Owner Blames Tenants for Poor Conditions in a Rental Dispute

Your recent reports implying that my rental units were substandard enough to be considered in the category of a slum are completely inaccurate.

In reality, these rental units were/are in better condition than 90% of the rental housing in south-central Fullerton. My landlording practices have exceeded the highest standards in this community.

Prior to government intervention and in response to complaints of overcrowding and noise from neighbors, I was engaged in the justified process of evicting the tenants from a rental unit that was in violation of the occupancy rental terms by having a verified 13 occupants.

Their rental agreement violations also included excessive noise as well as having someone sleeping in their garage. When the tenants moved into the rental unit four years and eight months ago, the unit was turned over to them in perfect condition, and 18 months ago, it was again completely refurbished and painted.

On April 26, 1990, I received a complaint; on April 28, at 7:30 a.m., I verified the allegations; and on May 11, I had the tenants served with an extended 50-day notice to vacate. On May 14, the tenants demanded five months' notice or they would call a friend in code enforcement. On May 23, I was contacted by code enforcement officers. All reports to date have failed to disclose these facts.

It was also inappropriate for code enforcement to have elevated its role to the level of making conclusive judgments about the cause of any alleged violations. Code violation can be found in most residential housing, but causation is an independent issue.

Had it been disclosed that the tenants facing eviction damaged the windows and that the floor rot in the hallway and bathroom was caused not by leaky plumbing but by these particular tenants having allowed tub water to splash and overflow through two previously capped faucet holes, the officials would not have received their desired headlines and attention.

These city officials, as well as anyone with any sense at all, should have been able to see my rental units and conclude that they remain in better condition than 90% of rental housing stock in south-central Fullerton.

In the last 20 years, I have assisted hundreds of thousands of people within our community, and most would realize that I must have had no alternative but to resort to evicting someone who was truly damaging this property.



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