Thu, August 19, 2004
PPL (pre-paid legal) has not been helpful to me at all and I've called them on many seperate occasions during the first and only month I had the service, it's a waste of money, in my opinion, it's hard to even get the lawyers to call you back. You cannot call and directly talk to a lawyer like they make it sound, you call and they return your call days later with information you can find on the internet. Go to you court house, Ask the Clerk for small claims, pay the filing fee (usually around $50.00). They will set a court date and sopena your landlord. It cost extra depending how you want him to be served. (Sheriff, Certified Letter, or you can hand it to him directly.) The loser of the case will be responsible for all court costs. Sue him for a little extra for the time lost, ect. excuse any spelling errors
Wed, August 04, 2004
As a renter you have numerous rights. One of those is the right to have your "security deposit" returned to you in a timely manner, or have an itemized list of expenses justifying why it is not being returned in full or any portion there-of. A deposit is just that, a deposit. It is meant to protect the property owner from unscrupulous people who damage property and refuse to replace, repair or renumerate for the damages. Basically, irresponsibility. There is indeed a law on the California books that sets a limit on a landlords response time concerning return of rent deposits. Your previous landlord is way outside the time statutes if he/she did not give you, in writing, a legitimate reason with itemization for returning your deposit within 21 days because unless it has been changed in the last few years it was 14 days to inspect and respond to the renter. You have an extremely winnable case in small claims if you will simply file the suit. This is not a great expense, and any unrelated third party, say a co-worker or friend that never lived in the apartment with you, can serve the suit on your previous landlord for you without cost. Be prepared to have the landlord file a countersuit and make all types of outlandish accusations. If you are as conscientous as you seam to be in your complaint, you have kept your receipts for improvements and hopefully you also took some pictures of your place, before or when you moved in and not too long before you moved out, which will show the condition of the property prior to your occupation and then during. Small claims is a very simple cut and dry court activity. Present yourself calmly, without emotion and stick to the facts. Do not allow the opposition to bait you into speaking out when it is not your turn, or behaving in any type of defensive way. Take notes while they give their testimony so that you can address issues they speak of. WAIT until it is your turn to speak or rebutt before saying ANYTHING. Ignore emptionally and irrationally based insults and accusations completely and return to the facts of your case no matter how the other person tries to move away from them. Since your landlord is so far out of the legal restrictions in this case you are looking at a very good chance of winning on a mere technicality regardless of any basis in fact. The best guides I have found for self legal representation are available through the NOLO PRESS. Their books are very reasonably priced and will help you to get through your legal process with confidence and asurance. Knowledge is after all, power. I too am a Pre-Paid Legal Associate. I am at manager level and while I put forth a great deal of effort in the beginning to tell the truth, I made it to manager with very little effort. I do not actively persue the commission as a means of income but I do believe in the product. I have had enough legal experiences in my short lifetime to learn the value of qualified advice, as well as when to admit to my limitations. While I think a Pre-Paid Legal Plan can be of use and service to everyone, I am, at best, not amused at the Associate who used your situation to make a sales pitch rather than offer true, sound, advice, and I ask that associate to please review the opportunistic tactics they are using and realize that it is just this type of behavior that gives PPLS such a bad reputation. Your situation under PPLS regulations would be considered a pre-existing condition and while you would be able to use the unlimited legal advice under title 1 to help you through your case and also to clearly spell out ALL of your rights as a tennant and your Landlords right as well, it will certainly NOT take the problem over for you. Just as with any bully on the play yard, you will have to stand up and fight this battle yourself if you want to prevent it from happening again. PPLS will help you to do that. With the help of your provider attorneys' guidance, experience, and advice. PPLS will work if you learn how to use it. Often that is were Associates fall down on their clients. They oversell the product when they shouldn't be selling at all, and when they do sell they are not following up and making sure that the person who bought the plan has used it, or even really understands how to. Then when they need to, they don't get to the provider attorneys early enough in the situation for them to provide much assistance. Finally, while you may win a judgement in small claims court that does NOT guarantee that you will collect. So don't put your hopes in that basket just yet. However, once you win you will have many ways to go about collecting and the expenses of those efforts can be added to the debt of collection if they are accrued in the correct ways. Yet again, under title 1, this type of collection methodology would be available to you through your unlimited consultation coverage. There are ways to lien property for collection as well as other options such as cutting your losses and selling the debt to a debt collection agency, usually for 1/2 the value of the debt. Then the collection company will inherit the headache of collection. At the very worst your uncollected judgement will provide you with an additional tax deduction, however, you must consult with a current tax expert to find out exactly how and what amounts you can deduct and if you collect the debt in a later year it will need to be declared as some type of income. Once again, under title 4 of the coverage provided by a PPL membership (yes even the $16 plan) you can have access to a tax attorney to help you with these types of problems, questions, and issues. If you decide to buy a PPL basic family plan please be sure to add the Legal Shield Rider to your coverage for only $1 dollar more a month. It will protect you or your child(ren) with immediate access to an attorney 24hrs a day if any of you are ever , detained, arrested or questioned by any law enforcement official(that includes security guards). I have used my membership probably on average once a month since it's inception almost 4 years ago and it has saved me literally thousands of $'s, but my legal shield coverage was used once. When a police officer profiled me for driving a big old beat up truck home from the Bay Area at 3am. It was apparent that he had trumped up an imaginary reason to pull me over thinking that anyone driving that old beast couldn't have insurance or surely had some other legal issue he could run with. Luckily I had my cell phone with me and as I pulled over I hit the button to call for my legal shield assistance. The officer didn't believe me when he approached my truck and I handed him the phone telling him that my attorney wanted to speak with him. He even yelled at me and called me liar saying that NO attorney was going to get out of bed at 3am for this. My attorney told me exactly what to say with exactly the right words and sure enough that officer was on my cell getting a completely new attitude ajustment from the provider attorney. When he handed me the phone back he was not only polite and courteous, but he actually apologized for delaying me at this late hour when I was obviously travelling alone and then asked if it would be okay for him to give me an escort for the next 100 miles to assure my safety. NOW THAT is not something that happens on any ordinary day or night and I have no doubt that without my provider attorneys' help it would have turned out very differently. Later I found out that it was the President of the Provider Law firm that happened to be on call that night. Talk about getting a guy who knows his business. For one dollar a month as an add on you simply can't afford to be without it. Whatever you decide about PPL and a membership for you, PLEASE don't roll over and let this landlord rip you off. He ripped you off because he thinks he can get away with it, and that is probably because he has gotten away with it in the past. He will continue to do it to others until someone finally stands up to the bully and puts him in his place. I know it's alot of work and effort and I know you are probably overwhelmed with the pace of your life as a single mom but think of the good you'll be doing, the wonderful example you will be setting for your kids and the intense feeling of satisfaction you will receive when you have your day in court. Our society is too quick to sell out the principals of right and wrong. You have been wronged. Shall you continue to give in and be a victim or shall you choose to stand and take the risks that come with the courage of your convictions? Shall you show your child(ren) that they should let people take advantage of them or shall you teach them to use thier constitutional rights to put the bullies of our nation back into thier places? Of course you could lose. That is a risk you'll have to measure against the evidence you have and decide for yourself, but wouldn't you rather stand up for yourself and lose than give up on yourself and not fight at all? One last word of advice. If you are going to chose to act on this you should do it right away. There are statutes of limitation on how much time you have from the occurance of the act and the time you file a court action to address it. If you don't have a PPL plan and don't want one that's fine with me, but do yourself the favor of becoming as informed as possible concerning your legal rights in this matter. Also, make use of legal students who need experience at some of the wonderful colleges around you to help with legal research and presedence documentation to prepare your case. They work for free so that's good for you, they get experience in application and that's good for them. Anything that may be doubtful, they have access to a whole slew of experienced highly educated legal proffessionals at their college to confer with, they are called Law Proffesors and as a general rule to be one you need a PHD in your subject field. You can do this on your own but be smart about it. After all if you had access to a can opener, would you beat the can open with a hammer? Let the law students be your can opener and you will more likely than not , reap the rewards of the feast inside. Always remember, if you don't know what your rights are, then you might as well not have them. If you do know what your rights are and you disregard them and allow others to take them from you without a fight then you better prepare yourself for a world where things like justice and rights no longer exist. It is never easy to do the right thing, but it is ALWAYS worth it.
Tue, May 18, 2004
My Sister in law is currently battling her landlord. She is being charged for lightbulbs! The list is ridiculous! We are both members of pre-paid legal services and she has been able to contact her lawyer for free advice on two prior ocassions regarding this landlord. Now she has been advised as to what is a legal deduction and what is not. I cannot tell you what peace of mind that comes with knowing you have legal protection. If you take your landlord to small claims court you can sue them for twice the amount of your deposit! Please check out my website www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/nataliemilne The prepaid legal membership is 16.00 a month and you get unlimited free phone consultations an all topics business and personal. When My Sister in law told her landlord that she would be consulting her lawyer the landlord said "well Ihope you don't shoot your foot off with the legal fees" Can you believe that? They count on people not calling an attorney because of the expense it is aweful! www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/nataliemilne