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  1. #1
    Kent168 Guest

    Angry

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new here. I am in an apartment in Los Angeles, California. The landlord here have been everything but helpful in these past few months that we've been living here. I'm a college student living with 3 other roommates. Last night somebody broke our sliding window. Unfortunately we didn't get to see who it was that did it. We filed a police report and the official report says that this is caused by "Vandalism by Suspect(s) Unknown". When we finally talked with our manager tonight, he accused us of breaking the window and then tell us to pay for it ourselves. I am wondering if what he is doing is legal? The still broken window is a pretty dangerous thing to have around since most of the glass shards are still hanging on the window, and they vibrate with the wind. Is the landlord responsible for fixing this result caused by an act of vandalism? Or are we responsible for it ourselves? Thanks.
  2. #2
    LL Guest

    "Vandalism by Suspect(s) Unknown"

    No one will believe that you didn't break the window yourself.

    Have the window fixed and pay for it.
  3. #3
    Kent168 Guest

    Smile Reply

    LL, are you saying this because you're a landlord? =)
  4. #4
    LL Guest

    "Vandalism by Suspect(s) Unknown"

    No, I'm saying it based on my experience, including in court.

    I have been through this experience more than once. I take the initiative, have the window fixed myself, and pay for it, bill the tenant including deducting from the security deposit when necessary including charging for my time to find workers and supervise them. I have defended against challenges in Small Claims court and won every time, without effort.

    By the way, if my experience would show otherwise, I would tell you.
  5. #5
    lunchldyd Guest
    It would seem to me that you shouldn't be responsible for an act of vandalism. You've filed a police report and there are four of you who can all say you didn't do it. I don't know the legality of it, but it seems to me that this is a logical conclusion. For your own safety though, get it repaired ASAP. Safety is more important than cost, ultimately.
  6. #6
    Kent168 Guest

    Question Physics

    LL,
    Interestingly, most of the glass shards are inside the house. This suggest the possibility that a projectile hit the window from the out side, since this pattern follows a basic law of physics, "conservation of momentum".
    -K
  7. #7
    LL Guest

    "Vandalism by Suspect(s) Unknown"

    As you have come to realize from my posting, the biggest problem here is to prove, in court or to the landlord, that you didn't do it. Actually, I have never found a code section that deals with this, but there is a code section that says that the landlord doesn't have to repair a broken window if the tenant caused it, even if it makes the apartment untenantable (unlivable), and that you cannot deduct and repair or withhold rent, or break your lease because of it. However, I have had great success in court in defending against offsetting the security deposit, based on belief that the tenant did it himself. Perhaps you will have a different experience.

    Filing a Police report is not worth anything, since the report only says what you told the Police. Four of you who can all say you didn't do it are not independent witnesses, not only because they are all parties to the dispute who have something to gain, but also not independent from each other because of their close association. It may seem logical that the tenant shouldn't be responsible for an act of vandalism, but it is equally logical that the tenant should not be able to escape from his own vandalism at the landlord's expense. Thus, as you can see, the problem can easily be reduced to a question of who really did it. I am not trying to discourage you, but only sharing my experience.

    Let me share another perspective with you. Your longer-term relationship with the landlord may be more important to you, although you may not realize it right now. Other postings complain of getting 30-days notice after making the landlord angry. If you gave me a hard time I might not renew your lease. Be careful not to get yourself written down in a tenant screening data base. In another recent posting to someone in the Los Angeles area, I advised her to go find a better place to live, before rents go up later this year, and she still has time to make herself into most-favorable-tenant status to help against large rent increases. A recent posting elsewhere in the country complained bitterly about a $100 increase. Yet another posting complained about not all tenants getting the same increase every year. According to recent research reports that I receive, rents on the Westside of L.A., for example, are expected to increase an average of 12% this year, after 2 years of double-digit increases.

    Even if you are right on principle, sometimes the system can't get everything right. Its like saying that you can never have a 100% efficient system (second law of thermodynamics). You might try (very professionally and friendly) to suggest a compromise to the landlord. In the meanwhile, if your landlord hasn't fixed the window, get it fixed yourself, immediately.

    Please keep in mind that you are not my tenant, and that its not me that is trying to get your money. I expect that what you wrote in for, is for me to share my experience and insight with you, and that is what I tried to do.
    I hope that you got your money's worth.

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