Entering my apartment without my permission

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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Entering my apartment without my permission

Hi,

I live in an apartment complex in Irvine, CA.
The complex is a 2 story building when 1 apartment is at ground level and 1 apartment is at the 2nd level (above the ground apartment), therefore, each apartment is a 1 level apartment.
I live at the ground level apartment and the tenant that lived in the apartment above me left at the beginning of Oct'. The apartment above me is vacant now.
The community office is now working in the apartment to make it ready for lease.
The community manager told me that they found out that the pipe connected to the bath's water drain hole is broken and need to be replaced, otherwise, water will leak down to my ceiling. They ask to enter my apartment in order to reach the pipe from below, through the ceiling of my bathroom.
I told them that I don't give them permission to enter since I believe the problem can and should be fixed through the apartment above. I believe, that will include the need to remove the bath and in my conversation with the manager, she said that in order to fix it not through my ceiling might be very costly.
In order to get to the pipe they need to take down the lowered ceiling I have above my bath then they might need to remove an air condition tunnel and then cut a hole through the ceiling to get to the pipe. She told me that if I don't give my consent to enter they can just send me a letter, letting me know they are going to enter the apartment and do it without my consent.
The fix, according to them should take about 2 days and that does not include the inconveniency of the paint smell that will last at least a week (after they put the lowered ceiling back, they need to paint it).
My questions are:
1. It looks like they trying to save money on my account. For sure, there is a way to fix it from the upper
apartment, since if this would have happen in the ground level apartment they cannot reach it from
below. CAN I STOP THEM? This is a major inconvenience with all the noise, dust, debris and smell it
is going to create.
2. From my conversation with the manager, t looks like they were not aware that there is an air condition
tunnel and a lowered ceiling above my bath. They want to do it all with their maintenance people, not
professional workers. In order to take of a ceiling and put it back after the fix, do they need a qualified
person to do that or anyone with a set of good hands allow to do that?

Thank you,

Avi.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 04:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Entering my apartment without my permission

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Hi,

I live in an apartment complex in Irvine, CA.
The complex is a 2 story building when 1 apartment is at ground level and 1 apartment is at the 2nd level (above the ground apartment), therefore, each apartment is a 1 level apartment.
I live at the ground level apartment and the tenant that lived in the apartment above me left at the beginning of Oct'. The apartment above me is vacant now.
The community office is now working in the apartment to make it ready for lease.
The community manager told me that they found out that the pipe connected to the bath's water drain hole is broken and need to be replaced, otherwise, water will leak down to my ceiling. They ask to enter my apartment in order to reach the pipe from below, through the ceiling of my bathroom.
I told them that I don't give them permission to enter since I believe the problem can and should be fixed through the apartment above. I believe, that will include the need to remove the bath and in my conversation with the manager, she said that in order to fix it not through my ceiling might be very costly.
In order to get to the pipe they need to take down the lowered ceiling I have above my bath then they might need to remove an air condition tunnel and then cut a hole through the ceiling to get to the pipe. She told me that if I don't give my consent to enter they can just send me a letter, letting me know they are going to enter the apartment and do it without my consent.
The fix, according to them should take about 2 days and that does not include the inconveniency of the paint smell that will last at least a week (after they put the lowered ceiling back, they need to paint it).
My questions are:
1. It looks like they trying to save money on my account. For sure, there is a way to fix it from the upper
apartment, since if this would have happen in the ground level apartment they cannot reach it from
below. CAN I STOP THEM? This is a major inconvenience with all the noise, dust, debris and smell it
is going to create.
2. From my conversation with the manager, t looks like they were not aware that there is an air condition
tunnel and a lowered ceiling above my bath. They want to do it all with their maintenance people, not
professional workers. In order to take of a ceiling and put it back after the fix, do they need a qualified
person to do that or anyone with a set of good hands allow to do that?

Thank you,

Avi.
The simple answer to your question is, YES, they can enter your apartment without your permission - provided that the LL/management provides you written notice at least 24 hrs in advance. In the event of an emergency, no notice is required prior to entering.

Are you a contractor? Plumbing specialist? You can't say for sure that they don't need to cut thru your bathroom ceiling to get to the pipes for those repairs. Maybe they can, maybe not. Perhaps one way is a less expensive process than the other. But since this is a major repair that needs to be done, you do not have the right to refuse them access to do the work. Once notice is given, the LL and their authorized representatives are allowed to come in, whether or not you let them in.

If there is going to be that much noise and debris, you can certainly ask the LL to compensate you for the inconvenience, or perhaps provide you with another unit to live in while the work is being done (if it takes that long). If the repairs do not affect the habitability of your apt, then don't expect any compensation.
One thing is for sure - if you continue to resist allowing the LL to make those repairs, you can probably expect to be evicted or have your lease non-renewed at the end of the term.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Entering my apartment without my permission

Of course they can enter your unit. This is an emergency. No water can be turned on in that unit until this is fixed. No tenant could live there as this unit is currently uninhabitable. This is not an optional improvement, but a required repair. You have no say in the matter.

While it would be nice for you if they could fix this from above, it is impossible. The broken pipe is below the tub. They told you this. "the pipe connected to the bath's water drain hole is broken and need to be replaced, otherwise, water will leak down to my ceiling." How else are they going to fix it? Even if they removed the tub and surround to get to the pipe, how could they put the pipes back together when they put the tub back in??? Through the drain hole? What you are proposing - the removal of the entire tub and surround in the above unit, so you are not inconvenienced, is absurd.

The request to enter was only a courtesy. They will give you notice and enter accordingly as an emergency situation. No judge would rule that they had to go to the expense you propose to fix a simple broken pipe. No judge would rule that they leave the unit vacant until you deem fit to allow them in for repairs. You must allow them to do their job.

This job is scheduled to take only 2 days. (Plan on 4 just to be safe, and for unexpected items that ALWAYS come up when you get into a job where you cannot yet see the broken pipe.) This is a simple, though messy, repair. Any maintenance man should be able to affect these repairs. The "air condition tunnel" you mention is only a duct. It is a simple sheet metal box that can be cut and repaired easily. One only needs to pop rivet the new section of duct to the old and seal it with furnace tape to prevent air leakage. They will not be working on the air conditioner itself. The drop ceiling only needs a few panels removed and replaced. Nothing here requires any specialist to do.

You can ask for some rent credit to compensate for the inconvenience. You should expect no more than the number of days it takes to complete the work divided by 30 (days in a month) multiplied by your rent. If the work takes 4 days and your rent is $1000, you could ask for a credit of no more than:
4 / 30 = .13 .13 x $1000 = $130 rent credit
That amount would be what would compensate you for the total loss of your unit for those 4 days. You would have to negotiate this with the LL. Don't be surprised if he offers you less since your total unit will not be unusable during this time. Only part of your unit will be unusable.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Entering my apartment without my permission

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The simple answer to your question is, YES, they can enter your apartment without your permission - provided that the LL/management provides you written notice at least 24 hrs in advance. In the event of an emergency, no notice is required prior to entering.

Are you a contractor? Plumbing specialist? You can't say for sure that they don't need to cut thru your bathroom ceiling to get to the pipes for those repairs. Maybe they can, maybe not. Perhaps one way is a less expensive process than the other. But since this is a major repair that needs to be done, you do not have the right to refuse them access to do the work. Once notice is given, the LL and their authorized representatives are allowed to come in, whether or not you let them in.

If there is going to be that much noise and debris, you can certainly ask the LL to compensate you for the inconvenience, or perhaps provide you with another unit to live in while the work is being done (if it takes that long). If the repairs do not affect the habitability of your apt, then don't expect any compensation.
One thing is for sure - if you continue to resist allowing the LL to make those repairs, you can probably expect to be evicted or have your lease non-renewed at the end of the term.
Hi,

First I want to thank you for the answer.
No I'm not a contractor and not a plumbing specialist but I do have some common sense. I'm sure the problem can be fixed by removing the bath tub replacing the pipe and placing the bath tub back again. If my assumption is wrong it means that if the same problem happens in the ground floor apartment the problem CAN'T be fixed since there is no apartment under the ground apartment and that doesn't make sense. So maybe removing the bath will cost them more since, maybe, their maintenence can't do it and they need to bring a specialist for that.
I'm not stoping them from fixing the problem I just want to stop them from doing it the way they want to do it, if there is another way to fix the problem.
If there wasn't any other way, I would understand it and allow them to do it.
Now let's say I have no option and must let them do it through my ceiling, do they need to be qualified to do the job, since it involves taking the ceiling down and then putting it back up or anyone can do it?

Thank you,

Avi.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Entering my apartment without my permission

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Hi,

First I want to thank you for the answer.
No I'm not a contractor and not a plumbing specialist but I do have some common sense. I'm sure the problem can be fixed by removing the bath tub replacing the pipe and placing the bath tub back again. If my assumption is wrong it means that if the same problem happens in the ground floor apartment the problem CAN'T be fixed since there is no apartment under the ground apartment and that doesn't make sense. So maybe removing the bath will cost them more since, maybe, their maintenence can't do it and they need to bring a specialist for that.
I'm not stoping them from fixing the problem I just want to stop them from doing it the way they want to do it, if there is another way to fix the problem.
If there wasn't any other way, I would understand it and allow them to do it.
Now let's say I have no option and must let them do it through my ceiling, do they need to be qualified to do the job, since it involves taking the ceiling down and then putting it back up or anyone can do it?

Thank you,

Avi.
I'm not sure I understand... "Do they need to be qualified?". Are you asking if they have to be licensed plumbers, construction workers, etc.?

Actually, the LL gets to decide who does the work. They are responsible for the hiring and screening of their contractors. Perhaps their maintenance staff also has experience in drywall and plumbing work, maybe they'll hire a separate contractor to do it. Either way, the LL has to live with the quality of the work performed. I will say this, though. Depending on the level of repairs being done, they may need a building & safety inspector to inspect the work and sign off on it. That's how they do it in Los Angeles, but not sure if the same applies for Orange County where you live.

Whether or not the workers are "qualified" as you say really has nothing to do with it. You don't get a say in the matter, and you certainly can't refuse access for them to do the repairs just because you think the workers are unqualified. If the problem doesn't get fixed properly, you can always go back and complain to the LL about it.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #6
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I'm not sure I understand... "Do they need to be qualified?". Are you asking if they have to be licensed plumbers, construction workers, etc.?

Actually, the LL gets to decide who does the work. They are responsible for the hiring and screening of their contractors. Perhaps their maintenance staff also has experience in drywall and plumbing work, maybe they'll hire a separate contractor to do it. Either way, the LL has to live with the quality of the work performed. I will say this, though. Depending on the level of repairs being done, they may need a building & safety inspector to inspect the work and sign off on it. That's how they do it in Los Angeles, but not sure if the same applies for Orange County where you live.

Whether or not the workers are "qualified" as you say really has nothing to do with it. You don't get a say in the matter, and you certainly can't refuse access for them to do the repairs just because you think the workers are unqualified. If the problem doesn't get fixed properly, you can always go back and complain to the LL about it.
Hi,

1. How can I find out what is the level of work that needs inspection in my county, if you know?
2. Assuming the problem can be fixed through my ceiling OR by doing the job at the upper apatment only,
is there any law or any way for me to make the LL do the fix through the upper apartment and not
through mine or the LL can decide whatever he wants regardless of the trouble the selected way can
cause. Although it is their property, I still pay rent and believe I still have some rights, don't I?

Thank you,

Avi.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 11:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Entering my apartment without my permission

1. How can I find out what is the level of work that needs inspection in my county, if you know?

A simple broken pipe does not usually need a building permit. A building permit is for improvements (they aren't making any) and major work. This work isn't either. Its simply a broken drain pipe from a tub (gray water, not waste). I seriously doubt it will need a permit or an inspection.

2. Assuming the problem can be fixed through my ceiling OR by doing the job at the upper apatment only,
is there any law or any way for me to make the LL do the fix through the upper apartment and not
through mine or the LL can decide whatever he wants regardless of the trouble the selected way can
cause. Although it is their property, I still pay rent and believe I still have some rights, don't I?

You have no right to tell the LL how to make repairs. As you said, it isn't your property. You are a resident there. The repairs are a permanent fix to the building. The LL will have to live with them for years to come and approve the quality of the work, not you. You have no say in this matter. What part of that do you not understand? Your rights are those we have outlined above. The right to be notified of entry if it is not an emergency (this IS an emergency, as is any broken pipe). You have the right to request reasonable compensation for the inconvenience. Nothing more. Let these guys get this work done. If you continue to stall the work, you can be held liable for the rent lost in that unit while awaiting your permission to enter. You would be guilty of infringement of trade (you are interfering with the LL's right to do business - to prep and rent that unit.) He can sue you for this. At this rate, I doubt your lease would be renewed.
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