Landlord-Tenant

Ask a landlord-tenant lawyer and get answers ASAP

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Our landlord after we moved out found that there was water…

Customer Question
Our landlord after we moved...
Our landlord after we moved out found that there was water damage from a leaking pipe behind a wall, this apartment had been flooded prior to us moving in, and had much work done, additionally, the neighbors also experienced such problems. We also notified him that we saw termites. He has now threatened to sue us for thousands of dollars. We paid a large deposit and were excellent tenants and don't want to be sued, but we don't want to pay him thousands of dollars that we are confident we don't owe. Any direction is appreciated.
Best regards,
Jon Margrave
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Answered in 1 minute by:
3/7/2016
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Hi Jon,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

What state are you in? Was there any evidence to alert you to the leaking pipe while you were living there?

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
California,
And no, there was not evidence to alert us to the leaking pipe. I have the owners letter to us at home I can get and scan in this afternoon if that helps, along with our responses to him
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I believe he is trying to extract money from us, he has been a hands off landlord and his demand for funds was totally unexpected. He told our neighbor that we left the apartment in better shape than any of his other tenants. We also did upgrades to the dirt yard by bricking it in.
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago

Thank you.

Under California law, a landlord may only deduct from a tenant's deposit for unpaid rent at the time of leaving and actual damage to the apartment. A tenant is not responsible for things that just happen to break while the tenant is living there, or reasonable wear and tear. That means that your landlord has no legal right to keep your deposit for the leaking pipe. I understand that he could try to sue you and you don't want that, but if he does, you can countersue for the entire deposit that he withheld.

On top of that, when a landlord withholds a tenant's deposit in bad faith, the tenant is allowed to sue for TWICE the deposit as a penalty, meaning that if you go to court, you can get three times what you initially paid. Cal. Civ. Code, Section 1950.5. If you send the landlord a copy of that statute along with a demand for the return of your deposit, it's possible that he'll see the wisdom is NOT pursuing you for the damage caused by the leaky pipe.

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago

He's supposed to have sent you a written, itemized statement of deductions from your deposit within 21 days after you vacate. If he didn't do that, it's further evidence of bad faith and makes it even more likely that a judge would rule in your favor. The fact that he told others how nice the apartment looked when you left should count in your favor, because you can call those people in to testify if necessary.

You don't have to give the landlord warning before you sue. You could choose to go to the local Small Claims Court and sue for 3x the deposit on the twenty-second day after you move out. But if your primary goal is not to get sued, it may help to send a letter first.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Here is an email exchange we had with Shawn, our landlord, I also have his itemized list of stuff he had to repair, other than worn carpeting after 4 years, we were unaware of any issues with the apartment. Your help is appreciated.$200 per month starting March 2016 until the entire amount plus interest is paid.If we sign an agreement today, I will not proceed with Court Action.I have attached the agreement form to be signed by you and returned no later than today.Shawn Makanvand--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: "*****@******.***"
To:***@******.***
Sent: Monday, 7 March 2016, 8:30
Subject: Re:Hi Shawn,We were not aware of any water damage upstairs, and we visited with the new tenants after they moved in during January. We don't have money for a court battle which we suspect we would win. We will agree to some form of payment plan if you agree to drop any court actions on us. This seems very unfair, but you have us at a disadvantage as we are broke.Let me know how you want to proceed.Jon-----Original Message-----
From: Shawn makanvand
To: jdmargrave
Sent: Sun, Mar 6, 2016 7:12 pm
Subject: Re:Your email makes no sense whatsoever.the vanity with water damage during your stay was upstairs. The previous water damage was all downstairs. The previous water damage was 100% mitigated before you moved in.The new tenants did not move in until early February 2016.I am proceeding with filing Court papers. I will accept a payment plan until the entire bill is paid off plus interest. Any Court and legal filing fees will be added to your bill.Shawn--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: "*****@******.***"
To:***@******.***
Sent: Sunday, 6 March 2016, 18:58
Subject:
Shawn,I have been reviewing your letter, it is mistaken on the facts. When we moved in, the place had just had major water damage repaired and done much damage to the neighbors next door unit, you stated there was water and mold damage, we were unaware of this and suspect it was due to a poor job on the original work done for the significant water damage that had previously occurred. Additionally, the neighbors next door on the other side also had a water leak that we were told about when we visited the area to see some friends after we moved out on January 11th. We were unaware of any leak or mold, and are not culpable for this. As for the termites, we notified you as soon as we discovered them, I do not see how this is our responsibility as a renter, we would have welcomed a termite inspection at anytime you desired.We visited the neighbors, and while talking to you, you told Vera Rudello that we had left the apartment in better condition than any of your other tenants.I have read the lease and I don’t see how we can be liable for defects in your building that we were unaware of, particularly with its history of problems, and the other neighbor’s water problems. We would like to resolve this without going to court, but we feel strongly that you are trying to take advantage of us after we were excellent tenants for a number of years.We took good care of your apartment and made many upgrades to the yard. The condition we left it in was as good as when we moved in. We agree that the inexpensive carpet wore quickly, and that the paint was poorly done. We were good tenants that paid you nearly $100,000.00 in rent, now we are struggling and have no money. We do not want to go to court because we cannot afford it, and would be willing to pay you $200.00 to prevent any further action. We did good by you and would like you to do good by us. We have no desire to end up in court as we will soon be moving to Indiana. We honestly believe that we owe you nothing and should receive a refund from you, and we also believe we were great tenants and frankly, you should accept our deposit(s) and money we spent on your place including paying the utilities for 21 days after we moved out, and paying rent while a new tenant was already living there without any further request for money.We ask for your fair response.Thank you,Jon and Brenda Margrave
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago

I'm sorry, but we're not able to review documentation and provide commentary. That would require hiring a local attorney and paying an hourly lawyer's fee. Do you have a specific question about your rights and obligations or about any of the information I provided?

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your time, I suspect I will need to pay this person or try to find a local lawyer. I appreciate your feedback.
Best regards,
Jon Margrave
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago

Did you read my response? Because I feel that it was quite clear that you do NOT have to pay him.

Not only that, you can sue him for A LOT OF MONEY. If that did not come through to you, please let me know so I can help clarify.

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago

If your #1 concern is to not be sued, then you have the ability to pay him, write "under protest" on the check, and then sue for a full refund of what you paid PLUS three times your security deposit. You do not need a lawyer to sue, and you do not need to pay an unscrupulous landlord for things the statute has made quite clear are not your obligation.

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
32,264 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Attorney

Lucy, Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Thomas McJD

Thomas McJD

Lawyer

46 satisfied customers

Landlord-Tenant Law Expert

LegalWiseNC

LegalWiseNC

Attorney

0 satisfied customers

Licensed Attorney in North Carolina.

barristerinky

barristerinky

Attorney

4,430 satisfied customers

Attorney over 17 years, landlord 26 years

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

2,264 satisfied customers

Experience representing landlords and tenants.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

1,379 satisfied customers

Licensed in multiple jurisdictions. Experienced Landlord-Tenant attorney.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

1,295 satisfied customers

Attorney

LawTalk

LawTalk

Attorney

1,055 satisfied customers

I have handled Real Estate and Landlord Tenant matters for more than two decades.

< Previous | Next >

Related Landlord-Tenant Questions
I am a tenant and my studio apartment flooded last Thursday,
I am a tenant and my studio apartment flooded last Thursday, August 2nd due to a slow water leak in my next door neighbor's apartment. The landlord fixed the water leak on Saturday, August 4th, but ha… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
> I live in Texas. I have lived in my apartment since April
Hi> I live in Texas. I have lived in my apartment since April of 2016. Since that time I have complained about small little black bugs (hate bugs). They have never gone away and I have gassed me an… read more
DamienJD
DamienJD
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,404 satisfied customers
PA** tenants recently moved into our property and they note
PA** tenants recently moved into our property and they note that the fridge icemaker doesn't work and that there is moisture coming from the walls of the old fieldstone foundation. it doesn't flood in… read more
Tower Grove Lawyer
Tower Grove Lawyer
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
283 satisfied customers
I'm a tenant. When my laundry was done, there was a puddle
Hello I'm a tenant. When my laundry was done, there was a puddle of water outside of my condo to the hallway. I didn't noticed because there was no overflow inside. Is this my negligence? Shirley… read more
barristerinky
barristerinky
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,430 satisfied customers
I have leak in unit I'm renting and it is somewhere inside
I have leak in unit I'm renting and it is somewhere inside wall pipes behind water heater and a/c handler, so order to pin point where leak is all this have to remove. I notified tenant about finding … read more
Irwin Law
Irwin Law
Juris Doctor JD
7,187 satisfied customers
My tenant she want deduct 4/5 days from the rent because the
My tenant she want deduct 4/5 days from the rent because the ceiling of the bathroom was leaking and basically she decise not living in the apt days repai.r The leaking was part of a problem of the bu… read more
barristerinky
barristerinky
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,430 satisfied customers
Our tenants were given 30-day notice to terminate month-to-month
Our tenants were given 30-day notice to terminate month-to-month tenancy by tomorrow Sept. 6 due to catastrophic plumbing leaks due to corroded foundation pipes. We have had to repair 4 leaks in the p… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
There was a large water leak in the walls of my apartment,
There was a large water leak in the walls of my apartment, which led to a flood in the master bedroom, laundry area, and a closet. This started Monday and was called in to the emergency maintenance li… read more
barristerinky
barristerinky
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,430 satisfied customers
I rented my son an apartment, never saw the inside just the
I rented my son an apartment, never saw the inside just the show apartment. Was guaranteed the apartment would be just as great. The day before we were due to move in the lady got to the door and said… read more
LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge
Juris Doctor
31,020 satisfied customers
My house experienced flooding almost 2 weeks ago. The landlord
My house experienced flooding almost 2 weeks ago. The landlord sent the following email to the group after the flood: Hi all, A rooter came and cleaned the pipes all the way to the main city line, the… read more
barristerinky
barristerinky
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4,430 satisfied customers
I am currently deployed. My family rents a house in Florida.
I am currently deployed. My family rents a house in Florida. The outside water spigot (for a water hose) burst on the inside of the wall of the house, where it T's into the main water line and flooded… read more
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
32,264 satisfied customers
I would like a sample letter I can send to the land lord. I
I would like a sample letter I can send to the land lord. I plan to vacate the premises this week and not pay them another dime! My next question for you is: If they take me to court for the remainder… read more
Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
Juris Doctor
1,295 satisfied customers
I live in a condo. I noticed an unusual noise coming from
I live in a condo. I noticed an unusual noise coming from the wall. I turned off the water and the noise disappeared. I called a plumber to have him look for a leak. Eventually, I went next door and a… read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,773 satisfied customers
I am a tenant. I moved in 5 days ago. since then. There has
I am a tenant. I moved in 5 days ago. since then. There has been a carbon monoxide leak (confirmed by my detector and PG&E). My girlfriend and I did experience symptoms. My central heating broke and w… read more
JB-Umphrey
JB-Umphrey
Attorney & Counselor
Juris Doctor
606 satisfied customers
My landlord is claiming that i am responsible for water damage
My landlord is claiming that i am responsible for water damage to her property, am I liable? Facts: The leak was discovered upon final inspection and was above the Dryer, it was found not in a common … read more
Law Pro
Law Pro
Doctoral Degree
19,000 satisfied customers
I am a college student and signed a rental lease since moving
I am a college student and signed a rental lease since moving in the place has flooded the pipes in the kitchen leaks they had to remove the paneling in one bed room because of water damage the place … read more
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
32,264 satisfied customers
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SUING A TENANT FOR NON-PAYMENT
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SUING A TENANT FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT AND HOLDING ON 2 UNITS? HE NEVER TURNED IN THE KEY FOR UNIT #1 HE VACATED ON FEB 11, 2012. MY MANAGER SAID HE WANTED TO REM… read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
+We have lived in a rental forapprox 4 years and the landlord
+We have lived in a rental forapprox 4 years and the landlord decidedshe wants to moveback in she gave me a verbal notice one day when she came to collect rent, never a written notice. she came to do … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x