jilbert-ebrahimi-33575-300x200There are certain circumstances under which if your landlord will not fix a problem in your rental unit, you have the right to take control of the situation, pay for the repair, and deduct the cost from your next month’s rent. However, this is only an option in limited circumstances and you must follow the law to do this “repair and deduct” process correctly. If you take a misstep, you could end up with problems with your landlord and not being able to deduct the amount. If you have serious issue in your apartment that needs repairs and your landlord is not responding, contact a San Francisco tenant rights attorney from Brod Law firm at (800) 427-7020 to learn about your options.

When is Repair and Deduct an Option?

Repair and deduct may be an option if an issue within your apartment makes it uninhabitable. This includes but is not limited to:

katherine-mccormack-42649-300x200On February 22, a crane and concrete slab in a high-rise construction site in South of Market became unstable and were at a risk of falling, CBS SF Bay Area reported. Due to the significant dangers posed by the two-ton piece of concrete hanging 35 stories above the ground, the building under construction and 15 others around it were evacuated. The surrounding streets and alleys were also closed.

The issue was caused when a strut within the crane that was putting the concrete wall into position failed, which is also being referred to in the news as a partial hydraulic failure. This caused the crane, which is currently located in the center of the building where a stair well will be, to tilt and allow the concrete wall to lean outward. Authorities stated the crane was not going to fall and the evacuations were purely out of caution. If the concrete had fallen after individuals were evacuated, a worst-case-scenario only involved structural damage to a couple of buildings and the street.

Incident Leads to Health and Safety Violation

b3ims-0adiw-frantzou-fleurine-300x140Financial elder abuse comes in many different forms, yet it often has the underlying element of undue influence exerted by a person over an elderly individual. During financially abusive situations, this undue influence results in a family member, caretaker, friend, or stranger unlawfully gaining money, real estate, personal property, or other assets from a senior. These circumstances are not only morally wrong, they are also illegal. Financial elder abuse can lead to both civil and criminal charges against the perpetrators.

Undue Influence under California Law

California’s Welfare and Institutions Code §15610.70 defines undue influence. It is excessive persuasion that causes an individual to act or not to act by overcoming that individual’s free will, resulting in inequity.

fre-sonneveld-2073-300x200Evictions, or when you are required by your landlord to leave your rental unit, can happen in multiple ways. Evictions based on fault occurs if you do not pay rent or break the lease in some other way. No-fault evictions occur when you receive notice to leave the premises even though you have done nothing wrong. No-fault evictions can happen when your landlord needs full access to the unit without anyone in it. There is also a circumstance known as constructive eviction, when you are not told by the landlord to leave, but a habitability issue forces you to leave.

Your Rights When Evicted

Under San Francisco’s landlord-tenant laws, your rights upon eviction will depend on why you were evicted and how. If you were evicted based on not paying rent, you have minimal rights. You must leave and you may even still owe the landlord money. However, if you face a no-fault eviction, your rights are quite different. Under Section 37.9C of the Rent Ordinance and Section 1947.9 of the California Civil Code, you may have the right to payments from the landlord for your relocation or temporary displacement.

alice-achterhof-74928-300x200On February 8, a long-time Berkeley resident was killed in a bicycle-vehicle accident on Sacramento Street south of Hopkins Street at around 7 in the morning, Berkeleyside reported. Motorists stopped to help and call 911, and the Berkeley Police and Fire Departments arrived quickly. A motorist attempted CPR prior to the arrival of paramedics, but the cyclist was not responsive and died from the accident. The Berkeley Police Department Fatal Accident Investigation Team is investigating the crash, and the driver who collided with the cyclist was fully cooperating. Investigators had not identified the primary cause of the collision as of the day following the accident and it is unknown whether any charges will be filed.

Bicycle accidents like this can hit a community and family hard. Unfortunately, they are not rare. Thousands of individuals are seriously injured or lose their lives during vehicle-bicycle collisions every year. If you were injured in a bike accident or lost a loved one in a crash, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. At Brod Law Firm, we can explain your legal rights and next best steps.

Bicycle Accidents Plague California

cristian-newman-63291-199x300Katherine Jackson, 86, the mother of famous siblings Michael and Janet Jackson, came forward earlier this year claiming that her nephew, Trent Lamar Jackson, had been financially and emotionally abusing her for years. According to documents filed in court for a restraining order, Mrs. Jackson stated that Trent made himself the custodian over her care and was employed as her driver. She heavily relied on him, yet Trent would refuse to take her home, would not drive her unless she met his demands, isolated her from other family members to exert undue influence on her, and did all of this to control her finances and live in her guest house for free. Trent’s psychological abuse confused Mrs. Jackson and caused her angst, fear, and depression. The documents also claim that Trent accessed Mrs. Jackson’s bank accounts and used her credit cards for his own purchases without her permission.

Mrs. Jackson was granted a temporary restraining order against her nephew, who is not allowed within 100 yards of her or within the gated community where she lives. Trent is required to move out of Mrs. Jackson’s home and return all keys, passwords, and combinations to the property. A hearing for a permanent restraining order is set for March 1.

Accusations of elder abuse like this are taken seriously by California courts. Physical, emotional, and financial abuse of individuals over the age of 65 can lead to civil lawsuits and criminal charges.

zi8-e3qj_rm-cristian-newman-300x199In early February, a man from Newport Coast, California was charged with financial elder abuse, 19 counts of fraud, first-degree residential burglary to commit larceny, and theft from an elder after emptying the bank account of a 95-year-old woman who has dementia and resides in a nursing home. The man was working as an assistant to the trustee of the elderly woman’s bank accounts when he is said to have stolen the woman’s checkbooks. He then allegedly forged her checks between March 2015 and September 2016. The trustee discovered the issue in October when a check was returned for insufficient funds and contacted the authorities. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated and arrested the man after it was determined that he stole more than $500,000 from the elderly woman. The man allegedly used the money to pay for his personal expenses, including credit cards and European vacations.

Financial Elder Abuse is a Growing Problem

While this story is shocking, it is unfortunately not uncommon. The elderly are often taken advantage of financially, sometimes by small amounts and other times in such significant ways that it leaves them in considerable debt or bankrupt. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, 1 in 20 older adults reports some type of financial mistreatment in the recent past. However, this figure is likely far too low for the amount of financial abuse that actually goes on. Studies have shown that it is possible that only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse is actually reported. This means millions of elderly across the country may be victims of theft and fraud and either unaware, unable to come forward, or too ashamed to speak up.

yo3whnbzxsc-joel-peel-300x200On February 7, a school bus carrying students crashed into another vehicle in Lancaster, California. The bus rolled over and hit a utility pole near East Lancaster Boulevard and 20th Street East. The accident occurred around 7:15 a.m. while the bus was carrying eight students with special needs and two of their aids. Seven students suffered minor injuries and one suffered critical injuries. The driver of the other vehicle, a Cadillac, was also taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The crash is currently under investigation though an initial statement from the bus driver alleged that the Cadillac ran a red light.

This accident is one example of the type of collision a school bus can be involved in. While school bus accidents are generally rare, they are not unheard of and can result in serious injuries and fatalities. While the students in Lancaster had seat belts and were wearing them, many students do not have safety belts in their buses or choose not to wear them. This is one of the reasons students may be seriously injured in a school bus crash. If you or a your child was hurt while riding the school bus, contact a San Francisco school bus accident lawyer from Brod Law Firm to learn about your legal objects.

School Bus Accidents

Taipei_Taiwan_Military-sound-truck-01-300x200The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia decided in December of 2016 that the government can pursue criminal charges against a defendant even if that person also faced a qui tam action brought by a private individual. In the case of U.S. v. Whyte, William R. Whyte, the owner and CEO of Armet Armored Vehicles, Inc., was charged with six counts of wire fraud, three counts of major fraud against the U.S., and three counts of false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims based on Whyte and Armet delivering vehicles that did not conform to the agreed upon specifications and were late after being contracted to manufacture and supply armored vehicles for the U.S. to use in Iraq. While these criminal charges were pending, Whyte was sued by the former president of Armet through a civil qui tam action under the False Claims Act. The federal government chose not to intervene and become a party to the qui tam suit, which was later decided in favor of White and Armet. This funding in favor of him led Whyte to seek to dismiss the criminal charges against him on the basis of collateral estoppel. His request was denied.

Understanding the Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel

Under collateral estoppel, a criminal defendant cannot be tried for the same issue in more than one criminal trial. This means there cannot be later lawsuits regarding legal and factual questions that were previously litigated, in a civil or criminal trial and resulted in a valid judgment. This doctrine is related to the protection from double jeopardy in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits a person from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime. In essence, a plaintiff, whether it is the state or federal government, only has one chance to litigate an issue.

h_xf5vhzmrm-neha-deshmukh-200x300The sooner you realize you have bed bugs, the faster you can ask your landlord to have an exterminator come out and solve the problem. In recent years, newer chemicals and heat treatments have been developed that are highly effective in getting rid of bed bugs. However, the longer you have these insects in your home, the more there will be and the harder they will be to eradicate. Considering the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area is within the top ten cities for bed bug service calls in 2016, according to Orkin, this is information you cannot afford to ignore. By knowing the signs, you can communicate with your landlord right away and prevent a habitability issue.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Fortunately, bed bugs are relatively easy to spot. They have some distinct habits that can differentiate them from other pests. Look for: