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Los Angeles, CA |

Landlord has electric in her name. She has served us with a notice but has not served us with UD. She attempted to turn off electric today. Since there are no lease agreement or rental agreement (ALL VERBAL) we do not have per ladwp proof of tenancy. We can prove we are tenants by the 3 day notice to quit lists us as tenants. Also the ch case she filed against me show she listed this address as my home. What can happen to her if she does turn off electric while we are still here. The actions she are taking are retailitory. Instead of trying to prove tenancy to ladwp I'm inclined to let her turn it off and then I will call the health dept. what will happen, are there fines, does she have to turn it back on? I advised her of our documents proving tenancy

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Attorney answers 2


No, it's illegal to "constructively evict" a tenant by by this kind of "self-help" method, like locking them out or shutting off their utilities so they'll leave. Even without a written lease for your tenancy, she's obligated to follow the Unlawful Detainer process if she wants to evict you by serving you with a complaint if you don't pay per the notice to pay or quit, etc. I'm not sure what a "ch case" is, but it doesn't seem like it will hard to establish your tenancy, which she obviously knows if she served you with notice.

You could sue her for your actual money losses (such as the cost of temporary housing, the value of food that spoiled when the refrigerator stopped running, the cost of an electric heater when the gas was shut off, etc.), any property that gets damaged as a result of this, and also for penalties of $100 per day (CA Civil Code section 789.3, linked below), plus your legal fees.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship


No, the landlord cannot use self-help to turn off electricity. I agree with Attorney Koslyn. This is retaliatory eviction.

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