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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38182
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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Tenants rights with landlord lock out due for no other

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Tenants rights with landlord lock out due for no other reason than mold was discovered inside
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: CA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: nothing filed - reported as far as to whom? Authorities?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, CA Law - Tennant - Mold - Lockout A leak came from the upstairs unit = when the landlord opened the cabinet there was evidence of black mold. The landlord took my sept rent and out my daughter and I in a hotel. 2 days later they informed me that they were going to terminate my lease - sent me my sept check back which I haven't cashed, put a lock on the door and told my daughter and I that they would pay for the hotel for 5 more days and then from there we were on our own, Same day they changed the locks and put a lock box on my door with 90% of my belongings inside. I believe they locked it down because there was mold.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by JustAnswer. If you have requested a phone call with an attorney, your request will post to other experts that do offer this service. When another attorney accepts your request you will get additional instructions.

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This is an illegal eviction and you have the right to call a locksmith and the police and have them meet you there at the property so you can regain entry. The landlord has no legal right to lock you out, even if there is mold, and has a legal obligation to pay for any temporary housing for you until repairs are made so you can move back in.

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They don't get to terminate the lease and lock you out and you can also sue the landlord in small claims court for up to $10,000 for the illegal lockout. Judges tend to be very hard on landlords who engage in these illegal actions.

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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

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
They played us.... Cashed or check knowing what their next steps were. 90% of everything we own is in our home of 13 years. Their lawyer states they have the right to possess. Basically - you are out. They have made rediculous offers but they are all conditional of signing off liability. When I demanded that they return my keys, they said my lease was terminated. When I demanded enterance, they stated it was inhabitable and some of the rooms were under construction. This was 9/13. 9/18 they send a letter stating that our property has been abandoned. In between the 13th and the 18th I took a loan out and bought beds, dressers, couch, table, tv for my daughter and I - I secured a apartment 9/17 - needed household items. 9/18 they state we can claim our property. Last night I wrote a letter and said - We demand enterance today and I wanted the keys. They said they would not give the keys and gave us a very small window of time beginning Sunday. There has been no eviction and I have paid my rent on time for 13 years. I want to take the locks off but I am affraid I will get in trouble. I also have now assumed $750/month in rent and had to sign a 12 month lease. In California can we go back and change the locks and not get in trouble?
Customer: replied 26 days ago.
are you calling me or are we typing still?

Those phone call offers are not generated by me, but rather by the JustAnswer website. I do not participate in the phone call program for the site and limit my interaction with customers only to the website because I like to have time to think about a customer’s question and research it so I can provide the best answer possible in writing.

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However, if you have requested a phone call with an attorney, your request will post to other experts that do offer this service. When another attorney accepts your request you will get additional instructions.

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I am more than happy to continue on the website though..

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
I want to talk - Be right back grabbing somehting

In California can we go back and change the locks and not get in trouble?

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You haven't been legally evicted, so yes, you have the right to legal possession. That is why I mentioned calling a locksmith and regaining entry with a police escort. The landlord has to property terminate your tenancy if they want you out, not just change the locks...that is illegal and gives you a rock solid cause of action to sue them..

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thanks

Barrister

Even if you just had a locksmith out to change the locks, the landlord can do nothing...you can't break into your own legal dwelling..

Rather...you can't be considered to be illegally breaking into your own dwelling... you have a right to use and occupancy

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
The pain and suffering beyond loss of usage, additional expenses, relocation has been overwhelming while trying to hold my job down. SO the latest thing they sent us was notice of right to reclaim abandoned property. We were locked out... Not only did she lock us out but she changed the utilities out of my name and back into hers without my knowledge or consent. I tried to file a liability claim agains their state farm policy and the insured stated he did not want a liability claim placed against them so State farm refused to even hear my case. So lock out - no assistance and then blocked us again. Thoughts

Yes, regain entry, then the next day, go to the local courthouse and file a $10,000 small claims lawsuit against them for breach of contract, conversion of your personal property, and illegal eviction.

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
If I go to small claims court will that eliminate the option of suing for a larger amount as my damages in household goods are at least 30K?

It very well might if the judge were to feel that all your claims should have been heard at once....the illegal eviction, the conversion, and the breach of contract.

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So if you have damages that high, you would want to hire a local attorney to represent you and sue in a higher court and even add in the additional costs for higher rent, eating out, etc. that you incur..

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And I would also contact the state Dept of Insurance and file a formal complaint against the landlord's insurer for "unfair claims practices" if they refuse to even entertain a claim filed by you.. The DOI can lean on them and threaten them if they don't open a claim.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Do you know any good attorneys in Orange County CA that will take the case on contingency? I think we have a very good case. I think the mold clause in the insurance carrier is a glitch but the initial damage was from water from the upstairs tennant and then the liability went to the landlord based on his actions and neglegence to protect my property and then everything they did in addition to just multiplied the expenses and suffering. If in fact we have been breathing mold for a period of time, there is also potential health risks for my daughter and i in the future. Thoughts?

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need local counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

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And if you had health issues that could be tied to the mold, you may have a personal injury case against the landlord as well..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Whole thing is terrible. Thank you Barrister - A lot of energy and they know it. My daughter has been devastated.

I can only imagine how difficult this has been and their response is just almost textbook what not to do...

barristerinky and 2 other Landlord-Tenant Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Thanks

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time. I hope everything works out for you and you get some justice here..

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

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All the best to you and yours

Barrister