Why does California side with tenants over landlords?

Why does California side with tenants over landlords?

So it’s true that California landlords are lawless bullies and thieves! I thought I had just met a few very bad apples who surely couldn’t reflect the attitudes and behavior of very many CA landlords. I know so many
wonderful people from CA.

I was a landlord and property manager in North Carolina and South Carolina, where most landlords of my acquaintance stick to the law and are decent people, and these guys from California shocked me. They were arrogant and contemptuous and showed total disregard for the law, their responsibilities to tenants, and tenant’s rights. They actually told me to do as little as possible and “see what you can get away with” and acted disgusted with me when I told them I don’t violate law, fail to comply with my leases, or mistreat tenants, nor did I know anyone who did.

They told me l was weak, a bad business woman, foolish, and kept pushing me to agree to do illegal things. (They wanted me to do such things for them.)

They suggested as the norm withholding all deposit funds, regardless of how well the property had been left; to ignore requests for repairs and requests for compliance with terms of the leases forever “because
tenants don’t know st*** and can’t do anything about it if you stall, stall, stall”: to conceal issues from prospective tenants when they view property; to lie about anything; to wait as long as possible to pay
anything owed a tenant; and to gaslight tenants to make them think that they are in the wrong, that they have no rights, that no one will take them seriously, so
there’s no reason to pursue it. They said this was how business was done in CA(I didn’t believe them then; now I do) and they wanted me to do it.

The malevolence was appalling. And the tenants of their own that they were talking about included educated professional people who could be expected to stand up for themselves, not just those who are
often considered vulnerable.

In my states tenants can expect fair treatment and.rarely have serious problems, although of course there are exceptions. But even if a landlord makes a wrong move, consumers can contact state consumer affairs or the local housing authority and if the landlord is in the wrong, he will probably change his ways immediately.

For cases that go to court, the law
supports tenants rights, as well as landlords rights and explictly gives the judges the right to severely penalize landlords who violate the law.

For example, in a dispute over money, the judge can order the landlord to pay the tenant 2 or 3 times the amount of money he is trying to get from the tenant illegally. If, however in the judge’s opinion the landlord
offense is bad enough, he can make it 2 or 3 times everything in dispute, even those things the landlord was right about. Or he can go further still and make the landlord pay the tenant any amount he wants.
There are no statutory limits to how much the judge can penalize the landlord. Amazing how that protects tenants.

Apparently, the potential of such heavy penalties must keep our landlords in line. But there must also be a difference in landlord attitudes toward tenants. I have never seen any venom from Carolina landlords toward
tenants in general, although there may be at a deliberately destructive tenant here and there.

I have no idea what could cause such a difference in attitude. In CA, both from the landlord side and from the state enforcement side, I can’t help suspecting big money has a lot to do with protecting unscrupulous landlords.

Maybe CA landlord/tenant laws are weak and you need a huge and energetic activist group to get them changed so that landlords such as those I met are heavily penalized and lose licenses for wrong-doing.

Or maybe CA has good laws and some juridictions simply don’t enforce them. Then activists need to put pressure on local authorities to enforce the law and protect tenants’ rights. And voters must get rid of
elected officials who cater to and protect criminal landlords, especially the huge companies.

Do you elect magistrates and judges? If so, the voters need to get rid of those who protect landlords, too.

I am very sorry to learn that landlords like the ones talked to are not uncommon in CA. I hope they can be made uncommon in the near future.

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