However, even if she was not charging rent, what she fails to consider is mold means the place is not fit to live in so you could not be living there whether she charged you rent or not and that is good cause for you to not be living there until it was fixed and it is NOT abandonment as she claims.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Are there no legal remedies against the parties that refused to offer information bolstering my case ? What jurisdiction would I file suit in ?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
There is no duty on any party to offer information to you to bolster your case. Your case is against the landlord in the court where your property you were renting was located.

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