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  1. #1
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Is this landlord harassment?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    My family and I are renting a unit from a woman who is a neat freak. She spends hours every day doing nothing but scrubbing and cleaning her house and making sure her property is spotless. While I appreciate her desire for everything to be in tip-top shape and perfect, both my husband and I work long hours self-employed in hard working jobs. Yes, we have been known to be a bit lax sometimes about scrubbing the kitchen, bathroom, floors, walls, etc., and by that I mean not spending several hours every single day making sure things are "her version" of perfectly spotless clean. Our home is generally cleaned on a twice-weekly basis, like bathroom twice a week, kitchen twice a week, vaccuuming/scrubbing floor twice per week and so forth. Dishes are done mostly on a daily basis (sometimes there will be a few dishes in the sink that need to be washed, small things like that). We are not letting trash pile up everywhere and letting things get unsanitary to the point of being really filthy! We're clean people who just do not have hours upon hours every day to devote to cleaning.

    On our one year move-in anniversary she scheduled an inspection of the dwelling just to see how we were doing in our housekeeping (i.e., how clean the unit is). We thought fair enough, knowing that she is such a clean freak that was not too much to ask. Her list was very long of all the things she wanted to inspect, After spending 2.5 days scrubbing the place from front to back, top to bottom, all she could nitpick were a few little things (like there were tiny waterspots on the kitchen blinds, carpet needed to be shampooed in one little spot, a few light bulbs were burned out). Nothing major.

    A couple of weeks ago she gave us notice that we were NOT keeping her unit clean to her standards (which I honestly think is impossible), that she was scheduling another inspection immediately, that she was going to do monthly inspections just to see how clean the place was and that if we refused to allow her entry to do these constant cleanliness inspections she would barge into the unit every week, clean the place herself and charge us for the cleaning. Then a few days later she admitted that she had come into the unit when we were not home, without our permission and without any notice, and was "horrified" at how dirty the dwelling was.

    Is this legal? I myself am horrified that a landlord would think this sort of thing is okay. Does she have the right to dictate how often we have to scrub the floor? Clean the bathroom? Make the bed? Wash the stove? Again we are NOT dirty people but this just seems ridiculous.

    Thanks for any answers.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StacyInCalif View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    My family and I are renting a unit from a woman who is a neat freak. She spends hours every day doing nothing but scrubbing and cleaning her house and making sure her property is spotless. While I appreciate her desire for everything to be in tip-top shape and perfect, both my husband and I work long hours self-employed in hard working jobs. Yes, we have been known to be a bit lax sometimes about scrubbing the kitchen, bathroom, floors, walls, etc., and by that I mean not spending several hours every single day making sure things are "her version" of perfectly spotless clean. Our home is generally cleaned on a twice-weekly basis, like bathroom twice a week, kitchen twice a week, vaccuuming/scrubbing floor twice per week and so forth. Dishes are done mostly on a daily basis (sometimes there will be a few dishes in the sink that need to be washed, small things like that). We are not letting trash pile up everywhere and letting things get unsanitary to the point of being really filthy! We're clean people who just do not have hours upon hours every day to devote to cleaning.

    On our one year move-in anniversary she scheduled an inspection of the dwelling just to see how we were doing in our housekeeping (i.e., how clean the unit is). We thought fair enough, knowing that she is such a clean freak that was not too much to ask. Her list was very long of all the things she wanted to inspect, After spending 2.5 days scrubbing the place from front to back, top to bottom, all she could nitpick were a few little things (like there were tiny waterspots on the kitchen blinds, carpet needed to be shampooed in one little spot, a few light bulbs were burned out). Nothing major.

    A couple of weeks ago she gave us notice that we were NOT keeping her unit clean to her standards (which I honestly think is impossible), that she was scheduling another inspection immediately, that she was going to do monthly inspections just to see how clean the place was and that if we refused to allow her entry to do these constant cleanliness inspections she would barge into the unit every week, clean the place herself and charge us for the cleaning. Then a few days later she admitted that she had come into the unit when we were not home, without our permission and without any notice, and was "horrified" at how dirty the dwelling was.

    Is this legal? I myself am horrified that a landlord would think this sort of thing is okay. Does she have the right to dictate how often we have to scrub the floor? Clean the bathroom? Make the bed? Wash the stove? Again we are NOT dirty people but this just seems ridiculous.

    Thanks for any answers.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    She is not allowed inspections for the purposes of checking up on your housekeeping. Realistically...why would you want to continue renting at a place like this?
  3. #3
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    She is not allowed inspections for the purposes of checking up on your housekeeping. Realistically...why would you want to continue renting at a place like this?
    Several reasons, actually, but excellent question. The rent is affordable, and not many places in our area are. The area is convenient to where I work and where most of my husband's jobs are (both our clientele are in the immediate area). There are a number of other personal considerations, too. We have continued to look for another suitable rental, but just cannot afford the rent they are asking. So, until we win the lottery or get some sort of other windfall, we're stuck unless the landlord tries to evict us for not being her version of clean (which were her words ~ that we had to keep the place "my version of clean"). Then I truly do not know what we're going to do and that is why we want to remain on good terms with the landlord and are afraid of making her mad at us. It is a quandary for sure.

    And thank you for the answer, that was my thought as well.
  4. #4
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    As stated before, your LL cannot enter your premises for the purpose of a cleaning inspection, nor can she enter, clean and charge you for it.

    I would inform LL you will make your best effor to keep the place clean, however she cannot continue to do what she is doing. Also inform LL that entering your unit without your permission OR notice is legally considered a breaking and entering which is punishable by law.
  5. #5
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Who's Liable? View Post
    As stated before, your LL cannot enter your premises for the purpose of a cleaning inspection, nor can she enter, clean and charge you for it.

    I would inform LL you will make your best effor to keep the place clean, however she cannot continue to do what she is doing. Also inform LL that entering your unit without your permission OR notice is legally considered a breaking and entering which is punishable by law.
    Thank you very much. We actually printed out text of the pertinent CA landlord/tenant law from the leginfo.ca.gov site as well as the CA Dept of Consumer Affairs landlord/tenant brochure and when we talk to her tomorrow (when she wants to do the next "cleanliness inspection") we will be giving this information to her.

    Unfortunately we suspect she is doing this to try getting us to move voluntarily, and because we are afraid of being evicted we want to keep the peace. We do not want an eviction on our record!! So that sort of puts in a stalemate ~ her stance is if we refuse any of her requests she will evict us immediately, and I am afraid if we try to stand our ground against her illegal behavior she will go ahead and do just that.

    Would that be considered a retaliatory eviction and could we fight it? We just really do not know what to do, as we really cannot afford to move again at this time and there is nowhere else suitable within our price range.
  6. #6
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Your LL is a nut case , tell her you have hidden web cams in the house that will record all entries when your not home and if she continues to enter when your not home and with out valid reason you will start filing police reports of her illegal entry and speak to a atty about suing her , and tell her If she has any doubt to consult her own atty about consequences of illegal entry and harrassing behaviour. Dont expect a lease renewal unless of course she actually gets help for her OCD and later learns to relax about it.
  7. #7
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Well here we are one month later and the same old, same old is still going on. We emailed her a letter with an explanation that what she is doing is against the law (inspections for cleanliness, coming into the unit without warning while we are not home to see how clean the place is) and she is ignoring it. She is demanding an inspection and has threatened us with eviction.

    Does anyone know what agency in California (San Bernardino County) I would speak with about this sort of thing? Would it be state or county? Can I file a complaint against the landlord? Until we can afford to move, we feel like we are stuck and just want to live in peace not being badgered by the landlord about things she should not legally be able to do.

    Thanks.
  8. #8
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StacyInCalif View Post
    Well here we are one month later and the same old, same old is still going on. We emailed her a letter with an explanation that what she is doing is against the law (inspections for cleanliness, coming into the unit without warning while we are not home to see how clean the place is) and she is ignoring it. She is demanding an inspection and has threatened us with eviction.

    Does anyone know what agency in California (San Bernardino County) I would speak with about this sort of thing? Would it be state or county? Can I file a complaint against the landlord? Until we can afford to move, we feel like we are stuck and just want to live in peace not being badgered by the landlord about things she should not legally be able to do.

    Thanks.

    Well, probably as soon as you complain to the attorney general, she is going to give you your 60 day notice. i dont think thats covered in retalitory evictions.


    maybe you would concider letting her clean the place like once a month to her standard. (and good for you ) for a reasonable fee....

    (sorry no spell check on this computer )
  9. #9
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    The Attorney General has no jurisdiction in a situation like this. But if they did, of if you filed a formal complaint with any other agency against her, it would be covered under retaliatory eviction statutes here in CA.

    CCP 1942.5(c) states:
    It is unlawful for a lessor to increase rent, decrease services, cause a lessee to quit involuntarily, bring an action to recover possession, or threaten to do any of those acts, for the purpose of retaliating against the lessee because he or she has lawfully organized or participated in a lessees' association or an organization advocating lessees' rights or has lawfully and peaceably exercised any rights under the law. In an action brought by or against the lessee pursuant to this subdivision, the lessee shall bear the burden of producing evidence that the lessor's conduct was, in fact, retaliatory.

    Write the LL a final letter (send it certified mail return receipt requested) warning that she would find herself in court fighting a retaliatory eviction case if she fails to cease and desist immediately. Then hire a good attorney to protect your interests from now until your lease end. In CA, I would recommend checking with CalTenantLaw ([url=http://www.caltenantlaw.com]California Tenant Law - Free legal advice for California renters[/url]). The attorneys there are tenant advocates who handle these things both with legal advice, preparation of court papers for self-representation, and court representation when needed if you are in their local area (Los Angeles area). Otherwise, they can prepare a formal legal letter and send to the LL to warn them off the path of what is surely a losing battle on their part.
  10. #10
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyclaus View Post
    The Attorney General has no jurisdiction in a situation like this. But if they did, of if you filed a formal complaint with any other agency against her, it would be covered under retaliatory eviction statutes here in CA.

    CCP 1942.5(c) states:
    It is unlawful for a lessor to increase rent, decrease services, cause a lessee to quit involuntarily, bring an action to recover possession, or threaten to do any of those acts, for the purpose of retaliating against the lessee because he or she has lawfully organized or participated in a lessees' association or an organization advocating lessees' rights or has lawfully and peaceably exercised any rights under the law. In an action brought by or against the lessee pursuant to this subdivision, the lessee shall bear the burden of producing evidence that the lessor's conduct was, in fact, retaliatory.

    Write the LL a final letter (send it certified mail return receipt requested) warning that she would find herself in court fighting a retaliatory eviction case if she fails to cease and desist immediately. Then hire a good attorney to protect your interests from now until your lease end. In CA, I would recommend checking with CalTenantLaw ([url=http://www.caltenantlaw.com]California Tenant Law - Free legal advice for California renters[/url]). The attorneys there are tenant advocates who handle these things both with legal advice, preparation of court papers for self-representation, and court representation when needed if you are in their local area (Los Angeles area). Otherwise, they can prepare a formal legal letter and send to the LL to warn them off the path of what is surely a losing battle on their part.
    That is good news, thank you for the correction
  11. #11
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Well, the good news is we moved and have FABULOUS landlords on a much nicer (and far far larger) property in a beautiful home AND we're paying less rent! This is truly a Godsend.

    The bad news is in relation to another thread I posted this evening, that people who are stalking and harassing me befriended the former landlord in an effort to get me evicted, which is what lead in large part to the ex-landlord making unreasonable demands on us. So much of this makes sense now.

    However, even though we not only were already in the process of moving (completed June 11th), she filed for unlawful detainer against us on June 10th. We left the place PERFECTLY spotless, and cleaned/scrubbed the home from top to bottom, in addition to ensuring that the entire property was in the same condition as when we moved in. Therefore, nothing for her to complain about. Right?

    Wrong. Due to pressure from the crazy people stalking and harassing me, she decided to pursue this UD. She has been relying on them to pay for feeding her animals and help with her bills since she lost her job some months ago. I actually have a former friend of the stalkers/harassers giving me statements which can go to the court proving these facts. Now ex-landlord is claiming we owe her money for utilities (which were included in our rent, and we even had a rent increase of $100 per month in January 2010 to pay for that) and she altered her copy of the rental agreement (then proceeded to give us a copy of the altered agreement).

    Also, several times she gave us various notices to the point where it was so confusing it's all ridiculous. First a demand to pay her some amount by a certain date, then a 30 day notice to vacate before that time period expired, then rescinding the 30 day and giving us a 3 day notice to pay various amounts, then another 30 day notice...what a mess. We made her a deal, in writing, and she is now once again going back on that deal, no doubt due to pressure from my stalkers/harassers.

    Long story short ~ she is still taking this forward to a court date next week. Apparently she is still trying to claim we owe her money or some sort of labor, which is ridiculous. Of course this is retaliatory, and just an ugly mess that she allowed herself to be involved in just to cause harm to myself, my business and my family. In fact, she has allowed many libelous things to be posted on public forums across the internet in her name about me without remorse and refuses to take responsibility for them.

    My question after this long-windedness is this: Can I countersue her for aiding in the stalking and harassment? I have no doubt her UD claim will be dismissed, because there is no merit and we moved the day after she filed (not to mention she told me repeatedly that she would NOT file for eviction because she knew we were moving and we had agreed to do everything she wanted us to do in order to leave the place in A1 condition). But since she has been a part of the harassment herself (and even allowed the stalkers access to my home and animals by actually giving them a key to our front gate, among other things), would I have a case against her? How would I go about pursuing that?

    Thanks in advance.

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