Author Topic: Landlord Inspections WWYD?  (Read 767 times)

LightStache

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Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« on: August 04, 2022, 08:05:58 PM »
On background, I'm renting a semi-fancy 1 br. apartment in coastal LA owned by a megacorp. I'm also a former landlord, so not a hater, and it's also relevant that my latest rent increase was limited by state-wide rent control.

LL sent a notice late July 26 that they would be conducting annual "LA County required" inspections starting at 9a on July 28.

Being privacy minded I don't like random people inspecting my home, but LA City does inspect units every four years, so a similar County mandate is plausible. I tried to lookup the county ordinance with no success, so I emailed the LL asking for more information about it.

LL didn't respond, so the morning of the 28th I emailed them again, citing the state statute that prohibits them from entering my unit without my consent and stating that I don't consent to their entry. LL replied that they forwarded my email to the maintenance team.

When I came home on Jul 28, I found evidence that they had entered my unit. I emailed LL again for an explanation and got no response. Then I called the management office to talk to the manager, but instead of a call back I get an email from a representative. It cites a section of my lease that includes "The parties further agree that Landlord or Landlord's agents may enter the Premises for any reasonable business purpose at reasonable times, including without limitation to perform repairs, renovations or make improvements." This is already a long post, so I'll refrain from sharing my many thoughts on this term.

I replied to the LL again, asking about the supposed County requirement, but they haven't responded. I also called the County and they weren't familiar with any such program, so I'm pretty sure that was a lie.

Going back to rent control, I suspect these inspections are really to uncover lease violations to evict rent controlled tenants like me. I've been at the property for over four years and my last increase in the Spring was the first time rent control was limiting. The property management generally gives no shits about my requests, so I really doubt they're doing these inspections for benevolent reasons.

So at this point I'm debating whether to file a complaint with the government or just let it go. The strictly rational part of me says just bend over and take it. The idealistic privacy guy says make them suffer so they cease the inspections. What would you do?

Sibley

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2022, 08:20:18 PM »
When I lived in California, there were annual property inspections. I believe they were:
1. checking that you weren't trashing the place
2. checking/replacing smoke detectors - and as such were probably required by the fire marshal.

You RENT. You do not own. Therefore, they do have the right to enter your unit after appropriate notice. You received that notice. You don't have to like it, but that is the facts of the situation when you RENT.

Start looking for somewhere else to live, because you should not be surprised if they decline to renew your lease.

LightStache

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2022, 08:46:58 PM »
When I lived in California, there were annual property inspections. I believe they were:
1. checking that you weren't trashing the place
2. checking/replacing smoke detectors - and as such were probably required by the fire marshal.

You RENT. You do not own. Therefore, they do have the right to enter your unit after appropriate notice. You received that notice. You don't have to like it, but that is the facts of the situation when you RENT.

Start looking for somewhere else to live, because you should not be surprised if they decline to renew your lease.


No. Cal Civ Code Sec. 1954 prohibits landlords from entering to ensure that you aren't trashing the place. And AB 1482 prevents landlords from declining to renew a lease without just cause. "That is the facts."

If they're conducting inspections to find just cause to evict rent controlled tenants like me, that would be very illegal.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2022, 08:53:14 PM »
You'll never get inspections to stop. Most lease language just says they have to give advance notice before entering. You cited that language, and signed to it on your lease. Not sure what you're thinking at this point. And a quick google search indicates multiple government mandated apartment visits in Los Angeles. Just because you called someone in the "government" doesn't mean they'd know what you're talking about. The government in CA, especially in LA, is massive. Plus, apartment communities sometimes do sweeps of all apartments to do things like change filters, change CO alarm batteries, safety check balconies, etc.

The only solution is to either deal with it, or coordinate with the landlord in a reasonable way so that you are home when the visits occur.

https://housing.lacity.org/rental-property-owners/inspections-and-fees
http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/inspection/housing-inspection.htm

Source: I used to work as a leasing agent for apartments, for a Megacorp.

Freedomin5

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2022, 11:57:33 PM »
What would I do?

I am both a landlord of a luxury condo unit and a tenant (on an expat assignment, so I'm renting out my place in my home country and renting a place in the country where I work).

As a landlord, I would not be pleased if my tenant got pissy about an annual safety inspection, especially since the inspection was ANNUAL, as in, it's a reasonable request. And especially if it was arranged by the property management company for all the units in the building, as in, no one is trying to single the tenant out. I would also not appreciate the tenant thinking malicious thoughts about me trying to kick them out of their rent-controlled apartment, with no evidence other than that I would like to inspect the unit that I own. My tenant is currently paying about 20% below market rate because they've lived in my unit for around 7 years, and my city has rent control.

In fact, refusing a standard annual safety inspection would make me suspect that the tenant is doing something illegal in the apartment or has violated terms of the lease and is trying to hide something untoward.

It would be much worse if the tenant refused because "Privacy!", and as a result, safety hazards are unidentified, and the tenant dies or gets hurt because something faulty in the apartment wasn't fixed, and then the tenant or tenant's surviving family sues me for not providing a safe environment.

As a tenant, if the requests to enter the apartment are infrequent, then I don't see why they shouldn't have the right to inspect their multi-million dollar property that they own and to make sure that everything is in good working order.


clarkfan1979

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2022, 04:50:03 AM »
What would I do?

I am both a landlord of a luxury condo unit and a tenant (on an expat assignment, so I'm renting out my place in my home country and renting a place in the country where I work).

As a landlord, I would not be pleased if my tenant got pissy about an annual safety inspection, especially since the inspection was ANNUAL, as in, it's a reasonable request. And especially if it was arranged by the property management company for all the units in the building, as in, no one is trying to single the tenant out. I would also not appreciate the tenant thinking malicious thoughts about me trying to kick them out of their rent-controlled apartment, with no evidence other than that I would like to inspect the unit that I own. My tenant is currently paying about 20% below market rate because they've lived in my unit for around 7 years, and my city has rent control.

In fact, refusing a standard annual safety inspection would make me suspect that the tenant is doing something illegal in the apartment or has violated terms of the lease and is trying to hide something untoward.

It would be much worse if the tenant refused because "Privacy!", and as a result, safety hazards are unidentified, and the tenant dies or gets hurt because something faulty in the apartment wasn't fixed, and then the tenant or tenant's surviving family sues me for not providing a safe environment.

As a tenant, if the requests to enter the apartment are infrequent, then I don't see why they shouldn't have the right to inspect their multi-million dollar property that they own and to make sure that everything is in good working order.

What would I do?

I do inspections on my properties once every 6 months. I look to see if anything needs repair and I look to see if the tenant is trashing the place. If they are trashing the place, then they do not get the chance to re-rent when the lease expires.

nereo

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2022, 04:52:01 AM »
I would let it go. 
Iím not sure what - if any - legal or moral ground you have to stand upon here.  You signed a contract which appears to give them this right, and they gave you ample warning. I get that you do not like others to come into your home without your permission, but what youíve described suggested nothing more than a planned, brief walk-through of your unit - unless there is more than what you are telling here.

You are worried that they are doing this as a pretense to evicting a rent-controlled tenant such as you - thatís a possibility though entirely circumspect at this point. IF they try to evict you THEN you can make the legal argument, but it has to be based on facts and evidence, not simply ďIím pretty sure they want to make more money renting it to someone elseĒ, because thatís a given.

I would advise against filing a complaint with the local government simply because thereís nothing here that would warrant their intervention and you would be wasting some other personís time. What is your expected outcome should you file a complaint? As I see it, they will contact the property management, ask some very basic questions (was the tenant told in advance - Yes. What was the purpose - Annual inspection) and that will be about it. They cannot (and should not) do anything without evidence wrongdoing.

Sibley

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2022, 12:42:40 PM »
When I lived in California, there were annual property inspections. I believe they were:
1. checking that you weren't trashing the place
2. checking/replacing smoke detectors - and as such were probably required by the fire marshal.

You RENT. You do not own. Therefore, they do have the right to enter your unit after appropriate notice. You received that notice. You don't have to like it, but that is the facts of the situation when you RENT.

Start looking for somewhere else to live, because you should not be surprised if they decline to renew your lease.


No. Cal Civ Code Sec. 1954 prohibits landlords from entering to ensure that you aren't trashing the place. And AB 1482 prevents landlords from declining to renew a lease without just cause. "That is the facts."

If they're conducting inspections to find just cause to evict rent controlled tenants like me, that would be very illegal.

I didn't say that not trashing the place was the official reason. It was the real reason. The official reason was the annual safety inspection.

However, turn this around. What would you think if you were the landlord and your tenant got all pissy because you did a routine, properly noticed inspection?

You're being unreasonable here. Drop it. If you don't like having routine inspections, then buy your own home.

LightStache

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2022, 01:54:51 PM »
Ugh, ok finnneeeee.... ;)

I think my overreaction is a combination of 1) basically being on the other side of this for my day job and 2) being pretty dissatisfied with my LL prior to this.

I've been low key pissed at my LL for awhile. The management office says 'yes' to me then they don't follow through. I do maintenance and repairs myself because when they do it, it's such low quality. So it's absurd to me that they would do these inspections with noble intentions when they don't even fulfill my requests.

nereo

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2022, 02:14:24 PM »
Ugh, ok finnneeeee.... ;)

I think my overreaction is a combination of 1) basically being on the other side of this for my day job and 2) being pretty dissatisfied with my LL prior to this.

I've been low key pissed at my LL for awhile. The management office says 'yes' to me then they don't follow through. I do maintenance and repairs myself because when they do it, it's such low quality. So it's absurd to me that they would do these inspections with noble intentions when they don't even fulfill my requests.

It might be time to start looking for a new place. If you are staying because you have such a screaming good deal on rent - well you've got to decide what's more important.

I'm not saying the management's intensions are 'noble' - all likelihood they are looking out for their own interests, and quite possibly don't give a hoot about you personally.  You are just a customer to them, a source of revenue. If there's not a great reason to stay, don't.  But they seem fully within their rights to do a walkthrough once per year given your lease agreement.  It is what it is...

clarkfan1979

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2022, 06:13:41 AM »
Ugh, ok finnneeeee.... ;)

I think my overreaction is a combination of 1) basically being on the other side of this for my day job and 2) being pretty dissatisfied with my LL prior to this.

I've been low key pissed at my LL for awhile. The management office says 'yes' to me then they don't follow through. I do maintenance and repairs myself because when they do it, it's such low quality. So it's absurd to me that they would do these inspections with noble intentions when they don't even fulfill my requests.

It might be time to start looking for a new place. If you are staying because you have such a screaming good deal on rent - well you've got to decide what's more important.

I'm not saying the management's intensions are 'noble' - all likelihood they are looking out for their own interests, and quite possibly don't give a hoot about you personally.  You are just a customer to them, a source of revenue. If there's not a great reason to stay, don't.  But they seem fully within their rights to do a walkthrough once per year given your lease agreement.  It is what it is...

+1

If you don't like it, it might be time to move. If you like the really low rent, then you have to deal with what comes with that. I don't really see a way of having it both ways.

lucenzo11

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2022, 07:31:06 AM »
Some thoughts:

- LA County has a website that lists all their public health inspections for apartment buildings. Check that to see if your apartment building is on there: https://ehservices.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ezsearch If it is then the intentions were probably better than you are thinking.
- For my general info, can you share the statue that allows you to deny access to the apartment? Everything that I see says that you could refuse entry, but only if they did not provide adequate notice, they were requesting access frequently, or they did not provide a reason. They did provide a reason so I'm not sure if you had a legal basis for refusing the inspection. You may not have liked or believed the reason, but their reason would probably hold up in a court unless you could prove that they lied about the county inspections.
- You denied permission to enter your unit on the day of the inspections. Even if they forwarded it onto management, it's entirely plausible that management didn't see the email in time. Still not right, but the timeline is tight here.
- As for the lease item that grants them access, I think this is pretty typical of rental agreements, but it's very broad, so I do not like it either. However, I'm not sure the legality of a lease term that is more stringent than the law. Would need to talk to a lawyer on that. Lesson learned is to read everything in your lease prior to signing and ask questions/ask for changes where needed. Tough to do with megacorp though.
- I agree with others that this is probably a let it go and find another place situation. You could report to government, but they might not do anything and megacorp probably won't even care. You could talk to a lawyer if think there may be a civil action you could take, but it's probably a waste of money and you'll end up not wanting to live there anyway.
- Back to whether the inspections were actual county inspections or not, do you have any neighbors in the building that you are friendly with and can ask if they were home for the inspections?

LightStache

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2022, 10:56:52 AM »
Some thoughts:

- LA County has a website that lists all their public health inspections for apartment buildings. Check that to see if your apartment building is on there: https://ehservices.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ezsearch If it is then the intentions were probably better than you are thinking.
- For my general info, can you share the statue that allows you to deny access to the apartment? Everything that I see says that you could refuse entry, but only if they did not provide adequate notice, they were requesting access frequently, or they did not provide a reason. They did provide a reason so I'm not sure if you had a legal basis for refusing the inspection. You may not have liked or believed the reason, but their reason would probably hold up in a court unless you could prove that they lied about the county inspections.
- You denied permission to enter your unit on the day of the inspections. Even if they forwarded it onto management, it's entirely plausible that management didn't see the email in time. Still not right, but the timeline is tight here.
- As for the lease item that grants them access, I think this is pretty typical of rental agreements, but it's very broad, so I do not like it either. However, I'm not sure the legality of a lease term that is more stringent than the law. Would need to talk to a lawyer on that. Lesson learned is to read everything in your lease prior to signing and ask questions/ask for changes where needed. Tough to do with megacorp though.
- I agree with others that this is probably a let it go and find another place situation. You could report to government, but they might not do anything and megacorp probably won't even care. You could talk to a lawyer if think there may be a civil action you could take, but it's probably a waste of money and you'll end up not wanting to live there anyway.
- Back to whether the inspections were actual county inspections or not, do you have any neighbors in the building that you are friendly with and can ask if they were home for the inspections?

Thanks, I already checked with the County and their inspections don't involve going into individual units unless there's been a complaint.

The statute that prevents landlords from entering for inspections is Cal Civ Code Sec. 1954. But as others have pointed out, the contract language seems to nullify the effect of that statute.

Whether or not that contract provision is technically enforceable, I 100% agree with @nereo that the local executive branch will not care. A court might, but that's a crapshoot.

And I know well that the letter of laws and contracts only matter sometimes and, frankly, my grievances were more from a lack of follow-through on past requests.

I kind of new I was overacting, which is why I posted on here to slow my own roll. In retrospect I wouldn't start this thread again and especially not in the landlord section haha.

So instead of filing a complaint related to the inspections, I left a mixed 3-star review on Google. Doubt that will make a difference because I don't think management in these types of buildings gives any flucks unless a tenant is in arrears on rent. Į\_(ツ)_/Į

nereo

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Re: Landlord Inspections WWYD?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2022, 01:00:43 PM »

Whether or not that contract provision is technically enforceable, I 100% agree with @nereo that the local executive branch will not care. A court might, but that's a crapshoot.


Here's your challenge though - even if you were to bring this to the courts, you are limited to what damages (in legal-speak "harm") you have actually suffered.  Which in this case could very easily be interpreted as ... nothing. There was nothing damaged, stolen or missing. You were not required to be there, and claiming your time or 'mental anguish' won't get far in such minor issues.

more likely than not, an extremely over-worked judge will just view your case as litigious and s/he won't be terribly sympathetic.