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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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Is there a charge for this service? ok. how much is the

Customer Question

Is there a charge for this service?
JA: You just pay a $5 deposit now and the rest only when you get a reply from the Lawyer. All of this is 100% satisfaction guaranteed, so you can get a refund if you're not happy for any reason.
Customer: ok. how much is the total?
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: california
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: i just have a question regarding a break lease fee charge made by the property management company to the owner of a property
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: california
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I don't want to pay monthly membership. I only want a one time service. How much will it be for a one time service?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here is the question I have. My father has a rental property and he has a property management company taking care of it. One of the tenants who signed a lease broke the lease and left after only 6 days. She claimed the place wasn't move in ready and that the property management company had workers in her unit without giving proper notice. The property management company told us that they DID give proper notice and that their attorneys told them that they are within rights. She ended up suing the property management company and won the lawsuit. Now the property management company is deducting the break lease fee of $1050 from my father's rental income. Can the property management company charge my dad for this even though it was their fault and tenant won the lawsuit because they entered unit without proper notice?
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.


This is Samuel. I am reviewing your question and I will respond here shortly. In the meantime, if you have questions about memberships, or anything in that nature, please USE this LINK and CHAT with a moderator.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Thanks. ***** management company must go to court and sue your Father to get the money they say is his fault. Though if the Management Company unilaterally made a decision without permission from their boss - your Father, then they don't have a case. But if they are taking money from the rentals they are collecting, then they are essentially stealing.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

So Your Father has two options

1 - Report the Theft to the police and have them criminal charged for the embezzlement OR

2 - File in Small Claims court to get the money ordered back.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

If he files criminal charges, a judge may also order the management to repay in restitution. And maybe your Father should consider terminating this company and looking for another management company.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The property management company made the mistake by entering the property without sufficient notice. They did not say my dad made the mistake. They, the property management company, have taken money from my dad's rental income to cover the break lease fee of $1050. They show the $1050 as being income to my dad but he never received that money. They also deducted $2700 from last months rent to cover the settlement expense which was $1999. They did not explain why they took the extra $700.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We are going to get rid of them. It looks like we have a contract with them but we signed it in Jan 2015 and it was only for a year. I asked for a recent contract and that is what they gave me.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Yes. I understand it was not under direction of your Father, as I noted. They have taken money without permission or a court order to take money and that is Embezzlement.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

My answers as stated stand true and correct. If you have others or need clarification, please let me know here. Thanks.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

If you have other questions, please post them here.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
what you are saying is that the property management company has no right to take the break lease fee from my father because the court awarded judgment to the plaintiff. Would they be entitled to collect this money from my father if the tenant did break the lease without a valid reason?
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Not unless that is part of their agreement. If there is no such agreement, then they are stealing from him. If they believe they are owed anything, they need to file a lawsuit and get a court to agree and issue a judgment for the claim. They cannot simply steal from him.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

They were sued. They lost and had to pay the tenant for behavior that apparently was unlawful. What they are stealing is what they believe your Father owes in that regard. However, they should never be taking anything without your Father's agreement.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

And so no. I suggest the money they have to pay on the lawsuit they lost was solely because of their behaviors, unless they can prove they were ordered by your Father to enter the apartment, etc without Notice.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm looking at the executed contract between my father and the management company and there is a clause in there that states Owner Responsibilities: Owner shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless broker, and all persons in broker's firm, regardless of responsibility, from all costs, expenses, suits, liabilities, damages, attorney fees and claims of every type...
Does this allow them to take the break lease fee? I don't think it does but want to hear what you think
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Well, yes, it would IF they were not negligent or broke a law. Your Father is only responsible for lawful behaviors. And so they still would need to sue him. The clause does not mean they take it without discussion- or that if your Father disagrees they simply steal it. IT does say "Regardless of Responsibly" but I suggest it does not include negligent behaviors for which they were sued and they lost.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
my dad has to sue them to get the money back. Can my dad also sue them for lost rent/income and all their fees they charged with respect to that tenant?
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. Yes, and he can file a police report for embezzlement. And yes, I suggest he can file for the lost rents, etc - it was their negligence that caused the loss.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Does he have to file a police report? Do you recommend we hire an attorney or do this on our own? Should we ask the property management company for the money back plus lost rent/fees or do we just sue them?
Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

He does not need to file a policed report. He can sue in small claims without a local attorney. Yes, I suggest, a demand letter is a good practice, though not necessary, before bringing a lawsuit. And that it should be mailed certified with a return receipt requested.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

Here is a LINK to explain the small claims process. He can forego embezzlement criminal charges and just sue, if that is what he decides to do

Expert:  Sam replied 2 months ago.

In California a Demand letter is required and it is explained here at this LINK

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