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The owner of the property that I have leased for over 2

years (single family home) has...
The owner of the property that I have leased for over 2 years (single family home) has decided to switch property management companies for a 2% savings. I have paid my rent on time for the entire tenancy. I have never given her any problems. In fact she didn't even know my name until the switch. I was told in a text conversation that the lease terms would remain the same. That was further from the truth. In addition to that the owner told me that there would be a late fee of over $100 and the property manager told me the late fee was $75. First untruth. Late fees are not even enforceable in California.The new property management company is awful. I have not signed a lease with them as of yet. It started off with them requesting to do an inspection, then they refused to allow me to preview the lease. She finally allowed me to and it is riddled with language that goes against California Tenant Laws.I'd like to know if someone can review both leases. I have been in contact with Fair Housing. They have stated what is being done is not legal. What is my legal recourse?This system is not allowing me to upload the previous lease. It is 5.73mb and it only allows 5mb.
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
10/7/2017
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,387
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly

100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. Additionally, most people believe a phone call is the easiest and most efficient way to handle problems. Accordingly, you will receive an automatic phone call request. If you would like a phone call, please click “Accept” when prompted.

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So, to review the entire lease, we’d have to have a “premium” service to do so, which could be around $50. However, to keep it cheap for you, could you tell me what specific sections give you cause for concern with the lease

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Is it $50 per month? I just paid $54. Is that the fee?

I'm sorry. It'd be a one-time, $50 flat fee in addition to what you've paid. Also, the system will ask for a $59 phone call, but keep in mind that the $50 fee and the $59 phone call are optional. If you'd like, you can point to the things in the contract that are causing concern and I can analyze them for you for free instead of doing a full contract review.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
It's the language that was input in the contract.
Illegal issues with lease
The owner of the home is changing property management companies. However on the lease it only states the owner's name on the lease.
#1 They are asking for ANOTHER security deposit. They want me to pay $3050 on November 1, 2017#2 They are asking for a late fee, which is not enforceable in California#3 They are making me responsible for the lawn and watering it#4 She will no longer be paying the water, in the previous lease the owner was responsible for these things#4 They state that they can serve me with a 30 day notice and in California the tenant can put in a 30 day notice but the landlord has to give a 60 day notice if the tenant has been in the residence for more than a year. I've been here over 2 yeras#5 They are making me responsible for cleaning the carpet. In California carpet is considered a wear and tear item, and cannot be put in a lease.#6 It's month to month, which is a plus for me since I want to buy a house, But I'm currently on a month to month now.There may be a few other issues, but that is what I can see as of now.

Gotcha. Bear with me a moment while I review the language...

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Ok, thank you.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I'd like to know what legal language I can use in order to dispute this illegal language. I was informed by a person at Fair Housing that if there is language in a contract that it voids the entire contract. I am trying to meet with Fair Housing on Monday. I have not responded to the new property manager as of yet.

My answers are in bold.

#1 They are asking for ANOTHER security deposit. They want me to pay $3050 on November 1, 2017 This is legal, unfortunately. However, if at the end of your rental agreement, there are no damages or cleaning to be done, they have to refund the security deposit to you within 21 days. Accordingly, it would not be sensible to charge you that money only to have to return it within a few weeks each and every time. So, although this is legal, I would recommend that this deposit request is nonsensical because CA law will bind the landlord just to return the money anyway.

#2 They are asking for a late fee, which is not enforceable in California. This is not my understanding. You can charge late fees if you are a landlord in California.

#3 They are making me responsible for the lawn and watering it This is legal, unfortunately. It is not something to which you have to agree, but they also can withdraw their offer to lease you the premises as well.

#4 She will no longer be paying the water, in the previous lease the owner was responsible for these things. In a month to month agreement, the terms of the agreement can change each month. They can only stay static if you have a yearly lease.

#4 They state that they can serve me with a 30 day notice and in California the tenant can put in a 30 day notice but the landlord has to give a 60 day notice if the tenant has been in the residence for more than a year. I've been here over 2 yeras This is correct. If you have been there longer than a year, the Cal. Civil Code requires that 60 days notice be given. This is something that you should bring up.

#5 They are making me responsible for cleaning the carpet. In California carpet is considered a wear and tear item, and cannot be put in a lease. A landlord can charge a tenant a fee for cleaning the carpet. However, if the carpet is over 10 years old, the cost of replacement generally falls on the landlord.

#6 It's month to month, which is a plus for me since I want to buy a house, But I'm currently on a month to month now. THis is good in part because you can leave ASAP; however, I would check out the above issues in greater detail.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-superior-court/1010356.html
OROZCO v. CASIMIRO
www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/sec-deposit.shtml
The The landlord is allowed to deduct from the tenant's security deposit only the reasonable cost of cleaning the rental unit. Normal wear and tear to carpets, drapes and other furnishings cannot be charged against a tenant's security deposit.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
How can they charge another security deposit wen I'm already living here? I've been here for over 2 years.

If they have already charged a security deposit, but have not returned it, then they cannot charge you another security deposit. I was not aware that they had already done so. By requesting another one, they have to return your other one first, minus any damages, but that's only done when you move out of the premises. Thus, that is illegal. if you paid them additional money, it'd have to be applied to the rent.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you. In my initial statement I submitted to Just Answer, I stated that I am living in the home and the owner of the home terminated the last property management company for a 2% decrease. I have been in the home since 2015. The owner never even knew my name until she was switching. She didn't even know what I looked like. When the owner came and saw me in person, then all of this began. The conflicting statements from her and the agents began. The high late fees, the inspection every 3 months, and then this lease. All this began AFTER they saw me in person and found out that I have a child with a disability. Than all of a sudden the illegal things started occurring. How can I respond to this lease? It is illegal.

You may want to allege that they are engaging in a breach of contract in addition to a breach of basic landlord tenant laws. here’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract (click here). It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The breach of contract is able to be used even with a month to month lease?

Absolutely. Even if it was for an overnight stay, you're still in a contract with them.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Got it. Thank you for your help. Enjoy your weekend!

The pleasure is all mine! Further up on the screen you should see a chance to give me a rating. 5-stars are always appreciated, but it is definitely not required! You can also click here in the future to request me individually or you can save me as a favorite to contact me directly. Don’t forget, if you haven’t already, you can always sign up for a membership with Just Answer and start asking more questions on the cheap.

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