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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Landlord discovers that the tenant has falsified the rental

Customer Question

Landlord discovers that the tenant has falsified the rental application, employment, bank records, letter from previous landlord. Had friends stand in as the former landlord and employer. All fraud. Now the tenant does not want to pay rent after being there one month. I discover that the tenant's previous landlord has filed a case against him in court for unpaid rent. Is this criminal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 1 year ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer :

Hello

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. Because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with an attorney who can examine the documents in question. That said, based on your description, the answer is certainly "yes". Most obvious, I would be inclined to direct your attention to California Penal Code section 484 subd.(a).

Brandon M. :

Hello.

Customer :

what does it mean?

Brandon M. :

In short, if you get people to misrepresent your financial situation in order to obtain possession of property, or if you do half the things you just described, it constitutes theft.

Brandon M. :

Basically, this guy sounds like a real parasite. How to handle it is up to you, but I would personally act to evict as well as take all the evidence to my local law enforcement office and ask them to refer the matter to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer :

The tenant was in a current unlawful detainer with his previous landlord when he submitted his rental application. Giving a false address of his previous residency and a phony phone number to a landlord that confirmed he was a great tenant (letter from the fake landlord also) he was and that he paid on time and took great care of the place and was there for several years. All a lie because he was getting evicted and lied to get into another property. He represented himself in court. Convinced the judge that he should only have to pay half the rent (I spoke to the former landlord) he said the guy is a con artist. He said his wife was pregnant. He said that also...but we know think you can only be 2 months pregnant for 2 months not 5 months. His eviction started in FEB and took him until June to get him out. The tenant filed BK, so now he is worried about getting his judgment. My concern is clearly this is fraud and I prefer to take the criminal route, since this guy seems to be successful in a civil court of law. What do you think. Any thoughts of a game plan? The tenant does not know that I am on to him.

Brandon M. :

If you're interested in prosecuting, I would make a list of anyone who you have contacted that can verify this information, such as his old landlord, and any supporting documentation to your local police or sheriff's office. You can call their non-emergency number and ask to set up an appointment to explain the situation, if you prefer. Bring copies of any documentation that he provided to you as well. You can set that up tomorrow, so there would normally be no reason to delay.

Brandon M. :

In my experience, people like this are pretty sophisticated in unlawful detainer matters, and are pretty adept at making eviction difficult. The laws are very tenant-friendly, and some of these people can avoid eviction for months or longer. So it is no surprise that his last landlord started the process in February and didn't get him out until June. You can expect the same sort of problems, so just be ready for it and use an attorney if necessary.

Brandon M. :

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Brandon M.
Brandon M.
Attorney at Law
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Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.