This thread is as boring as it gets, relating to an issue I'm going through with my landlord right now. Here's a picture of my E30 at Thunderhill for your troubles, read on if you're curious/might have some experience dealing with landlord difficulties, or might have an unbiased opinion to provide -
Here's the boring story! -
My girlfriend and I recently moved into an apartment in a large complex in San Mateo County, CA. The building has 2 elevators that are used as the primary means of access to each floor. After having unpacked from our move, earlier this week we were loading boxes, packing materials etc. into one of the elevators to take down to the recycling area - when a small piece of wood from one of our furniture crates (probably 2 feet long x 2 inch thick) fell in between the crack of the elevator door and the wall, and down the elevator shaft to the floor below. The "seismic" light on the elevator went off and the elevator refused to close or move after this. At this point I stood guard at the disabled elevator while my girlfriend took the other one down to the front office to inform them of this event - a security guard came back up with her promptly and said similar events have happened before with people dropping keys down the shaft etc., and that they'd take care of it and that we should just finish our recycling run on the second elevator - which we took a few rounds up and down the building and worked flawlessly.
A few hours later however, the second elevator had stopped working too - leaving only the emergency stairs for all residents to use. Turns out, after we had reported the first elevator malfunction to the security guard, they had called the elevator company to get it working again - apparently the piece of wood had hit some switch at the bottom of the shaft that sets off the seismic sensor for the first elevator, and when they were removing it the sensor for the second elevator went off too - which resulted in both elevators needing to be reset.
Fast-forward to today, 2 days later - my girlfriend runs into the property manager at the front office, who tells her that we will probably be charged for the expense of fixing the two elevators. Supposedly in a previous incident where a tenant dropped a set of keys down the shaft and needed them retrieved immediately the tenant was charged $700, so we were told to expect a similar bill if management concludes we are required to cover this expense.
- Has anyone had similar experiences and what advice would you provide in this situation?
- What legal obligation do we have as tenants(that you know of, at least)? The only resource I was able to find thus far was the California Renters Handbook published by the DCA, which states "Tenants are required by law to take reasonable care of their rental units, as well as common areas such as hallways and outside areas. Tenants must act to keep those areas clean and undamaged. Tenants also are responsible for repair of all damage that results from their neglect or abuse, and for repair of damage caused by anyone for whom they are responsible, such as family, guests, or pets." in the Tenant's Responsibility for Repairs section. I would like to point out that this was NOT an act of neglect or abuse - we were simply loading the elevator at which point the piece of wood slid between the elevator gap as a result of human error. This language in the handbook does not appear to apply to our situation here, right?
- Based on the Property Manager's statement that we will probably be billed for this expense, the management appears to be sending out a message promoting dishonesty to tenants - we could have just as easily snuck away from the broken elevator, used the second one, not reported anything, and wiped our hands clean. Instead, trying to be good tenants we informed management of what happened in an effort to help fix the inconvenience to all tenants ASAP - and are now being punished for it. Yes, I understand that WE caused the damage - however, it was completely innocent and I would expect should be seen as a cost of operating a business (and I would also argue that an elevator gap large enough to fit a 2" thick piece of wood is a hazard) - thoughts/opinions? Am I being rational here?
- The second elevator was NOT broken, we used it several times after the incident as I mentioned. It stopped working when the elevator repair company arrived and attempted to fix the first elevator. We do not agree that we should be charged for fixing either of the elevators, especially not the second one as we did not in any way cause damage to it. Apologies for the long message; truly appreciate any advice or information anyone could provide in taking our next step with this issue.