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Richard C Koman

Richard Koman’s Answers

317 total

  • How can a tenant prove bad faith against a landlord who failed to fulfill any legal obligations regarding deposit return?

    When trying to prove bad faith, what angle does one have to take? If the landlord didn't provide written notice of right to pre-move-out inspection, then when the tenancy was over, the former tenant asked to be able to fix any damage, the landlord...

    Richard’s Answer

    My understanding is that the pre-move-out inspection is something the tenant has to request. So if you didn't request it, and there is a legitimate deduction for damages, then you are probably not even going to get your deposit, much less the penalty.

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  • When filling chap. 7 do I have to to give a secured debt such as a car an exemption

    not using a lawyer

    Richard’s Answer

    The question suggests that not using a lawyer is not such a good idea. If you are filing bankruptcy, you should be getting a serious benefit in discharging a lot of debt. So paying a few grand to an attorney is money very well spent.

    That said, here's my answer. Exemptions are for assets. If you have assets that can't be exempted, they are subject to the trustee taking them to pay creditors. So it's not a question of "having" to give a car an exemption, it's a matter of whether the car has equity value after paying off the secured loan. For instance, if you owe $10,000 and the car is worth $12,000 (on today's market -- see or for a valuation), the car represents a $2,000 asset. You can exempt that with the motor vehicle exemption in California or the wildcar if you've already used that exemption.

    If the equity is more - say $7,000 - then you use the motor vehicle exemption and then apply the rest of the equity to the wildcard exemption.

    The Nolo book is very helpful. But I guarantee you will have a lot of trouble with your bankruptcy. Consider seeing an attorney.

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  • I have had 6-7 sewage backup in both restrooms of my apt., who is responsible for the clean-up? Landlord or the tenant?

    I have been living in my apt. for 2 yrs. and have had 6-7 occurrences, who should clean up? I have used my personal towels and dry vaccuumed myself, disinfected and shampooed my carpet, not once did the landlord offer, all she said was sorry, b...

    Richard’s Answer

    It's not solely a legal question. It's a health question. Sewage floods create serious health risks. A landlord's refusal to make permanent repairs gives rise to serious liability. So it's a legal question. The conditions you describe make the apt. uninhabitable. The landlord's actions are seriously negligent. If the landlord has notice (you should make sure your notices are in writing), then you should absolutely complain to the local housing agency. Testing for bacteria is needed. If the landlord won't pay for it, perhaps the City will order it. If the landlord won't repair, you are "constructively evicted," meaning you can and should vacate the premises immediately, ideally after paying for testing yourself.

    Before you do anything, talk to an attorney to make sure all the required evidence is obtained. You can claim rent abatement, emotional distress, and you may well have medical conditions as a result of exposure. See an attorney.

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  • California, do I wait for tenant to contact me or do I contact tenant?

    Tenant was issued 30-Day Notice. Three days later, tenant assaulted one of her roommates. Police report filed and RO suggested. Next day tenant apologized but roommate stated if she left, she (the person who was attacked) would not file Civil R...

    Richard’s Answer

    Which tenant was given 30 day? The attacker? Or all tenants? Assuming both, someone still has 27 days to go. If everyone is out, then you should put it in writing that the place has been vacated and post and mail to last known address. Wait the statutory time, then rekey.

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  • CA - Tenant Landlord - can Tenants terminate immediately because of cockroaches?

    My Tenants moved in about 3 weeks ago. There was a problem with cockroaches because the previous Tenants were filthy. Prior to the new Tenants moving in the house was bombed 3 times and I layed down Borax/cocoa as suggested. I told the Tenants to ...

    Richard’s Answer

    The idea that you should sue for the value of the lease is totally outweighed by the information about the tenants. Are you kidding? Illegal sublets, pit bulls, six people instead of 3? Be glad they're gone.

    Today, send them a letter terminating their tenancy based on their communications and demanding payment for the days in December they remain in possession.

    In 21 days, send them an accounting for their deposit, including applying it to unpaid rent.

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  • In a UD (Calif) and with proof of financial stress, can I receive a "fee waiver" and if so, how can I petition?

    In California, I need to file a UD. 12/4/11 tenant was personally served and rent not paid. I have Civil Cover Sheet, Complaint, and Summons w/attachments ready for tomorrow. I also completed Claim for Statutory Damages to submit with UD. I fi...

    Richard’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    use the request for fee waiver/order forms to get the fee waiver. the form has specific income levels per household size (unless you receive govt benefits.)

    no idea what Claim for Statutory Damages but hopefully you're not referring to $600 damages for malicious withholding. dont' do that.

    you dont get the order for service by posting until you submit a motion for the order (there's no form for that - it's done on "pleading paper.")

    make sure you have proof of service of the notice.

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  • Overlapping remedies between California Civil Code 1940.2 and Civil Code 1942.5.

    California Civil Code 1940.2 prohibits a landlord's use of unlawful conduct to influence a tenant to vacate a dwelling, cites different forms of such conduct, and allows civil penalties up to $2,000 for each violation. Civil Code 1942.5 prohibits ...

    Richard’s Answer

    No. You omitted this language from 1942.5: "where the lessor or agent has been guilty of fraud,
    oppression, or malice with respect to that act." If you can show malice, then the 1942.5 remedies would kick in above and beyond 1940.2. But understand that the statutory remedies are small potatoes compared to rent abatement, relocation costs, emotional distress, constructive eviction, etc.

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  • Our house has a final judgement, is foreclosure/bankruptcy the best choice?

    Which are the cons and pros of bankruptcy? How does it works? What do we really need to know about it? Will it eliminate the bank going after us in the future? How about the credit cards? Student Loans? How long does it take to recuperate from ...

    Richard’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    As the other folks have said, you are asking a lot of general questions, most of which can be answered by surfing the web. However:
    1) there are many, depending on your situation. talk to an attorney.
    2) if you know nothing about it, perhaps the Nolo Chapter 7 book is a good start. There is good info from the BK court website and lots of other sites.
    3) Depends on whether your state has deficiency laws.
    4) Depends on how you conduct yourself afterwards.
    5) Yes.
    6) Depends on your exemptions.
    7) A while. But depends on your income, down payment, etc.
    8) Depends on your situation. $1200 to $4000.

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  • I have recently settled on the rent issue now landlord is telling me,

    I will have to pay half of expenses if septic tank or water pump breaks down I don't own the land she does is this legal? This is private property I only own my mobile home so what should I do I'm tired

    Richard’s Answer

    No, you don't have to agree to this. He can't evict you for refusing to agree to it. If he did that would be retaliatory. However, if you DO agree to it, you could then be evicted for breaching a covenant. So don't agree.

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  • Girlfriend and I have a lease. Now I moved out

    Ok I made the mistake of getting into a one year lease with a girlfriend. It turns out we couldn't get along living together. So I moved out. She was supposed to get room mates and pay the rent. She never got roommates and hasn't paid the rent in...

    Richard’s Answer

    I agree. You should have made an effort to get the landlord to modify the lease to remove your from responsibility. You are responsible for all of the unpaid rent, as is the gf. However, you would have an action against the girlfriend for breaching your oral agreement. That would or would not be worth it, depending on the relationship and her assets/employment.

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