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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I have a landlord who has done some very questionable things

Customer Question

I have a landlord who has done some very questionable things such as represent himself as someone other than the owner, has tried to keep secret where he lives although he constantly watches us through his window, assured entry to the home by way of installing non deadbolt assemblies on the doors, one where the door wouldnt engage and the other backwards so that you literally couldnt lock it. Its how he does these things, like in this example having staged it with leaving the key in the keyhole and on oue first day talking about its easier to lock it this way,blah blah. Us having bit it and for months you'd be able to simply turn the latch on walk in. Ive had a few items go missing and aftr hard searches, just had chalked up the losses to the 'unexplained' then later learn this. So this guy know when were here or not, put door knob/locks on backwards and things like this. He literally lies about everything and now I think I found a bug in the house...I came here not knowing if in fact it is, who do i call or what can i do, if anything?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

In what state is this property located in, please? Also, are you month to month or are you under a signed lease? Please advise!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In los angeles, ca. we were to sign a lease that 1st day of our tenancy. However, being that the lease was so stringent and some parts we simply didnt understand (and neither could he) because it was so poorly written(from an english grammer perspective), that we found ourselves going section by section, literally scratching stuff off and with a pen, one of writing or restating either was had been meant in the first place or just there now agreed upon and we'd each simply initial ech portion. Well by the time we were done, it looked like chicken scratch with all the hand made corrections that the owner advised us that he was going to get his asst to retype the lease with the new language as referred and he's get to us for signing. Anyway, that day never came and at his office one on something unrelated I asked him about us still needng to sign andhe told me we were good with what we had. I didnt push it either way so no, technically no signed lease or aggregate rent agreement. Im not sure I mentioned, but aside his approach of dishonesty with even non pertinent things and the errors made like placing a door ensemble on backwards, do know he has stated property management of over 20 yrs which then makes his excuses for much he does such as this, even more bizarre. Thnks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way, he was given another data stick( he claimed did one from a few months back wouldnt opened....i doubt thats true as Id check it twice on my computer) with those pix, resent pix of the pest and pix affirming the expected - there still exists a problem from of leaks in the stairwell...the pix being shot during the recent rainfall. Ive heard nothing back so despite my telling him Id reconcile what I owe upon talking to him about this, he'll play the prick and move towards eviction asap so that theres no chance of him having to address anything. Retaliation for my finally having enough of everything and advising as such, woulld be rightup his alley. Im assuming he's getting the eviction notice ready for being late on rent..only about a week and 1st time...with good reason as it should be he who is paying me back the close to 15k aready for moving in here under false pretense and straight lies. It sad as Id think being straight up lied to when I asked about important pieces of info (to me anyway) like what crime around here was, or that his bizarre questionable behavior may be reason why im missing somethings should matter...Thanks
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

As far as this landlord potentially stealing or removing things--did you ever call the police and report stolen items, or did you ever write or email him over the missed items?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No boss, after days, and given we were still in quasi unpacking mode i just thought my old age had caught up and i came up with ideas like maybe they were left in a box that was thrown out, maybe they were somewher within this place, etc. sure you know how it goes. At the time, I had no idea of the access to the house and even now I cant say if he or his did or not. But given what's he's shown, including the obvious motive to have the enteries as he did, I know its not just a rookie mistake so I think it ws fair the thought crossed my mind as i cant make sense of it...He has the keys to the house obviously. I didnt file a report because what would i say? I guess I still could but again, no forced entry, witnessed,,,,what would say. Im just using that violation of ca code on no deadbolts on any of the doors (all 3 were without) and the fact that he left us very vulnerable for something much worse...intentionally or not.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

You likely need to confront the landlord about all this. Without evidence all you have are suppositions but nothing tangible. As far as having access to your property, in theory all landlords are entitled to a right to re-enter for repairs and emergency situations, except to re-enter they are supposed to give you advance 24 hour notice. But he is not supposed to steal from you or re-enter without your permission, as that is then a trespass. You may want to consider installing cameras to see if he does enter, and then if he does, you can file suit for trespass, theft, and for value of the items taken. You can also pursue criminal charges as well.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Of course I know there's no legal basis on that alone...what I was looking for was any options on breaking lease or withholding rent on the problems he's ignoring, ie water damaged walls/likely mold. I was just giving you examples of things that havent added up (ie lying about where he lives and placing locks on backwards purposely for whatever the reason). In case you didnt know, that locks along is a violation of ca code (mandates locks and deadbolts), and the infestation which as far as im concerned, partially due to the moisture in the walls, Id think had him in violation for inhabitability. Given these were known by him as they were pre-exisitng, is there any legal basis for trying to obtain part of my paid rent back as a) I would not have moved in from the begining had this been disclosed or (b), ive had to deal and manage with these issues during tenancy,
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

You can claim 'constructive eviction' and on that basis pursue a termination of lease. But you would need to move out, and then take him to court so that the judge upholds the termination of the lease. You generally cannot withhold rent as it would be seen as non-payment. You can take the landlord to court for damages and breach of duty and for code violations, but the courts frown at rent withholding especially if you continue to reside there.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

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