Landlord towed my car
My car was towed by my new managers (they have been here about 1 month). I was informed I was in violation of my written rental agreement which states 1 parking space, but my previous managers had made an agreement with me that I may have 3 as the apts are half empty.
New managers say old mngrs took all records with them. When new managers came in I filed paperwork with my contact info and car info. They said they were too busy to look at that info so never called me. They said they tried to ask neighbors whos car it was but I have lived here 4 years, everyone knows it’s my car, and no neighbors I asked said they were asked about it.
Manager then said they don’t have my paperwork.
I feel the intentionally lost it to cover their actions. Otehr cars on the property were not towed, and notices on those cars show that the notice was created AFTER I lodged a complaint about my car being towed.
Does the previous managers agreement with me override the written agreement over number of spaces?
They tell me it’s my responsibility to contact the new managers with any agreements made by old managers, is this true?
I feel they did not adequately try to contact me, are they required to?
Re: Landlord towed my car
When the new managers took over, this could be considered an assignment of duties. In other words, all contractual obligations were automatically assumed by the new managers. You may have a shot in small claims court. It would be very helpful if you have something in writing or perhaps you can get Affidavits from some neighbors who knew of your agreement with the past managers or have the same agreement as you.
It sounds here that the new managers were lazy and didn’t bother to look around or inquire about the car ownership prior to having your car towed.
Law Offices of David B. Lupoff
15915 Ventura Blvd. Penthouse 4
Encino, CA 91436
Re: Landlord towed my car
Do you mean new managers or new owners? The result is the same, but the analysis is a little different.
First, your lease (and all the additions and modifications to it) is a contract with the owner, not the manager. The manager could be personally liable for breaches of the lease if the lease doesn’t identify the owner, however.
Regardless of whether there was a change of ownership or only a change of resident managers, the lease remains in effect.
Landlords do have the right to have improperly-parked tenant cars towed. The issue would be whether your parking more than one car was a violation of the terms of your lease, or not.
If the written lease says “one car only” and specifies a particular parking place, but you had an oral understanding that it was OK to have two or three cars, the issue gets further boiled down to whether the oral modification (or addition) to the lease is valid and binding. It could be invalid for either of two reasons, possible more: (1) the written lease may state that it cannot be modified except by a written and signed addendum, or (2) the old manager may have lacked the authority to modify the landlord’s lease. I think problem #1 is your biggest obstacle to winning in small claims court, and that #2 would be a weak defense.
Closely related to #1 is the evidentiary problem of proving that the oral modification was made. In a small-claims court trial, you would need some kind of evidence or testimony rather than just your own assertion that you had permission for additional cars. The best witness would be the old manager him- or herself.
In the big picture, you probably want to evaluate your overall relationship with this apartment complex and whether you want to stay here a long time or move soon. This may determine the extent you should get tough with the management versus negotiating or just dropping the matter. I know the vacancy rate in Santa Rosa is still unusually high, and it may be a good opportunity for a change of scene when your current lease expires.
Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
P O Box 318
Tomales, CA 94971-0318