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Harm caused by lead poisoning is often irreversible

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Saturday, December 9, 2017. If you have a child who ingested lead, you may notice symptoms of lead poisoning. Sometimes, it can take many years before these signs become noticeable. While some places, like Western Youth Services, can provide therapies your child needs, in reality, the effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. This does not mean you should give up, but it does mean that you and your child might have a long road ahead to develop coping mechanisms that will allow him or her to lead a productive and fulfilling life. These therapies often come with a large price tag that make them difficult to afford. But, if your child was exposed to lead because of your South Los Angeles landlord’s failure to provide a safe living environment, then you might be able to file a claim for damages. In other words, you should fight for the treatment your child needs as a result of lead poisoning. It will be important to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of lead poisoning. Symptoms Some of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning include abdominal pain and cramps, aggressive behavior, headaches, sleep problems and irritability. Your child might also display other signs such as fatigue, high blood pressure and even kidney dysfunction. Intellectual disabilities Since a child’s brain is not fully developed, exposure to lead can cause development issues. For example, lead poisoning can cause a child to have a low Intelligence Quotient (IQ), perform poorly at school or suffer from short- and long-term learning problems. You may also notice that your child has a hearing problem, is not growing properly or is expressing behavioral issues. Treatment The first thing you should do if you suspect lead poisoning is to locate and remove all lead sources that might have caused the problem. If your child’s exposure is severe enough, your doctor might recommend chelation therapy. This procedure will cause the lead to bind together and then the body will expel it through urination. Activated charcoal might be an option for less severe cases. It will cause the lead in the gastrointestinal tract to bind and leave through defecation. Unfortunately, if the exposure was long-term or chronic, some of the physical and mental effects may be permanent. If your child is suffering from lead poisoning, it is vital to remember that you have options. You can pursue a claim against your landlord for not providing safe living conditions and fight for the compensation your child deserves.

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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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Your landlord has obligations

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. When an individual or company rents out residential property, the landlord has certain obligations. For example, if you are renting an apartment in Los Angeles, it must be “habitable.” Also, while you are renting the property, your landlord is responsible for making necessary repairs and normal maintenance in order to keep the property livable. In 1941, California passed laws that force landlords to keep residential rental property in a condition that is fit for each tenant’s use. To find out more about your landlord’s responsibilities, read further. Waterproofing Your apartment or house must be free from water leaks and weather. This means that all doors and window must be in reasonable working condition. If you have a broken window that is allowing water to come into your home, then your landlord must fix it. Plumbing All of the plumbing in your home must work properly. You should have both hot and cold water available and the connections to drainage and sewage systems must be properly connected and free from obstruction. In addition, your sink, bathtub and shower must work. The bathroom should include both privacy and ventilation. Electrical, heating and gas Your landlord must also ensure that your electrical, heating, and gas systems work. In addition, they must be up to code and free from any dangerous temporary fixes. You should not be in danger due to any exposed wires, improper gas connections or any other hazards that could cause an injury. Building, common areas, and trash receptacles Not only is your landlord responsible for ensuring your apartment is habitable and safe, he or she must also attend to the building in general. For example, all stairways and handrails must be safe and functioning correctly. In addition, common areas such as a garden or parking lot must be clean and free from obstruction, debris or trash. Fire safety and smoke detectors Your apartment building must have emergency exits that lead outside. Your landlord is responsible for keeping these areas clear in case of a fire or other emergency. Also, in duplexes and apartment buildings, the landlord must provide smoke detectors in all units as well as in any shared stairwells. If you are renting an apartment, duplex or house in Los Angeles, your landlord has certain responsibilities. If your landlord fails to provide a habitable space for you, your family and guests, then you might be able to take legal action to protect your rights as a tenant.

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Tips to avoid renting from a slumlord

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Finding an affordable place to live in Los Angeles can be difficult, especially when you want to find an apartment that is nice, located in a good neighborhood and does not require too long a commute to work. Another important aspect of choosing the right rental is the landlord. When you are paying to rent an apartment, you will have certain expectations of your landlord or property manager. For example, you expect that he or she will sufficiently maintain the property, fix the bathroom if you have a leaky faucet or ensure that the building is up to code. Unfortunately, it is easy to end up with a landlord that does not live up to this end of the rental agreement. By following the tips below, you can identify if your potential landlord is actually a slumlord before you sign your next rental agreement. Look deeper than the surface When you are touring an apartment, look beyond the surface. A fresh coat of paint does not mean that there is not mold lurking beneath. Look closely at the construction of the building and how certain things work. For example, if the windows, doors and faucets do not work on a level that matches the surface appearance of the unit, you might want to move on. If it seems like the apartment is lacking in routine upkeep, then it is best not to trust that fresh coat of paint. Talk to other residents Take the time to talk to other residents who live in an apartment building you are touring. They can give you a realistic idea of what to expect in terms of any issues. For instance, the property manager might tell you that he or she responds to and fix all maintenance calls within 24 hours, but a tenant might tell you that it usually takes a week or more. Check with the county The county courthouse keeps records of safety complaints, licensing issues, code violations, and liens that a creditor might have issued against the property. If there is a stack of paperwork on an apartment complex you are interested in, this might be a sign that the landlord is not taking responsibility for the property. Also, you can look through lawsuits that the landlord has filed against tenants. This might be an indication of how aggressive the landlord is. Read the reviews Look online for reviews about the property from current and previous tenants. If there are a lot of negative reviews against the property or landlord, then this may not be the place for you. However, be sure you are discriminating with the reviews on which you base your decision. Those that are petty or extremely negative may not provide a clear and true rendition. If you are shopping for an apartment in the Los Angeles area, it is important to determine if your potential landlord is a slumlord. Sometimes, it can take a while before you experience the truth of the situation. If this happens, and you find yourself living in an apartment operated by a slumlord, keep in mind that you have certain legal rights and you can fight back.

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Lead poisoning: Diagnosis and treatment

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017. Lead poisoning is a serious health concern that requires immediate medical attention. Although it’s best to avoid this altogether, if you or your loved one is dealing with lead poisoning it’s good to know that there are treatment options to consider. If you have any reason to believe that you (or your child) has lead poisoning, ask your doctor for more information. He or she can run a blood test to determine if you’re at risk. While it’s simple enough to diagnose lead poisoning, it’s never as easy to treat this condition. Here are a few things you need to know about treatment: The first step is to remove the source of contamination. In other words, you don’t want to continue to expose yourself to the problem. Chelation therapy can treat moderate to high levels of lead poisoning. With this, an oral medication is administered with the idea that it will bind to the lead and eventually makes its way out of the body during urination. EDTA chelation therapy is another option. This is typically used with higher lead levels or with children who are unable to tolerate the more conventional approach. EDTA chelation therapy is given by injection. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to lead poisoning. This is a serious problem that can have serious consequences, such as holding a child back from developing. Fortunately, diagnosis is easy enough and there are treatment options available. By working closely with the right medical team, you can gain a better understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Once you learn more about your treatment options, you should make sure you avoid exposure in the future. You should also learn more about the original cause of your problem, as you may be in position to file a lawsuit against a negligent party, such as a landlord.

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Tips for parents to protect kids from exposures to lead

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Being a parent is hard work, and sometimes it can seem as if the deck is stacked against you and your kids. If your child is exposed to lead in the home environment, he or she will definitely experience life-long difficulties. Living in a toxic home This highly toxic metal is found in many rental houses and apartments in southern California. Keep in mind that up until 1978, it was legal to paint homes and apartments with lead-based paint. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has roughly 24 million housing units contaminated by deteriorated lead paint. The paint becomes mixed with ordinary house dust and clings to surfaces and floors throughout the dwelling. It’s estimated that there are over 4 million infants and toddlers are living in these contaminated homes. Lead poisoning in kids a barrier to success When young children are exposed to lead — and there are no known safe exposures — they are susceptible to multiple conditions and developmental abnormalities that are irreversible. The damage can be to the nervous and circulatory systems, brain and kidneys. Children with lead exposures often experience seizures, behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Some die as a result of the damage they suffer. While some kids display no discernible symptoms, others experience some or all of the following: Nausea Upset stomach Irritability Headaches Tiredness Lead can be found outside in the soil surrounding the house or apartment. Kids and adults track it inside on their shoes and contaminate the floors where babies learn to crawl. Then, they put dusty fingers into mouths or nibble on a paint chip, and their fate is sealed. How can parents protect kids? In a perfect world, not living in a home with elevated lead levels is the best way to protect them. But we live in reality, and it’s a sad fact that some parents are forced to rear their children in less-than-optimal environments. If you know or suspect that there is lead contamination in your rental house or apartment, your landlord has the obligation to provide a safe living space for all tenants. He or she should be notified so that the proper decontamination steps can be taken. Tenants can also notify the county or state health departments so that they can test for lead levels. Below are some tips for parents to take to keep their children’s environments as lead-free as possible. Don’t let kids play in the dirt. Fill a covered sandbox with sand and let them dig to their heart’s consent. Keep surfaces free of dust. Treat all accumulations of dust as potential lead exposures. Reduce amount of household dust. This is especially vital during routine maintenance tasks, remodeling and renovations. Take shoes off outside. Slip on a pair of slippers only worn inside. Damp mop floors weekly. This is an important part of controlling household dust. Vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter. It’s important to use it on upholstery, too. Pick up paint chips. Use a paper towel to pick up, then wipe with a damp one. If you suspect that lead exposures have occurred with your children, seek medical testing for them. While there is no way to ameliorate the damage, getting your children supportive services they may now require can be beneficial to them as they grow up. You may decide to also pursue legal action against the person(s) or companies who were responsible for your children’s exposures to this environmental toxin.

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New law bars landlords from reporting tenants to ICE

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. This week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that made California a “sanctuary state” that offers protection to the state’s undocumented immigrants. This is the latest salvo in the immigration battle between the Trump administration and Gov. Brown. The law, which will not be in effect until Jan. 1, 2018, prohibits police from asking those individuals they encounter what their green card/visa status is. Furthermore, California police will no longer be part of any immigration enforcement tactics initiated by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Officers and other personnel working in the state’s jails also won’t be permitted to transfer undocumented state inmates into federal custody if they were convicted on specific charges. In his statement to the press and public, Brown said that “[t]hese are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance [to] . . . protect public safety, [and bring] a measure of comfort to those families . . . living in fear.” Additional bills the governor signed into laws this week add other protections for undocumented immigrants. Landlords can no longer report tenants’ immigration statuses to ICE agents under the new laws. Landlords also may not use their tenants’ undocumented status as a reason for eviction. A San Francisco assemblyman said late last spring that “some unscrupulous landlords . . . have threatened to call ICE on tenants . . . they’re trying to evict, raise their rents or not deal with habitability or housing conditions.” Immigration officers also can no longer go onto job sites or schools unless accompanied by warrants. Municipal governments are now barred from entering into contracts with companies working for profit alongside ICE to detain undocumented immigrants. It’s a fact that California landlords can use some dirty tricks to take advantage of their tenants. If you have been victimized by a slumlord’s underhanded tactics, you may decide to pursue legal remedies.

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