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Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I live in an apartment in the state of California, in the county

Customer Question

I live in an apartment in the state of California, in the county of Santa Clara. It is a luxury apartment complex in the heart of the Silicon Valley. I am almost at the end of my lease and will be moving to a different complex at that time, if not before.

I have a serious mold issue in my complex which initially was not recognized by the complex staff and was, therefore, treated without using generally accepted clean-up procedures. This has posed a health risk to me and at the height of my exposure I suffered severe asthma attacks that did not respond to home treatment requiring me to seek medical attention, allergic reations, personal property damage, and mental/emotional distress also requiring to seek medical attention. The complex now is working more diligently to rectify the situation. I have been registered in a hotel and will be staying there until my apartment is habitable. The complex has given me a per diem living allowance. The allowance, however, does to address all of the issues regarding my temporary displacement and I, therefore, have the following main questions:

First, is it reasonable to ask the apartment complex to also reimburse me for transportation expenses. They initially said they would but the complex manager later recanted indicating that she was merely offering up an opinion and had no authority to give me offical direction or make any commitments on behalf of the corporation. I expressed that I incured expenses in good faith based on my conversations with and direction from her. I have escalated this to her manager who is staying firm on their inability to compensate me for transportation. All I am asking for is that they reimburse me for travel expense to and from the hotel and complex and to and from doctor appointments that I must attend to treat my mold exposure. This may seem like a small point but it has significant implications.

Second, they will not reimburse me for any doctor visits that are in direct corrilation to the mold exposure. No co-pay, no medicine, nothing.

Third, it is important to note that evenually they recognized that they had a serious issue on their hands and are working with me to help me stay safe during the clean-up process. However, the living allowance does not address all living decisions that I must make as a result of my displacement. As an example, I had to check into a hotel with just the clothes on my back. They currently will not pay for me to have my clothes, even my soiled underwear, laundered. I have made it clear to them that I DO NOT want, nor do I expect to buy clothes for the duration of my displacement. I simply want the clothes I am currently wearing cleaned. There is another issue. I am currently at my credit limit because I have been charging hotel and other living expenses that they have approved to my credit card. I am in a situation where I have not more resources to pay for my stay at the hotel or meals. They have told me to stay at a hotel at least until next Wednesday (7-24-13). I do not know what to do at this point.

There are a lot of other issues that I face, this being only a thumbnail sketch.

I have contacted the California Code Enforcement division (7-16-13) and have opened a case with them. I have been working with my attorney who has clearly stated that this situation is out of his scope, I have asked him for a referral and he is trying to get one.

I need to know what my tenant rights are in the State of California.

I look forward to your response.

Kathleen
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. You do have recourse here obviously and the complex doesn't get to unilaterally limit the scope of your damages caused by their actions. It's not as if they are unbiased and they do not get to define the law to suit themselves. You may have to actually file suit to get your payments, but you are entitled to ALL damages caused by this problem which has breached the warranty of habitability. Not only are you entitled to any costs you incur due to this problem that you would not have incurred but for this problem, including your additional transportation, your medical costs, and your living expenses, but you are also likely to something you did not think of....a reimbursement of a portion of your rent for the period during which you lived through this. You are entitled to the safe and healthy use of your premises and since you did not due to the mold issue, you did not receive the full benefit of your rental bargain. Thus, you are entitled to a reimbursement of at least some of your rent while you lived through this before you were relocated. If they do not agree to do all this voluntarily, then engage a lawyer experienced in landlord tenant rights to pursue a suit against them. The court should also award you attorney fees if you are forced to sue. Simply filing the suit is likely to get them to comply with your demands, but if not, file the suit and the landlord will discover the landlord doesn't get to determine the law to suit themselves. :)



Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the very informative response. I have a follow-up question...


 


I have a cat. I have to unwillingly leave him in the apartment while they are cleaning-up the mold contamination. Exercising due diligence, I contacted my vet to see if it would pose an undue health risk to my cat in leaving him in the apartment. You will be happy to know that my vet said it would be okay to leave him in the apartment but that he must be monitored for any signs of distress and treated immediately should distress occur. The complex "as a courtesy to me" (their words in writing) are feeding and watering my cat AND changing his kitty litter which I greatly appreciate. However, I cannot monitor my cat from a distance and have asked them what I should do. I am waiting for a response. My question is: what are my options here and, should my cat show signs of distress, what is reasonable to ask of the apartment complex? The management team has already made it clear to me in a verbal exchange that they will not reimburse me for any cat related expenses that occur in direct relationship to the mold contamination.


 


Thanks,


 


Kathleen Jack

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome and thanks for following up. With respect to your cat, just as with you, they don't get to make up the rules. These are costs and concerns caused by a problem that is their responsibility. So, they have responsibility for whatever costs you incur to maintain the health and welfare of your pet. I have a puppy and two kitties, so I know they are as much a part of your family as children (of which I have 3). You will want to hold their feet to the fire on these pet expenses as well.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you again! As you can tell, this is a rapidly developing situation with may twists and turns. Do I rate you now or after any further questions that may develop? I would like to do what is appropriate given the services that I have contracted and paid for through network of attorneys.


 


Thanks,


 


Kathleen Jack

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
You're very welcome...it's my pleasure to help. It would be helpful to me if you would rate me now; you can always follow up in this same thread if you have additional follow up questions. :)
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 47098
Experience: 32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
Richard and 6 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Thanks so much for the positive rating and the generous bonus! I appreciate your kindness and the opportunity to serve you! If I can be of assistance to you in the future, just look me up and I will be happy to help! For easy access, my bookmark is: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legalbeacon/

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