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Property (apartment) damages that tenant claims were done by vandals. Who's responsible for the cost of the repairs?

West Hollywood, CA |

In my apartment building in WeHo (rent control) my tenant claims that vandals caused damages to the door, door frame, windows, screens, toilet, carpet, locks, etc. He complained to the city and the city sent a Violation Warning Letter to correct the violations. The tenant has a long history of disruptions with tenants, he tells stories that are beyond belief, such as being drugged while sleeping, items that disappeared years ago are reappearing, spying on his computer/mail, computers that are damaged, car that was vandalize and driven and then returned to the same parking place, etc. etc.
I spoke with the Sheriff Dept and with the city and they don't believe his stories are credible. I understand also that complains filed against him by former neighbors where he lived. Any suggestions?

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Attorney answers 2


Evict tenant or do not renew the lease. Bad tenant. The timing of the eviction will depend on the wording of the lease if there is one.

Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.

Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan.

Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA
17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43
Artesia, CA 90701

Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, Bankruptcy, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns


West Hollywood has a rent control ordinance that mirrors LA's and makes it relatively hard to evict a tenant. The allowable reasons for eviction for cause are:

Non-payment of rent;

Violation of an obligation of tenancy;

Creating a nuisance upon the premises;

Using the premises for an illegal purpose;

Refusing to provide access for necessary repairs after being provided proper notice;

Sub-leasing the unit without the owner's consent; and

If the tenant was hired as a manager or other employee and given the unit as part of his or her employment, and that employment has been terminated.

If you sue this tenant for eviction, you have to send a copy of the Summons and Complaint to the Rent Stabilization Department within 5 days of service on the tenant.

You might be able to claim that this tenant is a nuisance because of these mystery damages that impose the obligation on you to pay for repairs, but it won't be easy.

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.

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