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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29818
Experience:  Lawyer
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Is it legal to rent an apartment in Los Angeles without

Customer Question

Is it legal to rent an apartment in Los Angeles without showing it first?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

There is no specific law that prohibits a landlord from renting an apartment without showing first, as long as he can find a willing tenant who doesn't mind renting it sight unseen. It's up to the tenant to ensure that the apartment is up to their standards before signing a lease. The same is true of the rent - if you agreed to pay more than the price stated in the ad, that's allowed. Rent is one of the things to be negotiated before signing a lease.

With that said, there are certain things the landlord is required to do. The property must be fit for human habitation: no holes in the floors, walls, or ceilings, at least one working bathroom, no exposed electrical wiring, locks on the exterior doors, free of rodents and pests when you move in, and things like that. If the property is unliveable, you can call the city to come out and do an inspection, or you can send the landlord a written notice of his obligations under Cal. Civ. Code, Section 1941.1 and a demand that he make repairs immediately.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The landlord gave us a verbal price of $2,200.00. He did not show us the lease or the aprtment. We showed up Saturday at 9:00 a.m. - all packed up with the movers there ( at $40 per hour) only to see that the lease had been bumped up to $2,500! The we saw the apt and it was so small we couldn't fit the bed in the bed room. The management didn't show up until noon. We had to get a storage unit and move everything in to that and now have to find another place. Do we have any recourse at all? I would like to get some money back for the movers time. What can we do?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If you verbally agreed to move in without seeing the property, that's binding on you. The only way you'd be able to get any money back from the landlord is if you could prove he lied about the dimensions of the property. The best way to show that is in the ad. It's not enough if he said something like "The apartment is spacious," because that's a matter of opinion. He'd have to have said that the bedroom was a specific size and have that turn out to be untrue.

I'm unfortunately not able to call you. If another expert is available, you may get a call from one of them.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

And if you DON'T have specific evidence that the landlord lied about the property, they could actually sue you for $2,200 for February's rent. So before you file a lawsuit, you should be aware of that. The ad itself is proof, text messages, emails, etc. Anyone can testify to the conversation you had with the landlord. But you need evidence of misrepresentation to get moving fees and storage costs.