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James Coy Driscoll
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James Driscoll’s Answers

689 total


  • Is being argumentative/fighting a nuisance?

    I live in single family home (landlord and family live above me) and I live directly below the in-law unit/apt. Complained a few times regarding issues. Me and my landlord don't get along. Also there have been times when we fight and have had scre...

    James’s Answer

    San Francisco eviction laws are a minefield. This is even true for lawyers who do not practice landlord-tenant law in San Francisco; this is especially true for non-lawyers. You need to speak with an experienced tenant's lawyer IMMEDIATELY! Do not try to do this by yourself.

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  • Is it legal not to pay me for managing the apartment building and is it legal to ask me to move if I choose to leave the company

    I currently work for a non profit as a Supportive Housing Manager. I manage an SRO Hotel and a BMR apartment building. I also live as Resident Manager at the apartment building. I am very unhappy at work but have been told that if I quit my 9 year...

    James’s Answer

    I am a San Francisco tenants' attorney. Situations where a person is provided an apartment in exchange for managing the building get legally complicated. There is a question whether the person is a tenant or a licensee. There is also the issue of payment of at least minimum wage to the manager for the work done and the legal limits on how much an employer may deduct from that amount for providing housing.
    This is not an issue that you can resolve on a public website such as Avvo. You should speak with a lawyer
    experienced in landlord-tenant matters before you take any action.

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  • How long does the eviction process generally take in Los Angeles ca

    my landlord is asking me to move from the home I've been leasing for 3 1/2 years . He is giving me 45 days notice. I cannot move out that fast, as I financially cannot afford to. Shall I wait until he evicts me? What is the process. I live in She...

    James’s Answer

    Since you have lived in your home for more than one year, your landlord MUST give you at least 60 days' written notice terminating your tenancy. If you do not move at the end of the 60 days, he MUST file an eviction lawsuit (called an unlawful detainer or "UD") to evict you. He must have you served with court papers and he must eventually win the lawsuit before the sheriff will physically evict you. It is illegal for the landlord to lock you out or to turn off utilities to force you out.

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  • Landlord wants us to break our lease and move out so her daughter can move in.

    My husband and I have been living in our rental home for 5 years and the owner wants to break our lease so her pregnant daughter can move in. Our lease doesn't expire until December 2017. We have 2 children (one is in Kindergarten). Do we have ...

    James’s Answer

    Unless the lease says that the landlord can terminate the tenancy early, she is bound to the terms she agreed to. You can work out any deal you want if she wants, to buy out your rights under the lease. You should consult with a tenants' attorney before making any agreement, signing anything, or moving out.

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  • Do I have a legal right to remain in the apartment and submit 30 day notice, or do I have to be out by the first?

    My roommate informed me that her friend will be moving into my place. Our one year lease is over and has been continued as a month to month. She is the primary leaseholder, and I have not submitted notice as I have not been able to find a new plac...

    James’s Answer

    If you are listed as a tenant on the lease and pay your rent directly to the landlord, you are a tenant. Your roommate has no right to ask you the leave, any more than you can ask her to leave.

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  • What can I do about my landlord calling the cops for noise that are normal every day activities?

    My landlord is vindictive person including her harassment by sending me texts and unlawful illegal entries into my unit. The apartment I'm renting is illegal without building permits (COO). Now my landlord is making frivolous claims that I'm gener...

    James’s Answer

    If the building you are living in was built before June 13, 1979, your tenancy is very likely covered by the SF Rent Ordinance. That it is an illegal unit does not matter. It is illegal for the landlord to evict or threaten to eviction you unless she has one of the grounds listed in the Rent Ordinance. Also, it is illegal for the landlord to rent an illegal unit to someone. You may be able to get back some or all of the rent you have paid the landlord.
    You should immediately speak with a tenants' attorney who is experienced with the San Francisco Rent Ordinance.

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  • Shouldn't we get a 60 day Notice to Terminate ? How can I prove that she is doing this in retaliation?

    My husband and I live with his mother, Barbara. Instead of rent we buy 85% of the groceries, do all yard work, and my husband fixes it if its broken. In Oct 2014, I fell breaking both arms. I was in a care facility for 4 months. When I returned...

    James’s Answer

    Mr. Smith answer does not address your husband's wage and hour claims. As employer your mother-in-law was required to pay your husband minimum wage, to document his hours, and to provide paystubs to him. Also if you fell on the property causing your broken arms, you may have a claim against your mother-in-law for your injuries.
    I know that this is playing hardball but your mother-in-law is trying to make you homeless. Best of luck to you and your husband. Best of luck to you and your husband

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  • Why is the "ADR" attached to my Summons? What are my choices with an ADR?

    I have a small business in Southern California and for the first time since 1994, I've been served a Civil Lawsuit. I do not have funding for an Attorney to represent my business. Just getting that out of the way. :) In the Summons, at the ...

    James’s Answer

    While Mr. Doland is technically correct, allow me to ask a more pointed question. Are you prepared to pay the money demanded of you in the lawsuit? If not, are you prepared to file bankruptcy to avoid having to pay the amount demanded? If you attempt to litigate this matter yourself, you will get hurt and will very likely end up owing the plaintiff a large sum of money (including, possibly, the plaintiff's attorney's fee).
    You have been in business for 21 years; presumably you make money from the business. You need to spend some of that money to hire a lawyer, or you will likely end up paying out much more in the end than you would pay a lawyer to represent you.
    One note: If the lawsuit claims you did something wrong (other than not pay a bill) you should immediately tender defense of the lawsuit to your commercial insurance company. You can do that by mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy (keep the originals) of the court papers to your insurance company or insurance broker, and a letter containing your policy number and contact information.
    Good luck.

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  • What can I legally do to take possession of the home I recently purchased and sellers don't want to move out?

    I purchased a home, escrow closed on November 30th 2015, per our purchase and sale agreement, I gave the sellers 30 days to stay in the home after escrow closed. Which is December 30th, 2015. My agent has emailed the sellers agent and the sellers ...

    James’s Answer

    This is the kind of problem which the buyers' broker is supposed to protect the broker from. Whenever possession of the property is not delivered at the time of the closing, there is always the chance that the sellers will refused to move out as agreed. If your broker did not clearly explain this risk to you, you should consult with a real estate lawyer regarding having your broker cover any expenses you may have for temporary housing and/or getting the sellers to move out. Too often brokers will push for the sale of property to close, so that they get their commission, regardless of the best interests of their clients.

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  • What is the proper legal way to go about resolving the issue?

    Owe $600 back rent in "owner occupied" residence (house-although landlord does NOT live on premises). Have lived there for 3 months. Verbally made arrangements with landlord that I would pay $300 and then left to get money order. Upon returning ...

    James’s Answer

    Your landlord is wrong. He has illegally evicted you and stolen your property. Contact the police/sheriff''s dept to see if they will help you get your things back. Also, talk with a tenants' lawyer about suing the landlord.

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