Q: Rental company sent out employees to do repairs without giving 24 hour notice and never discussed. What can be done?
Employees showed up to do repairs that were never discussed with the manager. I stated you need to give 24 hour notice and he said not if its outside and to call her or the police. She wouldn't answer the phone. This was not an emergency and I did not request it. Before they left I saw them at my enclosed patio gate hammering. I stated the door is fine and please leave. He stated the manager wants all broken panels fixed. The next day I went to open it and it was blocked so I had to go through the front door check the problem and they nailed it shut so I couldn't get out. I had to call someone to come over and remove the screws. This was intentional and now I value my safety and worry what is next. There are 2 ways out in case of fire which is the front door or the patio. I use the patio since it is easier for me to go outside to my car, carry groceries or yard work. Should I file a police report? What other options do I have?
A: If the yard is a common area shared with other tenants, or it is an emergency (pipe burst, etc.), then they likely don't have to provide you 24 hr notice. If you have requested repairs, they can enter without 24 hr notice for 7 days following the repair request, longer if they are in the process of repairing things when the 7 days is up. Otherwise, they likely do owe you at least 24 hours advanced notice and you are likely entitled to collect a month's rent for every such violation you can prove. Regardless of the 24 hr notice issue, you are free to tell the landlord or anyone else to leave at any time you wish. If they refuse, call the police and have them removed. Period. If you want to pursue the unlawful entry, you have 1 year from the date it occurred to file a lawsuit or it will be too late, regardless of the merit of your case. If you file and win, you not only should recover a month's rent for each violation (and maybe something more for screwing the gate closed), but also your court costs and attorney's fees (which is what the landlord will really fear - if they go to trial and lose, they will likely owe you or your attorney several thousand dollars in fees). If interested, talk with a local landlord-tenant attorney. Good luck.
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