Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Garage Rental

My father owns real estate in Santa Monica, CA. He rents the garages as storage units to people who DO NOT live in the actual building. There was a plumbing problem which lead to water entering one of the garages we rent. Once we found out, we called the girl and she came to clean the area. My father and I were both present when she was there. The next day, all of a sudden, she gives us her rent check (which was 15 days late) along with a letter demanding $15,000. There was mold growing on the kitchen supplies that she had boxed up and there was family potraits that also had mold. Can she sue us for that amount? Nothing in that garage was more than $2000. How can she proove that her family potraits were that much?

I appreciate your help, thank you.


Asked on 8/23/06, 8:07 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: Garage Rental

You might consider reporting the damage to your father's insurance company. Also, there are people who appraise things for insurance purposes. You might call them and see if they could help you with it. I don't think housewares are worth $2k. Irreplaceable family portraits might be problematic. But, then again, mold might be remediated.

Read more
Answered on 8/23/06, 8:43 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Garage Rental

Sure, she can sue for that amount. The real issue is whether she can get a judgment for that amount, and that will depend upon her being able to convince a judge or jury of the actual dollar value of her losses.

I don't see that you have any clear-cut defense on the issue of liability, but a plaintiff must plead and prove damages as well as show liability. This claim is probably excessive.

If you have insurance, inform your carrier at once and see if they will assume the defense and/or want to negotiate a settlement.

Read more
Answered on 8/23/06, 9:57 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Real Estate and Real Property questions and answers in California