What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.
september 10, 1996: case closed
many of you have asked what became of my conflict with my landlord and my manager. many others of you offered useful advice and support. thanks!
happily, (and surprisingly!) for the first time in many many months, my efforts paid off and were rewarded.
after i sent the following letter, the landlord's lawyer called me up and begged me not to sue. exterminators came and sprayed and searched the entire building. i am meeting the landlord this weekend to show him the problems with the building.
i am still reconciling the efficacy of this letter with the futility of almost the rest of my life.
if, after reading it, you have any insights, kindly let me know.
in the meanwhile, i will continue to dwell on all that is not working.
13 My Street
San Francisco, CA
September 10, 1996
Joseph W and Michele M. LandLord
Down Deep Under Drive
San Francisco, CA 94131
Dear Mr. and Ms. Evil:
Once again I am writing to complain about the irrational, abusive, and harassing behavior of you agent, Iris Barreriero.
Tonight at approximately 10 PM, I exited my apartment to walk to the gym to exercise. I had just returned home from a recent contract position as a programmer at Transphere Interactive, and I was in need of a workout. Iris saw me exit my apartment, walked up to me, stood six inches from me, and gave me a threatening glare.
"That is a nice glare," I said. "But Iris, the police have instructed you not to interact with me. Kindly leave me alone."
"You are in big trouble!" she threatened.
"I am in no trouble, Iris. I have broken no law. Please stop."
"You are in big trouble, you dirty bitch," she ranted. "Just you wait, you slut. I have a big surprise for you."
"Are you threatening me Iris?" I asked. "That is illegal. Please do not make me call the police. I need to go to the gym and it closes soon."
"You filthy bitch. You watch out! I have a surprise! You are out of here, you bitch."
"Iris, please leave me alone. You will get yourself in trouble. The police have instructed you not to interact with me."
"You are in trouble yourself you bitch! You filthy rotten little bitch!"
Iris followed me down the stairs to the front door. Her two dogs followed me and tried to leave the apartment building.
"Iris, I ask you again to leave me alone. And please keep your dog on a leash. He is about to run out to the street."
"You rotten bitch. I have a surprise. Just you wait." "Iris, you are angry because I wrote the landlords about you. I will do so again."
"YOU are the one who is in trouble! I am getting you evicted!" she ranted, her eyes wide.
"Iris, I request again that you stop harassing me. That is illegal."
Then one of her two dogs followed me out the front door and ran into the street.
"Iris, please control your dog. He is going to be hit by a car." She ran into the street, dodged a car, and retrieved the dog.
"You bitch!" she screamed.
"Iris, do you want me to call the police and have you thrown in jail?" "Yeah, bitch. Call the fucking police. See if I care! I talked to my lawyer!"
"Geez, Iris, fine." I walked back into the apartment and started to climb the stairs to my apartment. On the second floor, Iris's girlfriend intercepted Iris and grabbed her. She dragged Iris back into the apartment.
"Please control Iris," I asked Iris's girlfriend. "I know you love her. Please keep her out of trouble. This is getting bad. She is harassing me. She is getting herself in trouble. Please tell her to stop."
Iris's girlfriend dragged her back into their apartment. I went into Michael's apartment. He had witnessed the whole event. He told me he would protect me if Iris came after me.
I went to the gym, but the entire time I was there, I was afraid that Iris was going to enter my apartment and vandalize my belongings, steal my things, or even harm my pets. She is frightening. I am a working professional and should not have to live under such a level of fear.
Pursuant to California Civil Code CC sections 1788 - 1788.32, it is illegal to threaten or harass a tenant by threatening eviction. Statutory damages range from $100 to $1000 for each occurrence. Swearing at a tenant is explicitly prohibited by section 1788.10. Furthermore, unauthorized entry into a tenant's apartment is not only prohibited by the California Civil Code, but it is also a crime under California Penal Code sections 418 (Forcible Entry), 594 (Malicious Mischief), and 602.5 (Unauthorized Entry). If I need to, I intend to bring down the full weight of the law against you and your agent, Iris Barreiro.
I have every right to live in my apartment free from harassment from an off-balance manager. Please be aware that, because Iris is your agent, Iris stands in your shoes in the eyes of the law, and all of her actions are attributed to you by the doctrine of respondeat superior.
This letter is not written as a threat. I am a working woman and I have a lot of better things to do with my time than sue my landlord. All I am asking is that you give me a place to live that is free from fear and harassment, as is required by law. I am asking that you speak with Iris, or else remove her as manager.
Again I repeat that Iris has not done a reasonably competent job as manager. She never makes arrangements to remedy building repairs, as the law requires, and she is inconsiderate, even malicious, to the tenants. She breaks the rules she claims to enforce, as well. For example, she keeps two large dogs in her apartment. They create noise and smell. She lets them defecate on the roof, in addition. If you do not believe me, come over to 136 Guerrero and take a look on the roof yourself. You will see dog shit (excuse me, for lack of a better word). Personally, I do not care that Iris has dogs. I do not care that Iris lets them shit on the roof. I find it pathetic (but not worth my time) that she is on crack. All I am asking is that you refrain Iris from threatening me, that you make it clear that she will be fired if she enters my apartment (again) without permission, and that you arrange for fixing the repairs that I have been requesting now for months.
I understand that you have probably never had a tenant like myself before, but I assure you that I am writing in good faith. I am required by the State Bar of California to be honest and forthcoming in all of my legal, or semi-legal affairs. I am an educated and well-respected member of the community. I work hard, am responsible, and take great pride in my work. I am asking of you only to comply with the most basic mandates of California Housing Law. I assume that you too will act reasonably and in good faith, and be willing to resolve these disputes amicably and in a professional manner.
Accordingly, I again restate my requests:
1. Please either remove Iris as manger, or else control her abusive, unpredictable, and irrational behavior. If Iris continues to threaten me, I may have no choice but to change my locks, which is prohibited neither by my lease nor by California State law. I simply cannot continue to live in fear that Iris is entering my apartment and endangering my belongings and my pets.Furthermore, I reiterate that the following are defects of the apartment and/or building of which it is your responsibility to repair:
2. Please call me as soon as possible to arrange for a plumber to fix my leaky toilet. The plumbing is becoming a hazard in my apartment. The toilet has been running ever since I moved in. The drains in the kitchen and bathroom have also been clogged, and the kitchen tap does not get hot. If I do not hear from you within one week from today, that is, Tuesday, September 17, 1996, I will seek out a plumber myself, and charge the expense against my rent. I have given you more than sufficient notice pursuant to law.
1. the drains in the kitchen and bathroom are clogged and not smooth;
2. the toilet is broken, and runs if not turned off manually by sticking my hand into the water to shut off the flow of the water;
3. many of the windows are painted shut;
4. the back stairway hand railings are dangerously loose and liable to break any minute;
5. the hardwood floors are stained and contain dangerous nails which stick out sporadically, causing me several injuries.
6. the hole in the kitchen wall is exposed, and provides a gateway for insects and rodents to enter the apartment.
7. many, if not most, of the built-in cabinets, doors, and drawers do not close completely.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address, phone number, or email address listed above.
I greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
cc: Kristin Diamond, Esq.
Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board
Public Health Department
San Francisco Tenants Union
so anyway, because of this, i am actually thinking of returning to law. at least i can think. at least i can be effective.
my neighbors love me. i feel appreciated it.
and that makes me feel -- almost -- alive.
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