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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    1

    Default Tenant Accusing of Retaliatory Action when Served with 60 Day Notice to Vacate

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    This is my old house that was underwater due housing crisis and I decided to rent it when I needed to move. Tenant is renting for 5+ years. No issues ever except this recent incident. The property had multiple roof leaks recently (one after other within 5-6 days due to heavy rains) and it took around 2 weeks to complete everything (roof, dry walls, painting and flooring in affected area) due to immediate contractor availability, ongoing rain and just the sheer size of the project. Tenant was quite unhappy with the pace of work and kept sending emails that they are concerned of mold and just overall unhappy. I tried to assure them as much as possible that I'm taking care of things. Tenant also complaint to health department who called me in the first week of repairs. I informed them that repairs are underway and I never heard anything back from them after this one call. So, I didn't think it much since it was a non-issue for me.

    From my prospective, I ended up spending $10k and a whole lot of my personal time to fix the property and it was a costly affair. Also, rent is lower than mortgage and taxes. I pay $200/mo extra out of my pocket just to pay the mortgage/taxes/hoa. All maintenance is out of my pocket. I decided to sell the property as values are back to normal. So, after repairs were done, I proceeded with a 60 day notice to vacate so I can do some more repairs and sell the property. I also offered tenant to purchase the property. They responded by sending me a letter that this is retaliation and they won't vacation for at least 180 days and will entertain notice to vacate after 180 days from the day they complained to health department. I responded that my finances are not in good shape and I need to sell property and that this is not retaliation. I also reminded them in my response that I've offered to sell property to them as well. After this they responded via email that I'm trying to sell too quickly (and therefore its retaliation) and they have personal issues as well that won't allow them to vacate. In response I again told them that this is not retaliation and offered additional 60 days to vacate (total 4 months). However, they have now stopped responding to my emails.

    I want to be able to sell property in early summer as it is the best time to sell this kind of property and that's the only time I will able to sell the property this year as I work heavy hours after summer. It could be quite costly for me to sit on empty property after summer. I can't sell property while tenant is occupying it since they keep the house quite cluttered and dirty.

    Am I doing anything wrong? What should I do now? What can tenant do? Does tenant have a case if I go with eviction process? I've anxiety issues and I don't do well in these kind of situations.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: Tenant Accusing of Retaliatory Action when Served with 60 Day Notice to Vacate

    From my prospective, I ended up spending $10k and a whole lot of my personal time to fix the property and it was a costly affair. Also, rent is lower than mortgage and taxes. I pay $200/mo extra out of my pocket just to pay the mortgage/taxes/hoa. All maintenance is out of my pocket.
    Been a landlord. Been there. Done that.

    Am I doing anything wrong?
    Yes, you're talking to the tenant.

    They responded by sending me a letter that this is retaliation and they won't vacation for at least 180 days and will entertain notice to vacate after 180 days from the day they complained to health department. I responded that my finances are not in good shape and I need to sell property
    Your response should have been:

    "Dear tenant, you got your 60 days notice. If you aren't out by then deadline I will file for eviction through the courts and you will be put out by the sheriff. End of discussion."

    After this they responded via email that I'm trying to sell too quickly (and therefore its retaliation) and they have personal issues as well that won't allow them to vacate. In response I again told them that this is not retaliation and offered additional 60 days to vacate (total 4 months). However, they have now stopped responding to my emails.
    You wouldn't have had to respond a second time if you had responded properly the first time.

    Offering an additional 60 days was a bonehead amateur move that effectively gave your tenant the upper hand. Now you are stuck waiting the whole 4 months, eviction could take another month or two or even longer if the tenant knows how to play the delay game.

    What should I do now? What can tenant do? Does tenant have a case if I go with eviction process? I've anxiety issues and I don't do well in these kind of situations.
    Then you had no business being a landlord in the first place.

    Sigh.

    Consult an attorney and see if you can rescind the additional 60 days. If so, have your attorney send the notice and have your attorney handle any other communication with the tenant and the eviction if it becomes necessary.

    You have committed the cardinal landlord sin: You let the tenant get the upper hand and now he can use that hand to squeeze you where it hurts if you don't start playing hard ball.

    PS: Forgive my bluntness.

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