My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California
I live in a 2 unit in which the neighbor lives in the unit above us. Three weeks ago the water pipe upstairs broke and flooded our unit. The water damage was not our fault. The landlord told my family not to worry saying that we should move to a hotel and the he would pay for all expenses and any of our property that was damaged with water. He also told us the he would not cash in the months check that we gave beforehand. However, he did so anyway. When we inquired him about this, he wrote us a check of the same amount. (We still have not cashed this check! We are not sure if we should or not. By keeping this check, would it help our situation?) We moved into a hotel for four day and then went back home but our landlord said that we had to move back into a hotel, so my family and I stayed at a hotel for another four days. We went back home to find that all of our belongings were moved into the living room where there was no water damage. The landlord moved all of our property without our consent and we were forced to move back into a hotel. We were not able to find most of our essential belongings due to the fact that they moved all of our property with out out knowing. Because we also had two dogs in which the landlord said he would also pay for, me and my family had to move to a more expensive hotel in which we spent more than $1800 in a week. Three days after we moved into the hotel we called the landlord and he told us that we would not be able to move in for another two weeks. Two days later the landlord gave us a call saying we would not be able to move in for another two and a half months. After a couple day we went to talk to the landlord in person and when we asked him how he was going to pay us back for everything, he said he wasn't going to because we didn't have renters insurance. We also said that we were going to move and that he should at least pay for the moving expenses but he also refused to do so. We are thinking of filing a complaint to the Housing Department. We are looking for compensation and don't know what action to partake in. Should we hire a lawyer? What is the best choice?