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24-Hour Notice To Enter Dwelling In California

On Lawyer & Legal » Real Estate & Property Law

17,940 words with 8 Comments; publish: Thu, 01 May 2008 16:29:00 GMT; (800156.25, « »)

My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: CA

Due to habitability issues we did not pay rent for one month, the landlord is, of course, trying to evict us over this and gave us an Unlawful Detainer.

We went through the Answer process and stated all the major issues (and some minor ones).

  • Small caliber bullet hole or BB hole in a large window (promised to be fixed upon signing the rental agreement, almost two years ago, never fixed).
  • MAJOR pest infestation (we're not talking five roaches walking around, we're talking HUNDREDS walking around at any given time, landlord, despite many complaints, including one in writing, hasn't done a thing about it).
  • Leaking plumbing (This they did attempt to fix, was told that a part was needed and that the landlord would be informed and that it would be dealt with, never happened, despite, again, many complaints).
  • A neighbor who (literally, sadly) beats up his kids on a daily basis, I've even had someone from the city child-welfare bureau at the door asking questions about it. Landlord is well aware (mentioned it various times, and others must have too, considering the city, at one point, was involved) of that situation.

Now, today suddenly, she is at my door WITH a repair man more or less demanding entry to fix the above issues (apart from the roaches and the neighbor). I declined, i work from home most of the time, and at this point in time I have a major deadline, so, i have to work and that requires silence.

I told her that beginning of next week would be just fine with me for them to come and do the work they need to do, to which she orally agreed.

Less than half an hour later, she is at my door again with a 24-hour notice to enter the dwelling.

The notice itself seems to be in order apart from one added note under 'point 1':

1. To make necessary/or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements. Note: Maintenance may check for other repair issues at this time.

The underlined part is what is 'extra' on the notice as compared to notices i have gotten before here and at other apartment buildings.

Is this true, CAN they actually just go through my apartment to find 'things to repair'? (I don't think the reason is to find things to repair, I think they are trying to find ammo for their eviction lawsuit.)

Can I refuse entry in any way or manner to her?

Can this somehow be used to add 'harassment' to the (long) list of issues regarding the non-payment of rent and the eviction lawsuit that exists because of it?

I ask this because I contacted some legal help (real quick, it is after all only 24-hours), and i was told:

'There is no general right in California to carry out routine inspections of the rental unit during the tenancy except as part of the "initial inspection" regarding the security deposit within two weeks prior to moving out.'

I will note regarding the above statement that point 8 on the 24-hour notice states "Routine Building Inspections & Re-Inspections" (which is not crossed off, only point 1 is).

Thanks,

Mike

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  • 8 Comments
    • Under Civil Code 1954, the landlord can enter the unit to inspect it during normal business hours, with 24 hours notice.

      You can read more about your privacy rights here.

      #1; Fri, 02 May 2008 22:15:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      And, engineer or not, i have NO clue what 'paying rent into escrow' is
      And escrow account is monies held by a third part till such time a problem is resolved, and the monies released. Attornies often hold money in escrow for their cleints.

      This is common in commercial transactions, such as buying a home, where Party A agrees to do something, if Party B pays something, but Party B does not want Party A to have the money till what what needs done is done.

      Generally, for your problem, you can approach an attorney, issue the "rent checK" to him or her to be held in escrow, and have the attorney write a letter detailing the issue to the landlord, and advising the landlord the escrow money would be released to him once the problems are fixed.

      What other technical requirements there are, if any, in your jurisdiction to do this you'll have to find out.

      And generally, if the parties are still in loggerheads, the attorney can then release the funds to be held by the court. So, if your landlord starts eviction proceedings on the basis of "he didn't receive his April rent", the court will know that they are already holding the monies. Usually, the landlord's argument that the tenant is raising the issues because she "doesn't have the money is no longer valid", since the monies is already paid, though not to the landlord.

      This procedure is normal in what is called a "rent strike" where tenants pays no rent directly to the landlord for an extended period of time, but to someone else, till repairs are made.

      #2; Wed, 07 May 2008 04:10:00 GMT
    • I've actually already paid the rent for may, so only the rent for april is missing. On top of that, we have never NOT paid the rent, albeit that we have been late a few times, but the landlord agreed to that.

      And, engineer or not, i have NO clue what 'paying rent into escrow' is I am not american born, I may live here, but born and raised in Europe.

      Thanks,

      Mike

      #3; Tue, 06 May 2008 12:50:00 GMT
    • I guess a judge will have to sort all this out.

      What I see is you originally said was:

      "Now, today suddenly, she is at my door WITH a repair man more or less demanding entry to fix the above issues (apart from the roaches and the neighbor). I declined, i work from home most of the time, and at this point in time I have a major deadline, so, i have to work and that requires silence.

      I told her that beginning of next week would be just fine with me for them to come and do the work they need to do, to which she orally agreed."

      Then in a later post you said:

      "Well, as i said, she did give me the 24-hour notice to enter the dwelling (which was between 2 pm and 4 pm yesterday), but she never showed up, or even let me know they weren't coming".

      To be honest with you, I had situations myself where I have people lined up to do something, and the tenant says "it's NO GOOD TODAY, it's got to be next week, Wednesday or Thursday". Then I'll have the workman lined up for one of those days, say at 2:00PM, he's at another job, tells me, "we're stuck here, taking longer than we thought, so you'll have to re-schedule again"!! Then I call the tenant back up, and then I get yelled at "what's the matter, you're saying appointments don't mean anything"??

      See how this can go "on and on"

      Yes, I do have tenants that insists we FOLLOW THEIR SCHEDULE, and invariably, the same thing that happened to you happened to me!! Unfortunately, when I depend on outside contractors, these guys have to make a living, and they just don't schedule their life and business around my tenant's schedules.

      Fortunately, only "one out of ten" tenants fall into this cateogory. On the other extreme. I got another "one out of four" tenants, and they're the EXACT OPPOSITE. They would tell me "you have the key, come by and fix it anytime, and if I'm not in, just make sure you're there so nothing would be taken" Even here, i also call to inform them a day ahead of time.

      I even got one guy annoyed that I would even call him for permission saying "You know you don't have to call me, and I said it many times ..."

      In this later group, I'll call up say my regular plumber. tell him I got something that needed to be done quickly, he would say "why don't I squeeze you in tomorrow morning before I go to the other job, and I'll tell this other guy I'll be an hour or two late".

      See how quickly I can get things done this way.

      As to your neighbor upstairs that doesn't clean up, I have a few tenants like that that causes roach problems. But, then again, when some these people think along the lines of what you're thinking as you said before:

      "Is this true, CAN they actually just go through my apartment to find 'things to repair'? (I don't think the reason is to find things to repair, I think they are trying to find ammo for their eviction lawsuit.)"

      So, when other tenants complain about roach problems, I can only say to them, "this guy upstairs says he's got rights, and he says I can't just go in there looking for a roach problem". Yes, tenants with illegal pets, illegal roommates, growing mariguana would not want a LL coming through, even if they have a roach problem.

      See what I mean.

      What I'm saying here is the easier and faster it is for the LL to get things fixed, the better it is all around.

      And then, I had situations where I try to have an exterminator come and spray the whole building, and find a day for him to come is good for one tenant, but is absolutley bad for another tenant. And these guys tell me it's best to do it all at once, otherwise, the roaches would just run out of one place to another.

      What would you do??

      #4; Sun, 04 May 2008 05:49:00 GMT
    • Well, my situation is a bit different I think, since i do work from home (and as a freelancer, doing work = income), i cannot just last minute drop whatever i am doing, i MUST make deadlines, if i don't, i make less income.

      She already tried to screw me with the 24-hour notice, and then doesn't even show up (I didn't get into any 'hard' work because i was waiting for her and the maintenance dude, and that, obviously, costs me money).

      As far as the repairs go, sure, i can't wait for them to FINALLY fix my issues but i do expect a little notice before they show up.

      As for the 'not going through my things', well, most of my work is for the defense sector, and as thus, a lot of it is classified to some degree.

      We've lived here for almost two years, and the broken window with the hole in it is actually stated in the lease as something they'd fix asap after we moved in. In other words, we've been waiting a LONG time by now.

      As much as i can see the reluctance on the side of the landlord to replace a VERY large and probably VERY expensive window, it STILL needs to be done IMHO.

      The exterminator comes one day out of the month, every first tuesday, so convinient or not, I am stuck with that. Pretty much a non-issue time-wise as I know that well ahead of time, it is an issue with the cat, not easy to just 'get the cat out of the apartment for a while', we actually pay rent for the cat, plus a fairly large increase on the deposit as well, so it's not 'illegal' for us to have a cat here.

      Point in fact remains that the moment they file for eviction because we withhold a month of rent, they run to get (important) things fixed. Apparently us having to complain for TWO YEARS over a window (one that is even mentioned in the lease as something to be repaired), is not as important as the prospect of loosing their lawsuit.

      Thanks,

      Mike

      #5; Mon, 05 May 2008 13:14:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      Point in fact remains that the moment they file for eviction because we withhold a month of rent, they run to get (important) things fixed. Apparently us having to complain for TWO YEARS over a window (one that is even mentioned in the lease as something to be repaired), is not as important as the prospect of loosing their lawsuit.
      You might want to check out the exact procedure in your area, but where I am, it is recommended that instead of withholding rent to the landlords, you get an attorney, and have the rent paid into escrow through an attorney, or to the court. And then the landlord is notified that the monies is available if once repairs are done.

      Often, tenants who can't pay the rent claims problems needing fixing, and it is hard for a judge to tell who the scammers are, and who the honest to goodness tenant is. Then, it gets more suspicious if the landlord brings his contractor along swearing that they just can't get in to fix things because of scheduling problems.

      I recall a tenant withholding rent, in a TV court case, claiming it was due to repair problems, and the landlord claims the tenant just didn't have the money, is often late, and the judge asked if the tenant ever thought of paying money into escrow. He didn't.

      But at this point, it seems the eviction has started, but maybe it's still not too late to consider paying the rent into escrow.

      #6; Tue, 06 May 2008 04:46:00 GMT
    • Well, as i said, she did give me the 24-hour notice to enter the dwelling (which was between 2 pm and 4 pm yesterday), but she never showed up, or even let me know they weren't coming.

      So, apparently, their own 24-hour notice wasn't 'convenient' to them or something.

      Regarding the infestation, my upstairs neighbor (who gets pregnant like every 10 months, on the clock) cleans up like once a month, throwing (yes, throwing) DOZENS of milk containers from her balcony on the ground right in front of my front door, and then comes down to put those in a shopping cart that is already filled with at least four trash bags, I think in total she must move some 10 trash bags during one of those 'clean ups'. While i will be the last to say that we are the cleanest people on earth, we DO keep our apartment clean, apparently, my upstairs neighbor does not.

      There are also a billion holes in the walls (most of which i have closed off myself by now since the landlord sees it as a non-issue), etc.

      We DO have a cat, so there IS cat food (dry food all the time, canned food once a day for an hour or so) out on the floor, but you can't make me believe that a bit of kibble and a small dish of water will attract hundreds of roaches, especially considering the fact that i make sure the food is nowhere NEAR cabinets or anything where roaches could nest (unless they manage to stay under the carpet).

      Anyways, very 'convenient' for me that she decided to just 'skip' on the 24-hour notice she couldn't wait to serve. Bet the judge will like that one a lot.

      Thanks,

      Mike

      #7; Sat, 03 May 2008 13:51:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: CA

      Due to habitability issues we did not pay rent for one month, the landlord is, of course, trying to evict us over this and gave us an Unlawful Detainer.

      I'm a landlord, and my "brother-in-law" are landlords out in San Francisco. A few observations:

      While I understand "giving notice", and habiltabilty issues, it appears the landlord can now tell a the judge, "I was there with my crew, but it was inconvenient for my tenant". If the judge says "well, why couldn't your crew come back when it was conveneient for your tenant". The answer: "it was convenient for the tenant, but it wasn't convenient for my workman because they had another emergency, and when we try to reschedule for the next day, it was again inconvenient for the tenant".

      What was frustrating for my b-i-l was he had a tenant who didn't pay the rent, tells a judge repairs are needed, only to tell repair crews rach time "it's not convenient time". It dragged on like this, on and on.

      And I had minor repair myself that dragged on for months because I try to be accomodating to the tenants and workman and tenant had to reschedule numerous times. One tenant was only available Thursday evenings between 6:30 and 7:30 if anything needed done. Good plumbers are normally home with the family watching TV by then.

      And ocassionally, I get roach infestation complaints, and I ALWAYS get a professional exterminator, because if I don't, the tenant could always say "well, the landlord didn't do anything", if I only came by to spray and leave "combat", i.e. my word against his. I got one guy complaining loudly, and the funny thing was, I had no infestation before he came, and none afterwards. But when he was there, and the exterminator lifted a plastic mat next to the sink, literally, hundreds of roaches ran for cover. Even the exterminator jumped when he saw it.

      And the exterminator wanted to do my other apartments in the building, but my other tenants told him not to as they have NO INFESTATION. The exterminator thought that was strange, because normally, a whole building is infested. I told him I rehabbed the builiding, and I caulked all the openings between floors.

      I reminded the exterminator that I have a "warranty" on the work, but he told me it may not apply since the tenant leaves stuff all over the sink, does not take the garbage out, leaves food on the table, and the infestation would get worse before it gets better.

      Finally, I had it, didn't renew the lease, fumigated the place after he left, and had no infestation since. In fact, I had to take the carpeting off, spray, and re-carpet because it was so bad.

      My suggestion, try working with the landlord to resolve the issue.

      #8; Sat, 03 May 2008 05:56:00 GMT