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Dangers Of Unhealthy Housing

Under California law, your landlord must make sure that the property that he or she rents to you is free from defects, infestations and other dangerous conditions. If you report an issue and your landlord fails to take any action toward resolving the issue, you do have rights available to you, but it is up to you to assert those rights. It might be difficult for you to take action against your landlord, but it is the only way to get the compensation that you deserve because of your landlord’s actions. At Riley Law Group, PC, attorney Grant K. Riley offers aggressive representation to individuals and families who have suffered injuries or illnesses due to a landlord who fails to honor his or her obligations to you. Grant has over 30 years of litigation experience, and will stand up for you against your landlord. Factors That May Mean You Have A Case Not every failure to repair or address problems may give rise to litigation against a slumlord. Grant will review your case to determine if you may be able to successfully obtain compensation, and then assist you with all aspects of your claim. He will make sure that your rights are protected at all times, including at trial, if needed. Some of the illnesses and injuries that may result from conditions that are uninhabitable include: Bites from insects, including cockroaches, bed bugs or spiders Illnesses connected from exposure to toxic mold Asthma from exposure to cockroach allergens Severe health problems for children who have been exposed to lead paint Lead poisoning in adults Burns due to gas leaks or faulty wiring Often, landlords will take no action to repair any defects until someone has been injured due to the unsafe conditions. If you have complained time and time again about something in need of repair and your landlord has done nothing to address the problem, talk to our lawyer. We will examine the issue in detail to discover if your landlord has failed to honor his or her obligations under California law. If you have suffered a serious injury because of these conditions, we can make sure that you are able to get the care you need, and then hold your landlord responsible for the damages connected to the incident. We Are Here To Help You And Your Family Do not be afraid to reach out to us. We are going to protect you through this process. To schedule your free consultation, call our Los Angeles office at 888-495-9272 or send us an email. Our attorney will stand up for your rights. Se habla español.

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Improper maintenance could lead to ceiling collapses and injuries

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Renting properties can be a lucrative source of income. However, basic requirements such as maintenance, repairs, lawn care and other necessities can cut into the profit margin for landlords. Some landlords decide to just stop performing repairs or maintenance. For these slum lords, they are happy enough to take the rent of hard-working people and families without providing a safe and clean space. Many times, the issues associated with poor landlord maintenance result in annoyances and loss of quality of life. Issues like drafts, leaks and non-functioning windows or appliances can cause issues, but some people may choose to remain in a space instead of incurring the expenses associated with moving. Sadly, maintenance failures can lead to more serious issues. In cases of weak structures and water leaks, the potential for a ceiling collapse, especially after heavy rain, is a very real risk. Every building requires basic maintenance In order for a structure to remain safe, functional and secure, it requires basic repairs and regular inspections. A minor leak in the roof, for example, could cost only a few hundred dollars to properly fix. Failing to address it, however, can have catastrophic consequences. A landlord who decides to ignore a leak or to simply apply a mediocre patch that doesn’t resolve the root issue could face more serious issues later. Over time, buildings settle. Foundations crack, walls and floors become uneven and leaks can often result. Similarly, shingles and even metal roofing age over time. Weather can also play a factor in the deterioration of the systems, like roofing, that keep your apartment building safe and structurally sound. Good landlords address these issues as they arise to protect their investment and their tenants. Slum lords, however, will wait until they have no choice but to make repairs. Ceiling collapses can cost tenants thousands of dollars When a roof or ceiling suddenly fails, the outcome can prove devastating for the tenants of the unit. Their furniture and other possessions may end up destroyed by the collapse. The unit will become unlivable until all debris gets removed and the structure gets repaired properly. In a best-case scenario, the tenant will need to replace many possessions and secure an alternative place to live until the unit is livable again. Sometimes, however, people are at home in the unit when a ceiling collapses. The result could be severe injuries, such as concussions, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even death. Children, the infirm, the elderly and even pets could end up crushed or severely hurt from a collapsed ceiling as a result of inadequate maintenance. Landlords have a legal obligation to their tenants to provide a safe space in return for rental fees. If a landlord’s refusal to maintain a property results in injuries, tenants should look into holding them legally responsible.

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How To Spot A Slumlord From A Mile Away

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Friday, January 12, 2018. Thankfully, most landlords care about the condition of their properties and make good faith efforts to make repairs, fix water leaks and control vermin such as cockroaches, bed bugs, rats and mice. However, there are many landlords who just don’t care. They buy old beat-up buildings not to fix them, but to suck as much cash as they can out of their tenants while ignoring much needed repairs. That’s the definition of a slumlord – a landlord who values money over the health and safety of the families who live in their buildings.  With this sharp dose of reality in mind, it’s important to have a clear idea of how to spot a slumlord. Look for these signs and stay away! 1. The exterior of the property is in poor condition. Your informal inspection of any building should start with the exterior of the property. Look for peeling paint, broken windows, torn screens, missing vent screens, broken or degraded stucco and exterior mold. These are obvious signs of neglect. If a landlord is ignoring repairs they can plainly see simply by walking around the outside of their building, you know you’ll have troubles on the inside. 2. Common areas are dirty and neglected. Over and over we walk into buildings to meet with our clients and find walkways, hallways and laundry rooms all but falling apart. Stained carpeting, exposed wiring and water leaks are all bad signs. 3. The landlord promises to make repairs after you sign the lease but before you move in. We don’t like this one bit. Time after time, slumlords say, “yeah, we’ll fix that before you move in.” But when you show up with your kids, boxes, clothes and furniture, your apartment looks exactly the same. That’s not good. First, you have every right to a safe and habitable rental home. If you see peeling paint, water leaks or other defects, point them out and make a note on your lease that these items will be fixed before you move in. Get it in writing! The law in California protects you from the actions of selfish, money-hungry landlords. However, tenants cannot put their head in the sand and hope everything is going to be OK. Speak up and speak out. When you make a deal with a new landlord, put it in writing. When you ask for repairs, do it in writing and keep a copy of your note or letter! If the landlord won’t cooperate, remind them – in writing – that you’ve been asking for his or her help for weeks and if they won’t help, you will have no choice but to call the local health and housing department. If a slumlord has taken advantage of you, don’t hesitate to contact us so you can learn more about your legal rights and the action you can take to improve your situation in the future.

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What happens when your rental unit has a cockroach problem?

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Thursday, November 30, 2017. For many people, cockroaches are a source of squeamishness and even horror. They multiply quickly, hide in all kinds of places and create an unsanitary living space. If you’ve seen even a single cockroach in your rental, chances are there are many more. Dealing with cockroach infestations generally requires expensive professional help. Once you advise your landlord of a serious issue, like a cockroach infestation, he or she should take steps to correct the issue within a reasonable timeframe. If they don’t, you may have to explore your options for moving out or getting your rental unit treated for the bugs. You have the right to a habitable space if you’re paying rent. Whose responsibility are the bugs? California law makes it clear that landlords have a responsibility to their tenants to maintain a habitable home. Generally speaking, the continued presence of pests, such as cockroaches, bedbugs or rodents make a dwelling unsafe for habitation. Your landlord is required to address issues with pests in your rental once you report the issue. Unfortunately, many landlords will do anything in their power to avoid spending money on the maintenance or upkeep of their properties. That could include ignoring issues with cockroaches or other infestations, or attempting to force tenants into paying for insect remediation. You don’t have to accept a failure to act on the part of your landlord. There are several options available to you. Tenants can make repairs or even withhold rent In order to establish that you’ve reported the issue to your landlord, you should report the cockroach issue in writing, as well as by talking with your landlord. Retain a copy of the letter for your own records. That way, you have proof that your landlord was aware of the issue and failed to act. So long as you have proof of the issue (such a photos or a report from a pest control company) and proof of your attempt to inform your landlord, and you allow reasonable time for repairs/pest eradication, you have some options available to you. If you believe substandard conditions of your rental compromise your health or safety, you can abandon the rental by moving out before your lease is up. Generally speaking, the courts will not hold you accountable for any remaining rent beyond the date of abandonment. Alternatively, you may choose to hire professionals to handle the extermination of your unit. Provided that the costs aren’t more than one month’s rent, you can hire someone to correct the issues within your rental and deduct the amount it costs from your rent. In cases where the costs are extreme, you may also consider holding your rent in escrow until your landlord addresses the infestation. In order to properly do so, the full amount of rent must be deposited into a special account and untouched until the issue is resolved.

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Ethnic names and housing discrimination: An unacceptable pairing

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Saturday, November 18, 2017. One of the most pervasive forms of discrimination that individuals with many different types of heritage may experience is finding themselves put on the bottom of a list of applicants simply because of the nature of their name. This might happen in job applications, and is prevalent in many rental property experiences. This experience is far too common, and one that many individuals throughout America may never recognize until it happens to someone they know. National Public Radio (NPR) recently presented this frustrating experience in a piece on a couple living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who struggled to get rental properties to return calls after the husband left messages about seeking a rental, including his Hispanic name. The NPR piece notes that roughly 31 percent of Latinos in America experience this sort of discrimination. If you face this kind of discrimination, you do not have to simply put up with it. You may have grounds for legal action, and you certainly have an opportunity to stand up for your rights and for the rights of others who face similar poor treatment. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who can advise you of how to best protect your rights and identify any grounds for legal action your experience may present. How do you fight rental discrimination? Part of the difficulty with this type of street-level discrimination is that the person committing it may or may not even realize the source of one’d own prejudices. On the receiving end, this kind of behavior may seem mean-hearted and intentional, while on the other side it may not even seem like intentional action. This, however, does not mean that it is acceptable behavior. In fact, it is far from it. When you choose to take this type of discrimination seriously, you advance the rights of yourself as well as countless others, and you send a strong message to rental managers and other public-facing individuals that such behavior is not only unacceptable, it may prove costly to the party who discriminates. If you do experience such discrimination, you may need to get creative in order to document it. In the case of the couple mentioned in the NPR piece, the wife called many of the same rental companies using her “white-sounding” name and had no problem getting the information she needed. If you have a friend or member of your community who can aid you in this way, it may prove helpful. By documenting and comparing your experiences, you can demonstrate the disparity in reception. However, you do not want to break the law or give a discriminating property management firm grounds to claim that your experiences are disingenuous. It is wise to consult with an experienced attorney who can direct your actions to build a strong case for justice.

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Bedbugs: A quick primer for renters

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Friday, November 10, 2017. The thought of bedbugs can make your skin crawl. Many different stories have been in the news about people who go to movie theaters or hotels and come home with these tiny critters that make you itch madly. Those stories might lead to your avoiding the areas where bedbugs could live. But, have you thought about what you would do if you find out that you have bedbugs at home? This is a disheartening and difficult situation to live with. Here are some points that you need to know about bedbugs: A problem for renters Bedbugs are a problem for some renters, especially those who live in multifamily units. These tiny bugs don’t fly. Instead, they crawl, even up walls, to get to where they need to go. It is often difficult to spot bedbugs when an infestation first begins because they are so tiny. The female bedbug can lay thousands of eggs, but each of these is only around the size of a speck of dirt. Another issue with bedbugs is that they can fit into tiny spaces. An entire colony of bugs can live in an area that is the equivalent of the thinness of a credit card. They can live in clothing, on mattresses, in cracks and on furniture. Bedbugs rely on blood to survive. They need to have a meal prior to each time they shed during their life. Many people think that bedbugs are a sign of an unclean home but this isn’t the case. They don’t have anything to do with cleanliness. You can have a spotless home and still have a bedbug problem. The good news is that bedbugs don’t transmit disease. They are more of a nuisance because of the severe itching they cause. Where landlords come in Landlords need to have proper pest control methods in place. It isn’t always possible to prevent bedbugs because they often come into a home attached to something else. When a landlord is given notice that there is a bedbug infestation in a dwelling, he or she will need to take swift action to find a pest control solution to minimize the risk of the bugs entering other spaces and to eradicate them from the locations where they are present. Many different ways of controlling bedbugs are found online. Some of these, such as do-it-yourself remedies, aren’t likely going to work in a multifamily dwelling. Landlords should hire a professional company that can come in and get the problem taken care of so that bedbugs don’t make life miserable for the renters.

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