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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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Recently I had been approved apartment until my previous

Customer Question

Recently I had been approved for an apartment until my previous landlord/property manager lied on a rental verification form and said I was evicted. I have email proof that I was approved until this happened. After being forced to show proof to my perspective landlord…My previous landlord/property manager recanted this statement over the phone but not in writing. He also told my perspective apartments that I had a last month’s rent balance despite the fact that I paid last month’s rent and a deposit before I moved in. The ledger he sent me proves that I did in fact pay last month’s rent for which he was informing the perspective landlord that I was liable. He then recanted THAT story and told Becca Patton an employee with the new apartments on Saturday May 23rd 2015 via phone that I only owed them just over $100 because my $1150 deposit did not cover all of the damages. So I agreed to pay that. Then on Monday May 25th 2015 he went back to his original statement saying I owed the full last month’s rent. I don’t know the proper legal vernacular for what my previous landlord/property manager did but I do know for a fact that he lied on a legal document causing me to lose out on an apartment that I had already been approved for. Do I have a legal case against them and what actions can I take?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
The landlord/manager has committed libel (a written defamatory statement - a statement that is false), it has caused you actual damage (loss of the ability to rent the specific unit).While you can sue them in small claims court over this, it may be worthwhile to simply send them a written letter (via USPS and email) demanding a clean rental statement from them (that you can then provide to your prospective landlords in the future), and assurances that they will provide the same letter if requested, along with accompanying verbal confirmation if necessary.If they don't comply, then you can consider whether or not it is worth filing suit.(For help with how to phrase your demand letter, see this link: http://practice.findlaw.com/practice-guide/ten-tips-for-writing-an-effective-demand-letter.html).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry William I guess I wasn't as specific as I should've been. I know what libel is. My question was what recourse do I have because they knowingly lied? I sent them an email asking them to clear this up. They refused and started to screen my calls and refused to respond to my emails. Sending them a letter so they can simply ignore it is not the advice I was looking for. It's actually more wasted time on a company that has dug in and stuck to their lies. I wish it was as simple as sending a letter or email because I would be in my apartment and not seeking legal advice. They lied on the original document, they kept lying and it cost me a place to stay. What recourse do I have?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
You can go ahead and file your lawsuit for libel.
However, it is likely that you need to move faster to get a resolution here (if this is continuing to hold up your ability to get a new apartment). So I would recommend contacting your local bar association and asking for referrals to local landlord/tenant mediators. While they may be content ignoring your phone calls, a third party neutral can help you by contacting them and setting up a mediation (usually a very short session) and get them to come to a reasonable agreement here (again - you need something fast as opposed to getting a money damages award, so that is your trade off), and hopefully they will be willing to work with you.
Your local bar association should be able to give you a couple of good referrals.