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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35853
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I am a tenant who is having issues with my landlord. We have

Customer Question

I am a tenant who is having issues with my landlord.
We have been renting since Jan 1st, in late May there was a leak in one of the bathrooms. The landlord attempted to fix the leak by bringing in dryers, that caused our electric bill to spike from normal $250-300 to over $500 more. We told our landlord about this. She said she would help us with the cost due to the dryers. In waiting for her help the next Sdge bill that came was just as high. $500-700. I contacted our electric company and they could not figure out why it was so high. We have done nothing different since our move in, we do not have air condition. July was the same. I spend many days on the phone either the electric company trying to figure out why all of a sudden since this leak our bill was so high. I informed our landlord again and asked for her help to figure out why this was happening. She freaked out. She stated blaming the children for the leak, said she would not pay out bill and we should be happy she didn't charge us for repairs for the other leak. Eventually Sdge suggested it might be the pool. I shut it off from the breaker and our electric went back down. So conclusion something is wrong with the pool pump. I again informed our landlord and she told me the pump is new and there is no issue. I sent her our usage from before the leak, durning the leak, and after I shut off the pool. She started ignoring our emails, text, and phone calls. She ended up getting a properity manager who we deal with now. Long story short now, she threatens us with eviction so we informed the property manager we would leave there was no reason for that ugly process. She has told the property manager she plans on not giving us back our full deposit, finding everything wrong with the home to do so. She also told the property manager our dog but the pool man so he couldn't service the pool. He called the pool man today to find out of that was true and it was not. From there is has spiraled down. I have emails and text, Sdge records all documentation showing the issues. She has had the property manage put a lock on the pool pump and also tried to put a lock on the fuse box, I have photos and video. We are not going to live day by day wondering if she is going to threaten with eviction or if she's going to be ok. We have never been late on rent. We are good tenants. Any advice would be great full
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Great and thank you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Not sure if I'm not seeing the response or if you haven't given one yet
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

If the electric was spiking due to the leak initially and you didn't cause it, then that increase is damages that the landlord owes you due to her negligence in not maintaining her property. The pool pump is the same issue...if it was malfunctioning and running too much or constantly and it spiked your electric bill, then that again is damages that you can hold her liable for in a small claims court lawsuit for breach of contract.

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As for eviction, if you are under a fixed term lease, the landlord can't evict you simply because she has had to deal with the problems of being a landlord. There has to be a specific lease violation for her to be able to terminate.

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But if you are month to month, then either party can terminate with a written 30 day notice..

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As for the locks...there is nothing that would make her putting a lock on those things illegal or a violation of your lease rights. It could present a problem if emergency access was required though..

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So as it stands right now, your recourse is to sue her for breach in small claims court for the increased costs of electric. But as for the deposit, you can't do anything about that until the tenancy ends and she improperly withholds some portion of it. If so, then you can sue her again for up to 3X the amount improperly withheld..

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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