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In California, can I legally record my landlord and my conversation outside my apartment?

San Diego, CA |

We are paying late rent after a 3 day pay or quit notice. He is asking us, the DAY OF, for 'pain and suffering' payment and payment of his late fees for his mortgage , an additional $250. No where in our rental agreement does it state any of this. He is also asking for a late fee of $25. That of which is not stated anywhere on the 3 day pay or quit notice. Are we totally bonkers or is he in the wrong?

so we tried to give him the $1250.00 owed , exactly what it stated on the 3 day notice. He then said that we had a verbal agreement from Friday ( which was actually Thursday when we met with him and got the three day notice) that we would pay a late fee AND his late fee for his mortgage . Neither my boyfriend or I ever remember agreeing to that. where is that stated?! Isn't ANY court going to want things like that in writing? signed? So we got our thirty day notice to vacate the property, NOT because we didn't pay rent, but because we "were arguing with him". I Might add, neither my boyfriend nor I got loud, or out of line in any way. We told him we weren't going to pay for his claims of 'pain and suffering' money he wanted, he said we were trying to "manipulate him", We thought it was just a little bit unfair that, on the DAY OF, NOT AN HOUR BEFORE we were to meet, that he tell us we need to come up with an additional $250.? ..big sigh

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    The tape recording wouldn't be admissible as evidence in a civil trial.

    The landlord cannot recover "pain and suffering" as damages in an unlawful detainer action or in a breach of lease action.

    Any late fee must be expressly stated in a lease or rental agreement, and must be reasonable. In a residential lease, a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit normally cannot request late fees (only unpaid back rent).

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


  2. Did the landlord know he was being recorded?

    NOTE: (1) I may be guessing and/or not even licensed in your state; (2) We have not established an attorney-client relationship; (3) Sometimes you get what you pay for; and (4) If you want to send me a gift, my favorite color is orange.

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