Landlord harassment san diego

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7 Things You Should Know About Renter's Rights in San Diego

You've found what you think is the perfect apartment to rent. You're sitting in the rental office when the property manager asks you to undergo a background check. Seems standard enough, you think. But then the manager asks for your medical history — not so standard.

If you don't know your rights as a renter, you might fall prey to discrimination. Read on to learn about federal and San Diego-specific renter's rights. While you're at it, check out rentals in San Diego right now.

1. The Fair Housing Act protects you. 

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The federal Fair Housing Act dictates that bad landlords can't refuse to rent or offer inferior terms to a person based on protected classes.

Federal law prevents discrimination based on seven characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability, including physical and mental
  • Familial status (including pregnancy)
  • National origin

On top of these, California also includes:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Marital status
  • Genetic information
  • Source of income
  • Medical condition

For example, it's illegal for landlords to charge higher rent or require a larger security deposit because a family has children.

The bottom line: No one can refuse to rent to you based on any protected classes.

2. The Federal Credit Reporting Act protects you, too. 

Legally, landlords are able to run background and credit checks on potential tenants. However, they must have accurate reports and a tenant can raise qualms about any reports they feel are a misrepresentation.

The bottom line: If you feel a credit or background check is inaccurate, you're allowed to audit it.

3. Liability for repairs depends on the situation. 

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Landlords are required to keep the property in good, livable condition. However, in California, this doesn't mean the landlord has to repair damages caused by the tenant or the tenant's guests.

The bottom line: If your heater stops working, the landlord must repair it — unless it's broken because you poured vodka on it.

4. You're entitled to reasonable privacy. 

California landlords must provide 24 hours notice for entry, including all routine inspections and showings. For initial move-out inspections, landlords need to give 48 hours notice. The only exception to this rule is during an emergency.

The bottom line: Your landlord must give you notice before entering your unit, unless something extraordinary happens, like a pipe bursting while you're gone.

5. Policies regarding termination of rental agreements vary. 

For month-to-month agreements, landlords must give tenants 30 days notice before ending the lease. Once the tenant has lived there for a year, the landlord is required to give 60 days notice.

For tenants occupying a residence for over two years, San Diego requires a "just cause" when serving a day notice.

Landlords can evict tenants if they don't pay rent or violate the lease agreement in any other way. In the case of nonpayment, landlords must first serve a three-day pay-or-quit notice.

The bottom line: Landlords can't kick you out just because they feel like it.

6. You are protected from retaliation.

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Tenants are protected from retaliation by landlords when they exercise a legal right, such as filing a complaint about unsafe living conditions or rental upkeep safety.

The bottom line: You'll never be punished for complaining about your window that just stopped opening.

7. There are mandatory disclosures.

Federal law says landlords have to disclose policies, laws and facts about the property, but California law also requires they provide the following additional information:

  • Where to find a registered sex offender database online.
  • How utilities costs are allocated.
  • Known locations of federal/state ordinance within one mile of the rental.
  • Asbestos disclosure for properties built in or before.
  • Pest control information, including which pests are controlled, pesticides used, active ingredients, whether they're toxic, and service schedule.
  • Listing a rental unit to be sold. 
  • The smoking policy — If a landlord prohibits/limits tobacco products on the property, this must be detailed in the lease, including where smoking is prohibited.
  • Landlords of single-family homes and properties of four units or less who have received a notice of default for the property that has not been rescinded must disclose this to potential renters.

The bottom line: Landlords have to tell you about the rules, regulations and dangers of your potential home. You're entitled to an informed decision-making process.

Make sure you and your new landlord start off on the right foot by knowing your rights and advocating for a fair lease.

Search Doorsteps to find apartments for rent nearby and nationwide.

Sours: https://www.doorsteps.com/articles/7-things-you-should-know-about-renters-rights-in-san-diego

IT IS ILLEGAL FOR LANDLORDS TO HARASS THEIR TENANTS

Landlord harassment is illegal. California state law and local city ordinances protect tenants against harassment. Whether physical or verbal, all landlord harassment has the same goal—to force the tenant to move out.

Harassment is when a landlord uses persistent aggressive methods, fraud, coercion, or intimidation to get a tenant to do what the landlord wants. Harassment is meant to disrupt the tenant’s legal right to quiet enjoyment of their unit in order to force the tenant to move or to force the tenant to refrain from pursuing any potential legal rights they may have against the landlord.

Why would a landlord harass a tenant?

In rent-controlled jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Berkeley, Richmond, Mountain View, Alameda, and Oakland, landlords are highly motived to get long-term tenants to move out in order to raise the rent to market rate. Many landlords rely on the assumption that tenants do not know their legal right. Harassment of the tenant is pursued in order to avoid costly legal fees and the hassle of a legal eviction and, most importantly, the landlord typically has no actual cause to evict the tenant other than their bad faith motivation to substantially raise the rent.

How can a tenant prove landlord harassment?

Landlord harassment claims can sometimes be difficult to prove. These cases often come down to a tenant’s ability to prove the harassment. It is important for tenants to be extremely diligent in notating each harassing event. Tenants should maintain a log with dates and times. If possible, they should also get statements from friends and neighbors, and take pictures and recordings. If a tenant feels that they are in physical danger, they should call the police and can also pursue a restraining order against their landlord.

What are the harassment laws in the State of California?

It is illegal for a landlord to induce a tenant to leave a unit by the use of “force, willful threats, or menacing conduct”; by threatening to disclose the citizenship status of the tenant or the tenant’s guests; by entering the tenant’s unit in substantial violation of the law; and to take, deprive, or remove the tenant’s property from the unit without consent. Cal. Civ. Code §
Landlords who are found to have harassed their tenants are liable for punitive damages of up to $2, for each violation of the law. Id. Tenants do not have to be actually evicted or constructively evicted to be awarded damages for harassment. Id.

Additionally, the state’s anti-retaliation statute prevents a landlord from harassing a tenant after the tenant has asserted rights under law. Cal. Civ. Code § Landlords who violate this prohibition are liable for actual damages, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages of up to $2, per retaliatory act. Id.

What are the harassment laws in the City of San Francisco?

The San Francisco Rent Ordinance protects tenants from landlord harassment. The ordinance is more expansive than the California harassment statute, and it includes a catch-all provision to cover anything that is not explicitly enumerated. S.F. Cal., Rent Ordinance § B. In San Francisco, landlords are expressly prohibited from doing the following:

  • Interrupt, terminate, or fail to provide housing services required by contract or by state, county or local housing, health or safety laws;Fail to perform repairs and maintenance required by contract or by state, county or local housing, health or safety laws;
  • Fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance once undertaken or fail to follow appropriate industry repair, containment or remediation protocols designed to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead, paint, mold, asbestos, or other building materials with potentially harmful health impacts;
  • Abuse the landlord’s right of access into a rental housing unit as that right is provided by law;
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental housing unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion;
  • Attempt to coerce the tenant to vacate with offer(s) of payments to vacate that are accompanied with threats or intimidation;
  • Threaten the tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm;
  • Violate any law that prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, place of birth, immigration or citizenship status, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, AIDS or occupancy by a minor child;
  • Interfere with a tenant’s right to quiet use and enjoyment of a rental housing unit as that right is defined by California law;
  • Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of a tenant’s lawful rent payment;
  • Refuse to cash a rent check for over 30 days;
  • Interfere with a tenant’s right to privacy;
  • Request information that violates a tenant’s right to privacy, including but not limited to residence or citizenship status or social security number;
  • Other repeated acts or omissions of such significance as to substantially interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of such dwelling unit and that cause, are likely to cause, or are intended to cause any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of a dwelling unit to vacate such dwelling unit or to surrender or waive any rights in relation to such occupancy. Id.

Tenants who are harassed by their landlord can file a civil lawsuit against their landlord for damages and for an injunction to stop the behavior. Additionally, a landlord convicted for violation of this section of the Rent Ordinance will be subject to criminal penalties. Id.

Where the tenant can prove harassment, the landlord will be assessed a statutory penalty of $1, for each instance of harassment. Id. The tenant can also seek an award of three times (treble damages) their emotional distress and out-of-pocket damages. Id. And, punitive damages and attorney fees are provided for under the ordinance. Id.

What are the harassment laws in the County of Los Angeles?

The County of Los Angeles recently passed ant-harassment ordinance that applies to the unincorporated areas of county. 

Landlords are prohibited from retaliating against a tenant who is not in default of their rent and who has exercised their rights under the ordinance.  L.A. County, Cal., Mun. Code §   Landlords may not terminate a tenancy, refuse to renew a tenancy, or cause a tenant to involuntarily move out in response to a tenant exercising their rights.  Id.

Failure by the landlord to comply with the ordinance can be asserted by a tenant as an affirmative defense to any action brought against them by the landlord.  Id.

In addition, landlords and their contractors, subcontractors, employees, and any person acting as an agent of the landlord are prohibited from doing the following:

  • Interrupt, terminate, or fail to provide, or threaten to interrupt, terminate, or provide any housing service required by the lease agreement or the law.
  • Act in bad faith by any of the following actions:
  • Fail to perform repairs and maintenance.
  • Fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance they had undertaken.
  • Fail to follow industry repair, containment, or remediation protocols to lessen noise, dust, lead, paint, mold, asbestos, or other harmful building materials exposure.
  • Renovate or perform construction for the purpose of harassing a tenant.
  • Refuse to acknowledge receipt of lawful payment of rent.
  • Refuse to cash or process a rent payment for over 30 days.
  • Fail to maintain a current address for delivery of rent payments.
  • Violate a tenant’s right to privacy by requesting citizen ship status, protected class status, or social security number, unless the social security number is needed for purposes of tenancy qualification.
  • Release the above information to others, unless required by law.
  • Request an unreasonable amount of information from a tenant that has made a request for a reasonable accommodation.
  • Abuse the right to enter, including entries unrelated to repairs/maintenance, excessive entries, entries targeting a certain tenant to collect information about them, entries demanding a time outside of normal business hours, entries contrary to a tenant’s request to change the date and time of the entry, and photographing or recording the unit beyond the scope of the entry’s purpose.
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate through fraud, misrepresentation, intimidation, or coercion.
  • Threaten a tenant with words (orally or in writing) or physical harm.
  • Discriminate against a tenant based on race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, HIV, AIDS, occupancy by a minor child, or source of income.
  • Terminate, serve a notice to quit, or bring an action to recover possession of a unit based on information that the landlord has no reasonable cause to believe is true.
  • Remove a tenant’s personal property from the unit without the tenant’s prior written consent.
  • Provide false information to the tenant about any federal, state, county, or local tenant protections. False information includes:
    1. Demanding a tenant sign a lease agreement not in the tenant’s primary language.
    1. Conducting rental agreement negotiations not in the tenant’s primary language.
    1. Providing a rental agreement that is not in the tenant’s primary language.
    1. Awareness by the landlord that the lease is not in the tenant’s primary language
    1. Entering into a rent repayment plan if the landlord tells the tenant that they have to enter into such an agreement in order to qualify for tenant protections.
  • Offer payments to tenant to vacate more than once in six months after the tenant notified the landlord in writing they do not want to receive offers.
  • Communicate in a language that is not the tenant’s primary language to intimidate, confuse, deceive, or annoy the tenant.
  • Interfere with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment.
  • Repeatedly and substantially interfere with any occupant’s quiet enjoyment to cause, or intend to cause, the occupant to vacate the unit or to waive their rights.
  • Remove a housing service, such as a parking space, to force a tenant to vacate.
  • Interfere with the right of tenants to organize.  L.A. County, Cal., Mun. Code §

Any tenant who has been retaliated against or harassed by their landlord, or any person or entity acting on behalf of the tenant’s interest, including the County, may bring a lawsuit against the landlord for violations of the ordinance.  L.A. County, Cal., Mun. Code §   Tenants can sue their landlord for injunctive, declaratory and other equitable relief, restitution, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.  Id.  The court may award reasonable attorney fees and costs to a landlord who prevails in any action brought against them if the court determines that the tenant&#;s action was frivolous.  Id.

In addition, tenants may seek a civil penalty of between $2, and $5, per violation.  L.A. County, Cal., Mun. Code §   If the tenant is 62 years old or older or is disabled, the court may award an additional $5, per violation.  Id. 

Each violation of the ordinance, and each day such violation is committed, permitted, or continued, is a separate offense.  L.A. County, Cal., Mun. Code §

What are the harassment laws in the City of Oakland?

The Oakland Rent Ordinance’s prohibition against landlord harassment is similar to San Francisco’s ordinance. Oakland, Cal., Mun. Code § Under Oakland’s Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), landlords shall not do the following:

  • Interrupt, terminate, or fail to provide housing services required by contract or by State, County or municipal housing, health or safety laws, or threaten to do so;
  • Fail to perform repairs and maintenance required by contract or by State, County or municipal housing, health or safety laws, or threaten to do so;
  • Fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance once undertaken or fail to follow appropriate industry repair, containment or remediation protocols designed to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead paint, mold, asbestos, or other building materials with potentially harmful health impacts;
  • Abuse the owner&#;s right of access into a rental housing unit as that right is provided by law;
  • Remove from the rental unit personal property, furnishings, or any other items without the prior written consent of the tenant;
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion, which shall include threatening to report a tenant to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, though that prohibition shall not be construed as preventing communication with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding an alleged violation;
  • Offer payments to a tenant to vacate more than once in six (6) months, after the Tenant has notified the owner in writing the tenant does not desire to receive further offers of payments to vacate;
  • Attempt to coerce a tenant to vacate with offer(s) of payments to vacate that are accompanied with threats or intimidation. This shall not include settlement offers made in good faith and not accompanied with threats or intimidation in pending eviction actions;
  • Threaten the tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm;
  • Substantially and directly interfere with a tenant&#;s right to quiet use and enjoyment of a rental housing unit as that right is defined by California law;
  • Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of a tenant&#;s lawful rent payment, except as such refusal may be permitted by state law after a notice to quit has been served on the Tenant and the time period for performance pursuant to the notice has expired;
  • Refuse to cash a rent check for over thirty (30) days unless a written receipt for payment has been provided to the tenant;
  • Interfere with a tenant&#;s right to privacy;
  • Request information that violates a tenant&#;s right to privacy, including but not limited to residence or citizenship status or social security number, except as required by law or, in the case of a social security number, for the purpose of obtaining information for the qualifications for a tenancy, or not release such information except as required or authorized by law;
  • Other repeated acts or omissions of such significance as to substantially interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of such dwelling unit and that cause, are likely to cause, or are intended to cause any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of a dwelling unit to vacate such dwelling unit or to surrender or waive any rights in relation to such occupancy;
  • Removing a housing service for the purpose of causing the tenant to vacate the Rental Unit. For example, taking away a parking space knowing that a Tenant cannot find alternative parking and must move. Oakland, Cal., Mun. Code §

Oakland’s Tenant Protection Ordinance also prohibits retaliation by the landlord against the tenant for exercising their rights under the law and allows tenants to bring retaliation claims against the landlord in civil court. Id.

It is important to note that under the Oakland TPO, tenants must first comply with a notice requirement before they can pursue a civil remedy in court against their landlord if the tenant alleges a violation of 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, or 13 listed above. Oakland, Cal., Mun. Code § Tenants alleging a violation of those subsections must notify the property owner or their agent of the problem prior to filing a lawsuit. Id. And, in the case of 1, 2, 3, 11, or 12 listed above, the tenant must give fifteen (15) days from the notification for the owner to correct the issue. Id.

Similar to San Francisco’s ordinance, Oakland provides for substantial money damages against landlords found liable for harassment. Oakland, Cal., Mun. Code § Attorney fees and costs, punitive damages, treble damages, and injunctive relief are all available under the ordinance. Id.

What are the harassment laws in the City of Berkeley?

The City of Berkeley also has a Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) that protects tenants from landlord harassment and retaliation. Berkeley, Cal., Mun. Code § The ordinance prohibits the landlord from doing any of the following in bad faith:

  • Influence, or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a Rental Unit through fraud or intimidation, or through unauthorized physical acts;
  • Threaten by use of fraud, intimidation, or coercion to terminate a tenancy, to recover possession of a rental Unit, or to evict a tenant from a rental unit. Such threats shall include threatening to report any tenant, occupant, or guest of any tenant or occupant, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • Reduce, interrupt, or withhold any services or amenities provided to the tenant pursuant to the rental agreement, custom, or law. Such services include, but are not limited to, provision of the quiet use and enjoyment of the rental unit;
  • Interfere with any tenant’s rights of privacy. Unlawful interference with a tenant’s right to privacy shall include, but is not limited to, requesting information regarding citizenship or residency status or social security number of any tenant or member of the tenant’s family or household, occupant, or guest of any tenant, except for the purpose of obtaining information for the qualifications for a tenancy prior to the inception of a tenancy. Unlawful interference with the right to privacy also includes releasing any confidential information regarding any person described in this subdivision, except as required by law;
  • Abuse the limited right of access into a rental unit as established and limited by Civil Code ;
  • Abuse, exploit, discriminate, or take advantage of, any actual or perceived disability, trait or characteristic of any tenant, including, but not limited to, the Tenant’s participation in any section 8, housing choice voucher, or other subsidized housing program;
  • Fail to perform any repairs in a timely and professional manner that minimizes inconvenience to the tenant; or fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance once undertaken; or fail to follow appropriate industry standards to or protocols designed to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead paint, asbestos, other building materials with potentially harmful health impacts;
  • Threaten to not perform repairs and maintenance required by contract, custom, or law, or threaten to do so;
  • Fail to accept or acknowledge receipt of a tenant’s rent, or to promptly deposit a tenant’s rent payment, or to promptly provide a receipt to a tenant upon request, except as such refusal may be permitted by state law after a notice to quit has been served and the time period for performance pursuant to the notice has expired;
  • Offer payments to a tenant to vacate without providing written notice to the tenant of his or her rights under this Chapter, using the form prescribed by City staff; however this shall not prohibit offers made in pending unlawful detainer actions;
  • Engage any tenant in any form of human trafficking as defined by California Penal Code section , as a condition of that tenant’s continued occupancy of a Rental Unit. Id.

Like the Oakland TPO discussed earlier, before a tenant can bring a claim in civil court for violation of certain subsections listed above, the tenant must first comply with the notice requirement to the property owner or the owner’s agent. Id.

Landlords found to have violated the TPO can be liable for actual damages, attorney fees, treble damages, injunction, and an award of civil penalties in the sum of between $1, and $10, for each violation. Plus, the landlord may be held liable for an additional penalty of up to $5, for each violation against any person who is disabled or elderly (age sixty-five or over). Id.

What are the harassment laws in the City of Long Beach?

The City of Long Beach passed an emergency ordinance on November 2, that went into immediate effect. Long Beach, Cal., Mun. Code §

Under this new Long Beach tenant harassment law,  no landlord shall:

  • Interfere with or fail to provide housing services required by state or federal law, or violate or threaten to violate Cal. Civil Code § (i.e., utility shutoffs and illegal lockouts);
  • Fail to perform timely repairs and maintenance required by contract or by federal and state laws; fail to complete repairs once undertaken; fail to follow appropriate industry protocols for the abatement of potentially harmful conditions or building materials; or conduct optional renovation or construction of a residential rental unit for the purpose of harassing a tenant;
  • Abuse the right of access into a dwelling unit as established by Cal. Civil Code § – including, but not limited to, entries for inspections not related to necessary repairs or services; excessive number of entries &#; especially outside normal business hours; and misrepresenting the reasons for accessing a rental housing unit;
  • Influence, coerce or threaten a tenant to vacate a unit through fraud and misrepresentation, which shall include threatening to report a tenant to the United States Department of Homeland Security;
  • Threaten a tenant with physical harm – by word, gesture or in writing;
  • Violate any law which prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), occupancy by a minor child, or source of income;
  • Take any action to terminate a tenancy, or bring any action to take possession of a dwelling unit, based upon facts which the landlord has no reasonable cause to believe to be true or upon a legal theory which is invalid under the facts known to the landlord;
  • Provide false written or verbal information regarding any protections the tenant is entitled to, including, but not limited to, asking or forcing a tenant to sign a new lease not in their native language;
  • Refuse to acknowledge or accept a tenant’s lawful rent payment, refuse to cash a rent check for over 30 days after it is presented; fail to maintain a current address for delivery of rent payments; fail to maintain an online payment portal/fund transfer program active and without interruption; or otherwise violate Cal. Civil Code § ;
  • Violate a tenant&#;s right to privacy, including, but not limited to, by requesting information about residence or citizenship status, protected class status, or social security number; release such information except as required or authorized by law; or request or demand an unreasonable amount of information from a tenant in response to a Reasonable Accommodation request;
  • Communicate with the tenant in a language other than the tenant’s primary language for the purpose of intimidating or deceiving the tenant;
  • Interfere with the right of tenants to organize and engage in activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection; deny property access to tenant advocates; prevent tenant or tenant organization meetings in an appropriate space accessible under the terms of a Rental Agreement; or discourage distribution or posting in common areas of literature informing other tenants of their rights; or
  • Repeatedly violate the covenant of quiet enjoyment of any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of a dwelling, especially to cause that tenant to vacate the dwelling or to surrender their rights to occupy the dwelling.  

Long Beach tenants harassed by their landlord can sue for a variety of relief including injunction, money damages, attorney fees and costs, a civil penalty of at least $, and any other relief the Court deems appropriate.  If a tenant is over the age of 65 or disabled, a judge can award an additional $5, per violation.

What are the harassment laws in the City of Culver City?

In June of , the City Council of the City of Culver City added a Tenant Protections section to their Municipal Code addressing Retaliatory Eviction and Anti-Harassment. Culver City, Cal., Mun. Code §

This new ordinance established a permanent tenant protection program.

Concerning Retaliatory Eviction, the ordinance asserts:

  • If a tenant has not defaulted on a rent payment, a landlord may not terminate or refuse to renew a tenancy with an intent to retaliate;
  • Retaliation against a tenant because of the tenant&#;s exercise of rights under this section is prohibited;
  • In evaluating claims of landlord retaliation, the court may consider the protections of the Culver City tenant protection program.

If a tenant can prove they exercised their rights under law within six months prior to an alleged act of retaliation, this will create a rebuttable presumption that the landlord&#;s act was retaliatory.

The anti-harassment portion of the ordinance asserts that no landlord, agent, contractor, subcontractor or employee of the landlord shall violate the tenant protections in Cal. Civil Code § and § , or similar state and federal laws, or engage in any activity that violates the tenant’s right to the quiet enjoyment of their unit.

The ordinance prohibits the landlord from doing any of the following in bad faith:

  • Interfere with or fail to provide housing services required by state, local or federal law;
  • Fail to perform repairs and maintenance required by the rental agreement or by state, local or federal law;
  • Fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance once undertaken or fail to follow appropriate industry standards or protocols designed to minimize exposure to noise, dust, or other building materials with potentially harmful health impacts.
  • Abuse the right of access into a rental unit. This includes, but is not limited to, entries for inspections that are not related to necessary repairs or services; entries that are unreasonable in frequency or duration; entries that improperly target individual occupants or are used to collect evidence against an occupant or are otherwise beyond the scope of a lawful entry;
  • Repeatedly speak to tenants in person or communicate with them via social media or other communications, with language that a reasonable person would consider likely to cause fear or provoke violence;
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion, which shall include but is not limited to threatening to report a tenant to the United States Department of Homeland Security;
  • Threaten a tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm;
  • Knowingly and intentionally violate any law which prohibits discrimination against the tenant based on race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), occupancy by a minor child, or source of income;
  • Demand sex from a tenant in exchange for obtaining needed maintenance on the rental unit, or make other quid pro quo sexual demands; subject a tenant to severe or pervasive unwelcome physical contact or lewd comments about a tenant&#;s body; send sexually suggestive texts or enter the rental unit without invitation or permission; or engage in other actions that create a hostile environment;
  • Terminate any tenancy, based upon facts which the landlord has no reasonable cause to believe to be true or upon a legal theory which the landlord knows is invalid;
  • Remove personal property, furnishings, or any other items from the rental unit without written consent of the tenant, except pursuant to enforcement of a legal termination of tenancy;
  • Offer payments to a tenant to vacate more frequently than once every six months, after the tenant has notified the landlord in writing that the tenant does not desire to receive further offers of payments to vacate;
  • Attempt to coerce a tenant to vacate with offers of payment to vacate or buyout as described above, with the addition of threats or intimidation. This shall not include settlement offers made in good faith in pending unlawful detainer actions and which are not accompanied by threats or intimidation;
  • Refuse to acknowledge receipt of a tenant&#;s rent payment made during the term of the tenancy and in accordance with the rental agreement;
  • Refuse to cash a rent check for over 30 days;
  • Request information that violates a tenant&#;s right to privacy including, but not limited to, residency or citizenship status, protected class status, or social security number, except as required by law or, in the case of a social security number, for the purpose of determining the tenant&#;s qualifications for a tenancy; or release any such information that is in landlord&#;s possession, except as required or authorized by law;
  • Violate a tenant&#;s right to privacy in the rental unit, including but not limited to, entering, photographing, or video recording portions of a rental unit that are beyond the scope of an authorized entry or inspection;
  • Interfere with a tenant&#;s right to quiet use and enjoyment of a rental unit under state law;
  • Interfere with the right of tenant to organize as tenants and engage in activities with other tenants for the purpose of mutual aid and protection; provide access to tenant organizers, advocates, or representatives working with or on behalf of tenants living at the property; arrange tenant or tenant organization meetings in an appropriate space accessible to tenants under the terms of their rental agreement; or distribute and post literature in common areas, informing tenants of their rights and of opportunities to participate in organized tenant activities.

A landlord who violates any provision of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and may be subject to an administrative fine of up to $1, – with every day a violation occurs or continues, considered a separate violation.  A landlord found to be in violation of this section shall be liable to the tenant for actual damages, emotional distress, and attorney fees. Culver City, Cal., Mun. Code §

The City Attorney is authorized to bring a civil action for violation of this section, for civil penalties or other relief, and may take other steps necessary to enforce this section. The city’s decision to pursue or not pursue enforcement does not prevent a tenant from pursing their own civil case, nor are tenants required to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing suit. Culver City, Cal., Mun. Code §

What are the harassment laws in the City of Santa Monica?

In , Santa Monica amended Section of their Municipal Code to clarify and extend protections against tenant harassment when complaints increased that year. Santa Monica, Cal., Mun. Code §

Under the Santa Monica anti-harassment and tenant protection statute, no landlord shall do anything of the following in bad faith:

  • Interrupt or fail to provide housing services required by contract or by state, federal or local health and safety laws;
  • Fail to perform repairs and maintenance required by contract or by state, federal  or local health and safety laws;
  • Fail to complete repairs and maintenance once undertaken;
  • Abuse the landlord’s right of access into a rental housing unit as that right is specified in California Civil Code § This includes entries for “inspections” that are not related to necessary repairs or services, are excessive in number; target certain tenants or are otherwise beyond the scope of a lawful entry;
  • Verbally abuse the tenant with the intent to provoke a violent reaction;
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental housing unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion;
  • Threaten the tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm;
  • Violate any law which prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, AIDS or occupancy by a minor child;
  • Terminate any tenancy, based upon facts which the landlord has no reasonable cause to believe to be true or upon a legal theory which the landlord knows is invalid;
  • Interfere with a tenant’s right to quiet use of their rental unit;
  • Refuse to acknowledge receipt of a tenant’s lawful rent payment;
  • Interfere with a tenant’s right to privacy, including, but not limited to, entering or photographing portions of a rental housing unit that are beyond the scope of a lawful entry or inspection.

Landlords in violation of Section are liable for statutory damages of $1, to $10, and shall be liable for attorney fees.  Each violation against tenants 65 or older will result in an additional civil penalty of $5,

What are the harassment laws in the City of Emeryville?

The Emeryville Rent Ordinance’s anti-harassment provisions protect Emeryville tenants from landlord harassment. Landlords that harass or retaliate against tenants face civil remedies. Emeryville, Cal., Mun. Code §

No landlord may do any of the following in bad faith:

  • Interrupt, fail to provide, or threaten to interrupt or fail to provide any housing services under the rental agreement, including but not limited to utility services and other amenities and services agreed to by contract;
  • Fail to perform repairs or maintenance required by contract or by state, county, or local housing, health, or safety laws;
  • Fail to exercise due diligence to complete repairs and maintenance once undertaken, including the failure to follow industry-appropriate safety standards and protocols;
  • Abuse or otherwise improperly use landlord’s right to access the property;
  • Remove personal property of a tenant from the rental unit;
  • Influence or attempt to influence a tenantto vacate the unit by means of fraud, intimidation, or coercion (including but not limited to threats based on immigration status);
  • Offer payment or any other consideration, in return for a tenant vacating the unit, more often than once every six months;
  • Threaten the tenant by word or gesture with physical harm;
  • Interfere with the tenant’s right to quiet use and enjoyment of the rental unit;
  • Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of lawful rent from the tenant;
  • Refuse to cash a rent check for over 30 days;
  • Interfere with the tenant’s right to privacy;
  • Request information that violates the tenant’s right to privacy;
  • Other repeated acts or omissions of such significance as to substantially interfere with or disturb the tenant’s comfort, repose, peace, or quiet enjoyment, and that cause, are likely to cause, or are intended to cause the tenant’s to vacate the unit; or
  • Retaliate against the tenant for the their exercise of rights under this chapter or state or federal law.

The Emeryville Rent Ordinance contains a private right of action for landlord violations.  The tenant or the City may file a civil proceeding for money damages, injunctive relief or both against a landlord who engages in activities prohibited under this section. Emeryville, Cal., Mun. Code §

The ordinance also includes a chapter outlining specific language that must be contained in a notice provided to tenants of their rights. Landlords must provide this notice in circumstances including, but not limited to, entering a lease or rental agreement, when renewing a lease or rental agreement or with a notice of termination. Emeryville, Cal. Mun. Code §

What are the harassment laws in the City of West Hollywood?

The City of West Hollywood anti-harassment statute states that no landlord shall willfully engage in harassment of any tenant of a rental housing unit in a manner that is likely to create a hostile living environment or cause the tenant to vacate the unit.  West Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code §   As used here, harassment includes but is not limited to the following conduct:

  • A reduction of housing services as the term “housing service” is defined in this title;
  • A reduction of maintenance or failure to perform and complete necessary repairs or maintenance;
  • Abusing the right of access into a rental housing unit as established and limited by California Civil Code section ;
  • Engaging in abusive conduct toward a tenant through the use of words which are offensive and inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction;
  • Enticing a tenant to vacate the unit through intentional misrepresentation or concealment of a fact;
  • Threatening a tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm;
  • Misrepresenting to a tenant that the tenant is required to vacate a rental housing unit;
  • Failing to exercise due diligence in performing and completing repairs to a rental housing unit after obtaining possession of the unit for the purpose of performing the repairs;
  • Engaging in an activity prohibited by federal, state or local law which prohibits housing discrimination on any basis including but not limited to sexual orientation, race, color, sex, ancestry, ethnic origin, national origin, religion, age, marital status, familial status, parenthood, pregnancy, disability, medical condition including, but not limited to, AIDS or AIDS-related conditions, gender identity, occupancy by a minor child, citizenship, or status as a student;
  • Threatening to terminate a tenancy, recover possession of a rental unit, or evict a tenant from a rental unit without a proper factual and legal basis;
  • Engaging in any act or omission which interferes with the tenant’s right to use and enjoy the rental unit;
  • Refusing to acknowledge or accept receipt of lawful rent payments;
  • Engaging in any act whereby the premises are rendered unfit for occupancy, or the tenant is deprived of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises; and
  • Engaging in any conduct intended to annoy or intimidate a tenant.   

A West Hollywood landlord who harasses a tenant is liable for each and every such offense for actual damages to the tenant, or for statutory damages in the sum of one thousand dollars ($), whichever is greater, and for punitive damages. The tenant may also recover attorney fees and costs. West Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code (D).

What are the harassment laws in Union City?

On April 11, , Union City approved an ordinance that added Chapter “Residential and Landlord and Tenant Relations” to the City’s municipal code, regulating most residential rental units in the City and specifically prohibiting landlords from engaging in specific harassment activity. Union City, Cal. Mun. Code §

A landlord may not do any of the following in bad faith:

  • Interrupt, fail to provide, or threaten to interrupt or fail to provide any housing services under the rental agreement, including, but not limited to, utility services and other amenities and services agreed to by contract;
  • Fail to perform repairs or maintenance required by contract or by State, County, or local housing, health, or safety laws;
  • Fail to complete repairs and maintenance once undertaken, including the failure to follow safety standards and protocols;
  • Abuse or otherwise improperly use landlord’s right to access the property;
  • Remove personal property of the tenant(s) from the rental unit;
  • Influence or attempt to influence the tenant(s) to vacate the unit by means of fraud, intimidation, or coercion (including, but not limited to, threats based on immigration status);
  • Offer payment or any other consideration, in return for the tenant(s) vacating the unit, more often than once every six months;
  • Threaten the tenant by word or gesture with physical harm;
  • Interfere with the tenant’s right to quiet use and enjoyment of the rental unit;
  • Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of lawful rent from the tenant(s);
  • Refuse to cash a rent check for over thirty days;
  • Interfere with the tenant’s right to privacy;
  • Request information that violates the tenant’s right to privacy;
  • Other repeated acts that substantially interfere with or disturb the tenant(s) comfort, repose, peace, or quiet enjoyment, and that cause, are likely to cause, or are intended to cause the tenant to vacate the unit; or
  • Retaliate against the tenant for their exercise of rights under this chapter or State or Federal law.

A tenant in Union City who is subjected to prohibited acts, or faces retaliation by a landlord for exercising any rights under this chapter, may bring a civil private right of action for money damages, injunctive relief, or both. Prevailing tenants are entitled to costs and reasonable attorney fees.  Union City, Cal. Mun. Code § (A)(B)(1).

What are the claims and damages in a tenant lawsuit against their landlord for harassment?

As discussed above, depending on which jurisdiction the tenant resides, tenants can recover a myriad of damages in a lawsuit against their landlord for harassment. Some of the damages include actual damages, treble damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs, civil penalties that vary in amount depending on the city, and in some jurisdictions, additional awards for disabled or elderly tenants are available.

Aside from the harassment claim, other claims a tenant may pursue against the landlord that will yield additional money damages are for breach of contract and covenant of quite enjoyment, wrongful or constructive eviction, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Breach of Contract and Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment: Implied in every residential lease is a covenant of quiet enjoyment, guaranteeing that tenants will be able to peacefully enjoy their homes. Cal. Civ. Code § Where a landlord has substantially interfered with a tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of a unit, the tenant can sue for back rent. Through use of expert appraisers, the court will determine if, and by how much, the rental value of the property declined due to the harassment. In Guntert v. City of Stockton, 55 Cal. App. 3d (), for example, the court awarded a tenant back rent where the landlord gave several arbitrary eviction notices. Where a tenant is under constant threat of eviction, receives unlawful eviction notices, is verbally or physically threatened by a landlord, and is not benefiting from timely and proper repairs, the tenant can file a breach of contract claim against the landlord. Id. at

Constructive Eviction: If a tenant is forced out of a rent-controlled home because of landlord harassment, the tenant can sue for the cost to replace the rent-controlled home. At least one court has allowed a tenant to recover twenty years worth of increased rent. Where a landlord is motivated by a desire to get a rent-controlled tenant out from under rent control, this rent differential may be trebled (i.e. tripled).

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: In cases of particularly outrageous conduct, a tenant may sue a landlord in tort for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress are “(1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress; (2) the plaintiff’s suffering severe or extreme emotional distress; and (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress by the defendant’s outrageous conduct.” Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn., 46 Cal. 3d , () (emphasis added), quoting Cervantez v. J.C. Penney Co., 24 Cal. 3d , (). Where a tenant can prove that harassment is intentional or has a reckless disregard, the landlord will be required to pay actual and punitive damages.
In the San Francisco case Richardson v. Pridmore, P.2d , a tenant suffered a miscarriage as a result of being intentionally and wrongfully evicted. The landlord in that case broke into the tenants’ apartment while they were gone for a few days, put all their stuff in a basement, and changed their locks before giving the place to new tenants. The jury awarded plaintiffs a sum of $7, ($63, in dollars) as compensation.

In Aweeka v. Bonds, 20 Cal. App. 3d (), a landlord raised the rent on tenants in retaliation for a repair and deduct against tenants who used rent to repair. The court noted that no physical injury need be present to award damages for emotional distress.
In Spinks v. Equity Residential Briarwood Apartments, Cal. App. 4th (), the court determined that an unlawful eviction may be outrageous despite the “polite and sympathetic” attitudes of a landlord’s agents. A tenant’s particular vulnerability at the time of the eviction, in this case a recent reconstructive surgery of the arm, can make an unlawful eviction outrageous conduct on the part of the landlord.

When should a tenant contact a lawyer about landlord harassment?

Tenants who have a landlord that is using harassment in an attempt to force them to move should contact Tobener Ravenscroft LLP to speak with an experienced attorney.

$,

recovered in action brought against a landlord in San Francisco who failed to make repairs and abate several Notices of Violation issued by the City. Instead, the landlord harassed the tenants in attempts to force them to leave the rent-controlled unit they occupied for three decades. As a result of the landlord’s failure to repair, one of the tenants fell and suffered serious personal injuries requiring hospitalization.

$,

recovered in action brought against landlord who harassed transgender tenants and failed to maintain an SRO building in San Francisco where individual rooms were rented out with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The landlord frequently trespassed into their rooms, demanded rent, dumped out their purses looking for money, and implied they should prostitute themselves to pay rent. The five plaintiffs suffered from collapsed ceilings, no heat, mice, bedbugs, filthy common area bathrooms and kitchen, and an unsecured building that led to frequent trespassing by homeless persons and drug-addicts.

$,

recovered on behalf of a single tenant who was forced out of his rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco when the landlord posted dozens of notes illegally demanding he move out in response to his complaints about lack of heat and unlawful rent increases.

$,

recovered on behalf of a single-parent living in an in-law unit in Oakland. The landlord engaged in a pattern of harassment aimed at forcing the tenant out of her rent-controlled unit. The landlord's harassment included repeatedly yelling at the tenant, saying she needed to move out because her rent was too low, and telling her young son that she should call Child Protective Services on his mother.

Sours: https://www.tobenerlaw.com/landlord-harassment/
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  Harassment

California Law on Harassment

California law offers many protections against landlord harassment, but some cities through their own local ordinances expand on California law to offer tenants greater protections. Whether you are protected and what remedies are available may be dependent on the city in which you reside.

 Landlord Entry

California law limits a Landlord’s ability to enter a renter’s home. Except for emergencies, a landlord or agent of a landlord such as an apartment manager can enter your home without consent by providing hour notice in order to:

1. Make necessary or agreed-upon repairs

2. Showcase the property to potential renters

(California Civil Code § )

If these things are happening to you, it could be a sign of harassment:

• Landlord locks you out of your home (violation of California Penal Code § )

• Utilities are shut off without warning

• Failure to make crucial repairs

• Failure to maintain property

• Landlord enters premises without permission

• Use of threat or force in order to make you move out

I Think my Landlord is Harassing Me, What Can I Do?

If you think you are being harassed by your landlord, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Document the Alleged Harassment

The San Francisco Tenants’ Union recommends keeping documentation of any and all activity that you think constitutes harassment. This documentation may become evidence in the future should legal action be necessary. 

• Keep a log of every incident of harassment

• Keep in contact with any witnesses

• Record the harassment

• Write a letter to the landlord asking for the activity to stop

• Call the police if you feel threatened

• File for a restraining order. 

Sours: https://www.lavellelawoffices.com/landlord-tenant-harassment

All Other Housing

We provide Free help for those who qualify that are having housing problems or questions about their rights as a tenant, as well as, those who have questions about their security deposit.

You can get Free Help, if you qualify, for questions or problems regarding:

  • A verbal or written notice from the person you live with or rent from, or from a landlord.
  • Your rights on getting or protecting your security deposit.
  • What to do if you are locked out of unit by your landlord or other person from whom you are renting.
  • Utility shutoff.
  • Your unit has habitability problems (such as rodents, pests, appliances not working, fixture problems.)
  • What your rights are when a landlord wants to come into your unit.
  • How to leave your unit or break your lease.
  • What do when you receive a court document about your housing.
  • What to do if your rental unit is being converted to a Condominium.
  • Housing Discriminationquestions or problems
  • Public housing

Basic Landlord-Tenant Issues

Foreclosure/Loan Modifications

Evictions

Security Deposits

Mobilehomes

How to Get Information and Training

Our housing team can provide community education to groups or organizations.  click here.

Sours: https://www.lassd.org/area/all-other-housing

Diego san landlord harassment

DOJ Settles Landlord Sexual Harassment Case in San Diego

Federal government settles case in which landlord is accused of harassing female tenants.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a settlement agreement with defendant Larry Nelson to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging he “sexually harassed female tenants while owning and managing San Diego area rental properties.”  The lawsuit was originally filed by the agency in in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming Nelson engaged in sexual harassment of female tenants since   Some of the allegations included “engaging in unwelcome sexual touching, offering to reduce monthly rental payments in exchange for sex, making unwelcome sexual comments and advances, making intrusive and unannounced visits to female tenants’ homes to further his sexual advances, and evicting or threatening to evict female tenants who objected or refused his sexual advances,” according to the complaint.

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation in housing,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband at the time of filing.  “Any landlord who sexually harasses his tenants or retaliates against them for refusing sexual advances, destroys their housing security and risks families’ ability to keep a roof over their heads.  Anyone who engages in this kind of disgusting and illegal conduct should be on notice: the Department of Justice will be coming for you.”

DOJ Settles Landlord Sexual Harassment Case in San Diego

U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer added, “Let this be a wake-up call for abusive landlords.  Holding a key to someone’s property is not a license to exploit them for sex.  The Department of Justice is going to make sure a tenant’s home is a place of safety, not suffering.”

Nelson was ordered to pay $, to $, in damages directly to his victims as well as a $25, U.S. civil penalty.  The former landlord is prohibited from being involved in rental unit property management in any way and was ordered to hire an independent professional for the position.

“People deserve to be safe in their homes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division after the settlement was reached. “Sexual harassment in housing deprives them of that security.  The Justice Department will not tolerate landlords who abuse their power by sexually harassing their tenants and will continue vigorously to pursue allegations of sexual harassment.”

“Abusive landlords in San Diego and Imperial counties should be on notice that protecting the civil rights of citizens in our district is a top priority, and we do not tolerate discrimination and harassment in housing,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman for the Southern District of California. “Holding a key to someone’s property is a position of trust, not a license to engage in illegal sexual harassment and sexual demands.”

The lawsuit came as a result of the DOJ’s October initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing, which was rolled out nationwide in April   The program includes an outreach toolkit to for U.S. Attorney’s Offices as well as campaign that serves to a public create awareness and contact information for reporting any issues.

Sources:

Justice Department Obtains Settlement from San Diego Landlord to Resolve Claims of Sexual Harassment Against Female Tenants

Justice Department Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit against Owner and Manager of Rental Properties in Spring Valley

Sours: https://www.legalreader.com/doj-settles-landlord-sexual-harassment-case-in-san-diego/
San Diego tenants having problems having rental assistance payments accepted

Justice News

Assistant U. S. Attorney Leslie Gardner ()     

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – June 3,

SAN DIEGO – The Justice Department today announced it has reached an agreement with landlord Larry Nelson to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging that he sexually harassed female tenants while owning and managing San Diego area rental properties.

Under the consent order entered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Nelson must pay at least $, $, in damages to tenants harmed by his harassment and a $25, civil penalty to the United States.  A judgment for an additional $, also was entered against Nelson in favor of the United States but is suspended based on sworn disclosure statements reflecting Nelson’s financial situation.  Any misrepresentation or omission by Nelson on those disclosure statements will trigger collection of the suspended judgment.  Nelson also is prohibited from being involved in property management of rental units in the future and must hire an independent professional property manager.  He also must implement a nondiscrimination policy and complaint procedure, and must release judgments obtained against victims whom he wrongfully evicted.  

The United States’ lawsuit alleged that Nelson’s harassment spanned a period of nearly two decades. The allegations included that Nelson, among other things, engaged in unwelcome sexual touching, offered to reduce monthly rental payments in exchange for sex, made unwelcome sexual comments and advances, made intrusive and unannounced visits to female tenants’ homes to further his sexual advances, and evicted or threatened to evict female tenants who objected to or refused his sexual advance.

“A person’s home should be a refuge, a place where an individual can feel secure and protected,” said Pamela Karlan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “Sexual harassment in housing often destroys that sense of safety and security and leaves victims afraid in their own homes.  The Justice Department will not tolerate landlords who abuse their power by sexually harassing their tenants, and will continue vigorously to pursue allegations of sexual harassment.”

“Abusive landlords in San Diego and Imperial counties should be on notice that protecting the civil rights of citizens in our district is a top priority, and we do not tolerate discrimination and harassment in housing,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy S. Grossman.  “Holding a key to someone’s property is a position of trust, not a license to engage in illegal sexual harassment and sexual demands.”

This case was jointly litigated by attorneys in the Civil Rights Division and the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.  The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.  The goal of the Department’s Initiative is to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers, or other people who have control over housing.  Since launching the Initiative in October , the Department of Justice has filed 21 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $ million for victims of such harassment. 

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.  More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt.  Individuals may report sexual harassment or other forms of housing discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at , e-mailing the Justice Department at [email protected], or submitting a report online.  Individuals may also report such discrimination by contacting HUD at or by filing a complaint online.   

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Sours: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/justice-department-obtains-settlement-san-diego-landlord-resolve-claims-sexual

You will also be interested:

Landlord/Tenant Law

  • Rental Agreements & Leases
  • A periodic rental agreement or lease may be written or oral, and is for a fixed term or a period of time, such as month-to-month or week-to-week, with the month-to-month agreement being most common. This periodic type of rental agreement, unlike a lease, does not state the length of time that the agreement will remain in effect.

    A landlord-tenant agreement may also come in the form of a lease. It may be written or oral, although it is generally written, and is for a specified amount of time such as six or 12 months. If a lease is for a period of time of more than one year, then it must be in writing or the lease is not enforceable. Both of these types of landlord and tenant agreements create a tenancy.

  • Commercial Leases
  • A commercial lease is designed to be used when leasing property used primarily for a business. It is a contract between a landlord and a business tenant for the rental of property. The terms of the commercial lease between the tenant and the landlord establish most of the conditions of the rental, and often a commercial tenant will not have the same rights and protections as residential tenants. One example of this is that a tenant in a commercial property may not be able to deduct money they spend on repairs to the building from their rent. Also, some home rentals in California may benefit from local rent control provisions, but commercial properties are not included. Additionally, some consumer laws that protect residential tenants will not apply to commercial tenants.

    Commercial lease agreements will vary depending on the needs of the landlord and tenant, and are mainly the written terms and agreements discussed in negotiations between both parties. There are not a lot of rules and regulations that govern this type of agreement, and although not a complete list, some of the following items may be an important part of the written agreement:

    • Commercial lease agreements should specifically and accurately identify the property being leased.
    • The legal description, such as that recorded in the county records, and the full property address are the best means of identifying the leased property.
    • The rent of a commercial space will be based on the square footage of the property and may also include payment for gas and electric, insurance, property taxes or repairs. Therefore, it is vital to review all of these line items. Commercial lease agreements generally request an annual percentage-based rent increase, and these are often negotiable. The amount of the deposit and disposition of deposits upon vacating the location should be specified.
    • Commercial leases are often for several years, and landlords often prefer long-term agreements. Some landlords will entertain shorter leases, including certain terms and conditions of renewal.
    • Appropriate Tenant Activities:
      A commercial lease agreement should list the activities that the tenant is authorized to conduct on the leased property. These clauses will often be used to protect the property owner and limit their liability in the event the tenant causes problems with other tenants who also have certain rights based on their lease agreements.
    • Use of Signs on the Property:
      There may be zoning restrictions on the use of signs, so it is always a good idea to check on local regulations. The lease agreement may prohibit putting up signs that are visible from the street, so tenants must know what is acceptable before leasing the space or it may impact their ability to advertise their business.
    • Subletting the Property:
      Tenants should carefully review their rights to sublet the property during the terms of their lease agreement. For example, if they find the location is not conducive to their type of business, they may want to move out and sublease the property to another tenant. They may be prohibited from doing this if subletting is not specifically stated in the lease agreement.
    • Allowed Property Improvements:
      A lease should clearly state any modifications or improvements that can be made to the property, which party will pay for the improvements and whether the tenant is responsible to return the unit to its original condition at the end of the lease agreement.
    • Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act:
      A business that is open to the public and has more than 15 employees must be accessible to people with disabilities. The lease should state who is responsible to pay if any alterations are needed for the property to comply with the law.
    • Legal Remedies:
      Commercial lease agreements should have a clause to address what happens when the landlord or tenant violates the terms of the lease, and the legal remedies that may occur. Remedies may include arbitration or mediation or some other process to settle the differences, or may require the filing of a lawsuit in court.
    • Eviction of Tenants:
      Commercial tenants may be evicted for nonpayment of rent, subletting the property when it is prohibited in the lease agreement and other such acts. Tenants may be taken to court to resolve these issues.
  • Creating a Tenancy Rental Agreement
  • The tenancy, or rental agreement, gives a person the right to use and possess a rental unit from a landlord. When you create a tenancy, it details various obligations for each of the parties involved. In some cases, a landlord-tenant lawyer is asked to create or advise upon the agreement, with the ability to represent either the landlord or the tenant.

    A rental agreement or lease normally includes:

    • names of the parties involved
    • description of the property
    • the period of the rental (including the beginning and ending dates) or statement that it is a month-to-month or week-to-week tenancy
    • any charges that will be applied for late payment of rent
    • rules concerning pets, water beds or company
    • staying in the rental for long periods of time
    • provisions for a gardener, or the water bill, or trash pickup and who will pay for these
    • amount charged for a security deposit, and
    • any other terms and conditions the parties will adhere to during the rental agreement
    • may be verbal for rental agreement of 1 year or less

    Increase in Rent or Changes to the Tenancy
    Any terms and conditions concerning increases in the rent should be clearly spelled out in the agreement, such as how much notice is required and the amount of the increase. Generally, the rent for a lease will remain the same for the duration of the lease.

    Civil Code § governs rent increases on mo/mo tenancies. Rent increases of up to 10% require, 30 day written notice, over 10% require a 60 day notice. If any single rent increase within a 12 month period, cumulatively, will exceed 10% total, that rent increase requires a 60 day notice. Example: $1, rent, 3/18 rent increase of $50 (5%), requires 30 day notice, a $60 (6%) rent increase requires a 60 day notice because the landlord is raising the rent by more than 10% (11%) within the last 12 months.

    If any of the items in the rental agreement are ambiguous or the parties don’t agree, ask to have changes made. Both parties will be bound by the terms of a lease, which may be for a year or longer, so it might make sense to have a landlord-tenant lawyer review the agreement.

  • Security Deposits
  • Upon renting a property in the state of California, the tenant will generally be required by the landlord to pay a security deposit. This is money that protects the landlord in the event that the tenant breaks a lease or otherwise violates the terms and conditions set forth in the rental agreement.

    Security deposits are sometimes negotiable between the landlord and renter, but the maximum amount that may be charged is two times the amount of the rent in an unfurnished apartment and up to three times the amount of the rent in a furnished apartment. A landlord-tenant lawyer may be consulted if this amount is not in accordance with the laws of California.

    The landlord may use the security deposit for four different reasons:

    • To cover any unpaid rent when the lease is terminated.
    • To clean the rental when the tenant vacates the rental, bringing the rental back to the same condition when the tenant moved in to the unit.
    • To pay for any damages caused by the tenant other than the normal wear and tear caused by daily living in the unit.
    • To replace personal property of the owner such as furniture or drapes, beyond normal wear and tear, as long as that provision is spelled out in the lease/rental agreement.
       

    The landlord’s security deposit must be returned to the renter within twenty-one days after the tenant vacates the property. Either the full amount must be returned or a portion of the deposit with a letter explaining why the full amount is not returned. When landlords deduct money for repairs, they should also provide copies of receipts for work done, unless the amount was less than $ or the tenant waived their right to get the receipts. Additionally, the landlord may keep money for the reasons stated above.

  • Landlord Rights
  • A landlord is generally defined as the person or company that owns property such as a house or apartment. They may deal directly with tenants when renting/leasing their property or may assign those duties to someone else, such as a management company.

    Landlord rights and expectations related to the rental of their property include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • The right to enforce the terms and conditions agreed upon in a verbal or written landlord-tenant agreement. The written lease will provide certain protections to a landlord. A verbal agreement, although it may be more difficult to prove, may also afford the landlord certain rights.
    • A landlord will be entitled to timely payment of rent.
    • Landlords have the right to have their property used for lawful purposes only; i.e., dealing or the manufacture of drugs on their property or the possession of unlawful firearms or ammunition is prohibited.
    • According to the landlord-tenant agreement, landlords may expect that their tenants maintain the property, that they do not damage the premises and that they do not interfere with the rights of other residents.
    • Landlords may limit the number of people living in their property as long as they are not violating any discrimination laws.
    • A landlord has the right to prevent tenants from subleasing their property unless a lease allows it.
    • With proper notice, whether it is a three-day notice for failure to pay rent or perform covenant or or day notices for other lease violations or reasons, landlord rights include repossession of the property once they have followed appropriate legal procedures. This may require the landlord to take the tenant to court.
    • A landlord may also keep some of a tenant’s security deposit as defined by the law for repairs beyond usual wear and tear, whether or not that provision is included in the landlord-tenant agreement.
  • Tenants’ Rights
  • Under California law, tenants have certain legal rights and, additionally, may have other rights governed by local laws. They may have individual tenants’ rights agreed upon through a verbal agreement with a landlord or through a lease. All tenants have some basic legal rights, whether they are written or verbal.

    Tenant legal rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • The right to have the property they have rented and maintained in livable condition.
    • The right to repairs for any serious maintenance issues that impact the health or safety of the tenant, and the right to deduct these costs from the rent if the landlord does not correct the problem in a reasonable time.
    • The right to withhold rent under certain conditions.
    • The right to have security deposits meet certain criteria, like the amount that may be imposed, and how the deposit will be returned upon vacating the property.
    • The right to prevent the landlord from entering the rental unit without proper notice; and protection from eviction when it involves retaliation from a landlord.
    • The right to proper notice and the expectation that the landlord, when seeking repossession of the property, will follow the laws governing these issues.
  • Housing Discrimination
  • The Federal Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act are part of landlord and tenant laws that prohibit discrimination. Nevertheless, there are many ways that an apartment manager, landlord, real estate salesperson or broker could violate these laws. In these cases, a tenant attorney should be consulted. Although not a complete list, the following are some examples of landlord and tenant law violations:

    • Refusing to lease, rent or sell; providing segregated housing, or terminating a sale, rental agreement or lease based on age, religion, color, race, sex or sexual orientation, pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions, disability, gender or perception of gender, ancestry, national origin, source of income, marital status or children under the age of 18 in the family.
    • Providing housing under inferior conditions, such as one having old or dangerous electrical wiring or not meeting other local building and health codes.
    • Harassing any individual in connection with current housing accommodations or their attempt to seek specific housing accommodations.
    • Telling a person that housing is not available for whatever reason when it really is available.
    • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for a person with a disability in the policies or rules (like having a service dog or pet) or services provided, or denying a person with a disability the right to make needed physical modifications to a rental unit or house at their own expense.
       

    When violations like the above are committed, it can be beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced tenant attorney. A victim of discrimination in housing as it applies to landlord and tenant laws may have some legal remedies, including but not limited to: monetary damages that could be awarded through the Court, access to the property that was formerly denied, recovery of tenant attorney fees and any other out-of pocket expenses, and possibly payment for emotional distress. Additionally, a landlord might be ordered to change their practices to prevent unlawful discrimination in the future.

  • Evictions
  • Once the tenant has been properly served with an unlawful detainer action, they must go to the appropriate courthouse to file a response (usually, within 5 calendar days of being served with the Complaint). If the tenant fails to respond to the summons and complaint served upon them, the landlord is entitled to file for a default judgment to get back possession of the property and often a judgment for money owed (for rent or damages), filing fees and possibly attorney fees.

    If the tenant responds to the summons and complaint, they will have the opportunity to present their case before a Superior Court Judge. The tenant may win the right to maintain possession, but if the tenant loses the case and is ordered to move out of the premises, upon proper service from the sheriff, they will be ordered to move within five days.

    Tenants often have questions about their personal property, and rules governing this can be found under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section , which is available on the Internet.
    A landlord or tenant may hire an attorney to represent them in an unlawful detainer proceeding. A tenant may also get help in completing their response paperwork through the Unlawful Detainer Clinic program.

Sours: https://www.sdcba.org/?pg=Landlord


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