05-22-2005, 04:05 PM #1
legal question for all you scholars
upon renting the building i am currently living in, our first landlord advertised that upon signing the lease, he would pay for our high speed internet. we liked the place, so we signed the lease. being
naive at this whole renting business, there was nothing in the lease about him
paying for our internet. i asked him about this and he said it would be taken
care of when we moved in and started the internet service. so, when we moved in, i called him about it, and he gave me the ok to subscribe to cox's internet service at $40 a month. since they couldn't send the bill to him, he told me that he would pay me a lump sum for the year. then, in november, he put the building up for sale, assuring us our rights would continue to be protected regarding all initial agreements. however, the internet money was still nowhere to be seen. obviously i shouldn't have waited all year to deal with this problem, but thats what i did. i called him today and he told me that he was going to only pay me $35 a month (what he pays) for the time that he owned the building (6 months). to me this seems like a gross breach of agreement. although it wasn't in the lease, it was advertised (i still have the
advertisement), and im not sure what falls under false advertising law, but
this seems as though it definitely should. any advice other than burning his house down? i would really rather not have to take this to small claims court.
05-22-2005, 05:13 PM #2
If it's not in your lease agreement, I don't think you can really do a whole lot. I don't know what Calif. laws are specifically, but in regards to the false advertising, it sounds like that is the case. You could contact the real estate commision for CA and see what they have to say, but it sounds like the only way you'd get anywhere is to take him to court, which you'd have to decide if it is really worth your time and effort in doing.
People like your landlord get away with things like this because for most people it is too much of a hassle to go to court, etc. in order to make this type of thing stop.
05-23-2005, 10:53 PM #3
im going to take him to court i think. i read the laws on false advertising and it sounds like i definately have a case. especially since im a poor college student and someone is trying to screw me out of $400, i think i might have some sympathy. i think im goign to talk to my friends dad who is a lawyer and see what he says and see if he can draft me up a letter/invoice/threat of lawsuit.
05-23-2005, 11:29 PM #4
Why didn't you subtract the internet fee's from the rent?
05-23-2005, 11:46 PM #5
Asking for sympathy in court won't get ya anywhere . . . what the judges go by is the contract.
If the written contract has a clause that says something like, "Any changes to the contract must be in writing," and you put your signature to that contract, then your landlord can lie and promise anything it takes to get you to pay $$$. It's what you agreed to in writing, and that takes precedence to any oral contract you may have.
Now, if there isn't a clause like that in the contract, then the way you enforce an oral contract is by proving that there was one, in court. I hope you have witnesses, else if the landlord denies everything, you'll be pissing in the wind.
If you bring an advertisement that says the owner will pay for your internet service, and he only owned the building for 6 months, I'm pretty sure you'll only be able to get 6 months of $$$ back, and the judge will tell you that you have to sue the current owner for the rest.
But then again, a lot depends on how the ad is worded. If it says, "Internet hook-up fees paid," well, that's all your're entitled to. If it says, "Internet fees paid," that's a bit vague, and depending on the judge, you may get something, or you may get nothing. If it says, "All internet fees paid for as long as you are a tenant," well, then you have something. But if it's not part of the contract you signed, then the judge may assume that you gave up that benefit in exchange for something else, like reduced rent, or better carpet, or something.
In short, be prepared to prove everything with documents.
05-24-2005, 01:52 AM #6
the advertisement says "free high speed internet with lease signing.
actually, it looks like he has a few issues with the consumer leasing act (http://www.lawpublish.com/ftc-free.html):
- "The disclosures about third-party fees also must be clear and conspicuous."
- "The required disclosures in your ad must be reasonably understandable. That is, consumers must be able to see and read or hear, and understand, the information. Many factors, including the size, duration, and location of the required disclosures, and the background or other information in the ad, can affect whether the information is clear and conspicuous."
as well as the FTC's Guidelines regarding use of the word "free" (http://www.lawpublish.com/ftc-free.html):
- "(2) Because the purchasing public continually searches for the best buy, and regards the offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service to be a special bargain, all such offers must be made with extreme care so as to avoid any possibility that consumers will be misled or deceived."
-(c) Disclosure of conditions. When making ''Free'' or similar offers all the terms, conditions and obligations upon which receipt and retention of the ''Free'' item are contingent should be set forth clearly and conspicuously at the outset of the offer so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood.
am i right here?
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