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criminal slumlord

Posted by carol on June 09, 1997 at 22:13:09:

I live in California. Last year I moved into an apartment that was filthy, in disrepair, vermin ridden and full of code violations. I paid 1st and last months rent and a $250 deposit. The slumlord never fixed anything; I sent him 14 unacknowledged letters in 10 months. In November a city water main broke, flooding the building. Damage would have been minor except he would not call a clean up crew for 24 hours, so the water spread and destroyed everything at ground level. I had to cancel Thanksgiving as the carpet was ripped out with bare, wet, smelly mildewed cement underneath, all my furniture piled up,etc. After it dried, the slumlord hired unbonded labor and left them unsupervised in apartment (I was at work). They stole all my videotapes and cassettes. I moved out at New Years. The slumlord said he would not return my last month's rent since I had not given 30 days, charged me for cleaning (!) and painting. Today we appeared in Small Claims Court. The judge said he would issue a decision in writing but made it clear he would decide for the slumlord. He said the slumlord was not responsible for the theft (the slumlord denied any knowledge of a theft) and that since I did not give 30 days I owe the full month rent (the slumlord had only claimed 2 weeks). I did the arithmetic and figured he could order me to pay the slumlord $300. I don't have it, having lost $1400 and had moving expenses and would not pay it if I did have it. Have I any options? Please advice/reply to I can provide details of the case if anyone wants them.

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