California Tenant Law - Renter's Rights On-Line Legal Help Clinic


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Legal advice by attorney Ken Carlson specializing over 25 years in landlord-tenant  law on California renters' rights. Also provides pages of free legal advice for California tenants on evictions, security deposits, inexpensive legal kits and attorney consultation and more.



Harassing Letters from Landlord

My property manager has been posting notices on my door for a few months now.  She claims that the source to the dispute is that I have not been paying the late fees associated with the utilities that the property bills for (water, sewer, and trash).  The monthly bill is calculated by the total property utility costs and then divided by the total number of units in the complex (it has a about 150 units).  My monthly bill is about $60-80.00.  It is true, I feel behind a month and ahalf on the bill, but the rental office insists that it calculates late fees on the $60-80.00 bills at a rate of $25.00 after a tenant's balance is above $150.00 for more than three days and $5.00 for every day after that as though it was late rent.  It's absurd.  I tried to reason with them.  I've tried arguing with them.  Now I just avoid talking to them until I can get some resolution.  At the beginning of the month, I paid one month rent, one month month to month fee, and three months utilities.  Two weeks later, the property manager acknowledged there was an error caluclating the fees and there was only a $340.00 balance on late fees on utilities.  Just under two weeks after that, I recieved another notice stating that my balance had gone up and additional $300.00 in 13 days.  I don't understand where this number came from.  It doesn't even use their own calculations.  What are a tenant's options in a situation like this?