Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

I helped my son (who is 21) rent a room in a house owned by a friend of a friend. I did not sign any contract. My son was a horrible tenant and the landlord evicted him. I got my son to leave and then (out of shame) cleaned up after him. I paid $500 deposit at the beginning and another $300 yesterday for blinds that were damaged. The landlord is demanding more money from me, saying I promised to cover any and all damages (I made no such promise). He has threatened to call my employer to "mediate" between us. Is this extortion? What should I do at this point?

Asked on 12/11/12, 1:23 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Daphne Macklin Law Office of Daphne L. Macklin

Under California law, and that of most states, there is a legal principle called the statute of frauds that requires contracts over a certain amount, usually $400 or more, be in writing. You have paid $800 on your son's behalf so without (a) any explicit signed written contractual relationship between you and the property owner; and (b) and itemized bill identifying what further charges are being claimed, this person is engaging in extremely inappropriate conduct. A call to your employer is both unwelcome but also an illegal attempt to collect on a debt which at this point probably doesn't even exist. I would respond by advising the property owner,in writing that if he makes any contact with you or your employer, you will seek a restraining order against him. If he is serious about wanting to mediate, then you should both research mediation services in your community.

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Answered on 12/11/12, 1:56 pm
Philip Iadevaia Law Offices of Philip A. Iadevaia

At this point, it's probably best to let your son deal with this problem. As a father, you've done quite a bit more than most. Good luck.

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Answered on 12/11/12, 2:26 pm

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