I was out of town and did not drive my car from May to the end of August 2014. In that period, I stored my car in my apartment parking area. When I was back, I could not find my car in the parking area. I thought my car might be stolen, so I asked the leasing office. Unbelievably I found out it was them who had towed my car! They said that they changed the parking policy and asked every tenants renew their car information with them, or they would just tow the car. However, I never got any notice from them, no emails or phone calls! But they rejected to take any responsibility and defended that they had mailed a notice letter to each tenant’s apt mailbox.
It was a disaster for me. I had paid $ 800 to the tow company for picking up my car, I paid $200 for car renting, and I almost call the police for car stealing.
I want to sue the leasing office. What should I do? What the process will be? How much is my change of winning? How much can I ask for compensation?
If you won, and it is not certain that you would win, you could seek your actual damages ($1000). Bear in mind that your attorneys fees, unless you file on your own, would exceed your damages. Note that there may be language in your lease that limits your ability to sue, and you'd have to sell the judge on the idea that it was reasonable for you to not have someone checking and forwarding your mail, which would have avoided the problem.
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If your lease agreement provides for a parking space and the LL knew or should have known you were out of town, sick or unavailable for any reason, then yes, they are liable for breach of the covenant of quiet use and enjoyment.
The purpose behind that implied covenant is that the landlord will do nothing to disturb a tenant's rights to use their demised premises, including the common elements such as parking.
However, if the lease also requires regularly updating parking permits, etc., that might be a sticking point. If you did not do so before, in the future you should notify the leasing office that you will be out of town and unavailable for x days or weeks or months.
I know it sounds kooky, but for some reason some of these big corporate types love to change the rules in mid-stream, often when you least expect or even know about it.
One way to rattle their cage is to demand a copy of their certificate of insurance for damage to your property and car. Almost all of these landlords have insurance policies to cover common areas, and landlord negligence. Its under this circumstance where you can be in a position to write another demand letter, certified return receipt requested to both the landlord and the insurance company. Then see if they'll cough up the dough.
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You have a couple problems to start with. One, for obvious reasons, virtually every decent apartment complex has a policy about cars parked indefinitely in their lot. The fact that you say they changed their policy indicates you were on notice of some policy. Second, because of this, you should have known to ask and get approval before you left. Finally, written notice in your mailbox might be pretty hard to overcome. You DID get notice - you just didn't pick it up. Again, it is common sense if you are leaving to let the complex know and/or have someone check your mail. It is not their job to track you down. The complex could have tried several more ways to track you down, and you could have taken several steps to avoid this.
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