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Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Chen’s Answers

23,777 total


  • Should I try to get back rents paid after finding that studio apartment I'm renting is not legal?

    I was told yesterday by L.A. building inspectors that the studio-apt I've rented the past 18 months is not registered ~ thus illegal. It's now the 22nd. and rent is due on the 1st. Assuming I'm no longer required to give 30 days notice, would this...

    Frank’s Answer

    Not registered with RSO is not the same thing as illegal. Unless the building is being "red tagged" this would not be considered constructive eviction. If the apartment were illegal, then under the case of Gruzen v. Henry (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 515, the landlord is not entitled to collect or request any rent. If the landlord were trying to evict you, you might be entitled to relocation assistance. If you are voluntarily moving out, you would not. A landlord (owner of the rental unit) or manager (the person who signs the rental agreement or lease on the owner's behalf) must give the tenant a copy of the lease or rental agreement within 15 days after the tenant signs it, pursuant to California Civil Code section 1962(a)(4). Specifically, California Civil Code section 1962 provides as follows:

    "(a) Any owner of a dwelling structure specified in Section
    1961 or a party signing a rental agreement or lease on behalf of the
    owner shall do all of the following:

    (1) Disclose therein the name, telephone number, and usual street
    address at which personal service may be effected of each person who
    is:

    (A) Authorized to manage the premises.
    (B) An owner of the premises or a person who is authorized to act
    for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process
    and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for all notices and
    demands.

    (2) Disclose therein the name, telephone number, and address of
    the person or entity to whom rent payments shall be made.
    (A) If rent payments may be made personally, the usual days and
    hours that the person will be available to receive the payments shall
    also be disclosed.
    (B) At the owner's option, the rental agreement or lease shall
    instead disclose the number of either:
    (i) The account in a financial institution into which rent
    payments may be made, and the name and street address of the
    institution; provided that the institution is located within five
    miles of the rental property.
    (ii) The information necessary to establish an electronic funds
    transfer procedure for paying the rent.

    (3) Disclose therein the form or forms in which rent payments are
    to be made.

    (4) Provide a copy of the rental agreement or lease to the tenant
    within 15 days of its execution by the tenant. Once each calendar
    year thereafter, upon request by the tenant, the owner or owner's
    agent shall provide an additional copy to the tenant within 15 days.
    If the owner or owner's agent does not possess the rental agreement
    or lease or a copy of it, the owner or owner's agent shall instead
    furnish the tenant with a written statement stating that fact and
    containing the information required by paragraphs (1), (2), and (3)
    of subdivision (a). "

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  • 45 (?) Day Notice to Move Out?

    Sent my landlord a termination notice for September 22. I have a 45 day move out clause so I sent notice way in advance of that. She has a termination clause stating "notice as provided by law." Apparently she got confused and used a 30 day form,...

    Frank’s Answer

    If your lease or rental agreement requires you to provide 45 days notice and your landlord served you with a 30 day notice to terminate, it would probably not constitute retailatory eviction. If you did not move out within the 30 days, the landlord could file an unlawful detainer lawsuit against you, and you could raise the defective notice issue as an affirmative defense. The unlawful detainer lawsuit will probably take 45 days to process, which may give you sufficient time. However, it is best to avoid having any unlawful detainer lawsuit filed against you, so you should probably retain a tenant's attorney to advocate for you on this one.

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  • They don't want to keep my security deposit and let me add the remaining amount while i'm going back to another country

    Hi, I have a problem with the place I'm living now and I want to know if it's normal. actually, I terminated my lease earlier so I had to pay a month and the termination fee . all the rent due have been paid and now the thing is the termination fe...

    Frank’s Answer

    It is not normal. Since the landlord must comply with Civil Code section 1950.5, the landlord does not have to apply the deposit to pay the early termination fee. Nevertheless, it would be the easiest method to ensure that the landlord gets paid the early termination fee. No, none of these civil matters (even if litigated) will affect your ability to return to the U.S. in the future.

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  • I rent a room from this landlord who constantly harassing me, insult me and called me names. Do I have any legal recourse?

    she acted like a super sweet harmless old woman when I looked at the place to rent 3 months ago. she appeared like a harmless "victim" again when she tried to rent this room to another unsuspecting guy. I just hope the poor guy wasn't fooled. I...

    Frank’s Answer

    You can sue in small claims court for failure to return your security deposit if you do not receive your security deposit back within 21 days after you moved out. Under California Civil Code section 1950.5, within 21 calendar days after a tenant moves out, the landlord must either send a full refund of the security deposit, or mail or personally deliver to the tenant an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from the security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted.

    Pursuant to Civil Code section 1950.5, the landlord may only use the tenant's security deposit for four purposes:

    1) For unpaid rent;

    2) For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out (but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in);

    3) For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant's guests; and

    4) If the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings, or other items of personal property other than because of normal wear and tear.

    Your claim for other damages for harassment, however, would be very difficult to prove or to quantify as monetary damages.

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  • What kind of attorney would fight for my rights after an eviction?

    Evicted Apr 1, 2015. Posted on the front door, the new landlord had 15 days to keep our personal property and animals safe. On April 6th our neighbors called us and said that our belongings were out in the front yard and the 3 indoor cats were a...

    Frank’s Answer

    If you could afford a lawyer, you need to look for a tenant's lawyer. Otherwise, each of you might be better off filing separate small claims court lawsuits. It is much faster, and you can each represent yourself without an attorney. Each small claims court lawsuit can award up to a maximum of $10,000.

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  • Will the court provide a refund of court fees if I have already paid, and will the accept Court Fee Waiver now ?

    Pro Per - Civil Unlimited Auto accident.

    Frank’s Answer

    Not likely. If you already paid the first appearance fee, it is unlikely the court will grant a fee waiver application AND provide a refund. However, if your financial situation has changed since the time you filed your complaint, you can file a Form FW-001 to waive other fees, and also a Request To Waive Additional Court Fees (Form FW-002).

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  • Records

    Had to substitute lawyer out and go in pro per. What is appropriate with regards to asking lawyer to a) handover my file /records and b) delete them from their record given they no longer represent me. With regards to second question are they unde...

    Frank’s Answer

    You are the client, and it is YOUR file. You are entitled to the original file, the entire file. If the attorney wants to make a copy, the attorney can do so at the attorney's own expense (unless your retainer agreement says that you agree to pay for the photocopying costs). See California Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-700 Termination of Employment (D).

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  • Is it ok to share previous companys payslip with new employer without breach of confidentiality agreements?

    my new employer is asking for paystubs from last employer for visa purposes .... is it ok to share ?

    Frank’s Answer

    Most likely, it is okay. However, it is not possible to provide any opinion without having reviewed the actual confidentiality agreement in question.

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  • Can I sue my former employer for forcing me to terminate my employment?

    With no previous issues in my personnel file, my employer put me on a performance improvement plan and gave me 30 days to change o r lose my position. I was already under stress and was attending counseling sessions. I could not change what was be...

    Frank’s Answer

    A lawsuit against your former employer would not be a panacea, especially if you voluntarily stepped down. An employer can terminate an employee "at will", unless there is a written employment agreement. You might possibily have a claim for disability discrimination, but an attorney would need to analyze more facts regarding your stress and work performance.

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  • What would be the legal basis to request the judge to take pictures inside the court room ?

    Wish to take a picture of ex inside the courtroom for memories. Can I make a motion ?

    Frank’s Answer

    That would not likely be a valid basis. For more information on this topic, see California Rules of Court Rule 1.150.

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