Okay, I haven’t blogged in a year, but I thought this was a deserving topic. Lesson of the year: Fight ‘til the end.
When I first moved down from San Francisco, I U-Hauled all of my things from SF right into my own 1 bedroom in the heart of ktown. My mom and Stephen even surprised me with furniture waiting for me inside, all cleaned and tidy! All I needed to do was unpack my clothes. The unit was a large corner unit, on the top floor. It had great lighting and hardwood floors. I thought it was the start of a beautiful new chapter.
From the first day, I noticed dead roaches. “Okay,” I thought, “I can deal with dead bugs.” I cleaned it all up, without saying a word. Then I started to see live roaches, and this was in daylight, so I knew I had a problem. Talked to management and sprayed down the whole place. Every corner, every crevice. Next day, more roaches. I implemented bug bombs/fumigators, cleaned the whole place again, talked with management. I thought this would be the end of the bugs. No.
The next day, I was frightened out of my mind to open up my medicine cabinet and see a huge roach skitter out of it and onto my floors. I saw bugs around my window sills. I was seriously disgusted. I talked to management again. Barely any response, empty promises. Exactly 1 week from the day I moved in, I moved out. I took pictures of the place, emptied the place, and I knew I had my rights to all my money. This place was uninhabitable - unsanitary and no installed smoke detectors. I thought that would be the end, as the building managers could clearly see the violation of habitability and sanitation. No.
3 full months of waiting, sending letters to the building owners, researching my renter’s rights, communicating with the building managers, and I wasn’t getting all of my righted money back. At this point, I had already moved into my new DTLA studio, put down an additional security deposit and first month’s rent, and still hadn’t received my deposit from my previous apartment in San Francisco (since I subletted my room out). I knew I was righted to my money - why were they being so difficult?! I then sought legal advice, which pointed me into the direction of small claim legal action. But I still felt like I could handle this situation on my own. Suing the apartment building owners would be my last, last resort.
I repeatedly sent certified mail to the building owners, expressing how they had violated the California Civil Code and the California Health and Safety Code. I called the Los Angeles County Department of Public Housing to place claims on the building and the unit. I communicated for a couple hours with a mediation settlement service and got a third party involved. And finally, I was able to meet with the building owners.
And today, after almost 4 full months of fighting for my renter’s rights, I have been reimbursed for the full amount of money I put down. After this tedious and extremely long process of fighting, my hands literally trembled as I held the check. Victorious!
1. Yay for justice!
2. I hate bugs.
3. Knowledge is power.