Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

My apt maintenance person/s entered my studio apt while I was asleep!! To add insult to injury they changed light sensor switches in the bathroom and kitchenette so now my movements are being monitored in my own home.

I can not describe the sense of violation I am still feeling from waking up and finding that strange people had obviously been in my home watching me sleep!! This happened last Thursday and this is the first I've been able to write about it. I've been an emotional wreck. I have not talked to the management as I know I will lose it.

I've lived here 10 yrs. The last 7+ yrs I've worked 10 hr nights so have to sleep in the day. Always before they let me know ahead of time and whatever maintenance is done either on my day off or first thing in the morning before I go to sleep. As I drive a car all night it is a necessity that I get my sleep to be alert on the road.

Can I sue the management company for this home invasion? While I do rent I should still have the right of privacy in my own home. My sense of security in my own home is shattered right now and I feel powerless as I do not have the wherewithal to move. I'm a single woman who barely manages to keep a roof over our heads.

If I can take action against them how do I find a local lawyer to handle this.

Thank You for your time and knowledge!!

Asked on 9/10/13, 12:21 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mark Saltzman, MBA, JD Law Offices of Mark E. Saltzman

Indeed, the landlord violated your right to quiet use and possession of your apartment. This is an implied covenant in a lease. As for your remedy, check your lease. Also, look at the problem freshly, when you have calmed down.

Leases, often, have procedures that a tenant must follow, when the landlord has committed a breach. For example, you may need to notify the landlord of a breach and give the landlord time to correct it. In your case, you might need to make a demand on the landlord to never enter your apartment again, without your permission, proper notice, or an emergency.

With a demand like this, the next time someone comes in, unannounced, your damages might be considerably more. For now, it is likely that, even though you have a legitimate claim, it's probably not going to be worth a lot of money.

I suggest that you have an attorney prepare the letter to the landlord. It will cost you a few hundred dollars, but it might make a bigger impact.

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Answered on 9/10/13, 10:01 am

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