Charges for replacing carpet in my apartment. Legal? (Califorina)

The City of Los Angeles ordered the owners of the apartment building where I live to make repairs to the units. Mine required repairs from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, paint and carpet. I’ve just received a bill from the building owners for $35 because the carpet company charged them that much for moving furniture.

I had told the apartment manager that I was unavailable to move my stuff during the week because of my work schedule and because that I have no assistance. I got a message on a weekday evening that the carpet layers would be in my apartment the next day to install the carpet. I managed to move everything but my bed, dresser, and a rack of shelves into the living room so they could carpet my bedroom. The manager told me that she “moved everything herself” with the assistance of the carpet guys. (Sounds like Clinton: “How could I be alone with someone?”)

Since I did not have a weekend day to get the moving done, as I indicated on a few occasions to the manager was the only time I had, should I have been charged for the moving of three fairly lightweight pieces of furniture?

I was never notified that there would be a “furniture moving” charge if I didn’t have all of the furniture moved. I never signed anything. In fact, I was never given any paperwork for the work to be done. Can they legally charge me?

Can I charge them for the storage unit rental that I had to pay to store my stuff?

What city agency should I contact to find out?

See if you can get a free consultation with a lawyer (landlord-tenant law).

If not free, it will cost you $30-$50 for an answer.

Your call.

(my guess would be that it is reasonable and ordinary to require a tenant to move furniture for the purpose of replacing carpet (you can’t install carpet except in an empty room), so the charge would be justified - IANAL, etc)

You got a brand new carpet and you are complaining about a 35 dollar charge to move your furniture?

Personally, I’d pay it and be thankful.

They raised my rent, too.

Of course, you’re not going to pay a lawyer for this. It’s not even worth going to small claims court. If I were you, I would probably refuse to pay the money and then let the landlord sue you if he wants.

I’ve never had a place carpeted, but I imagine that ordinarily when an inhabited apartment or house is carpeted, the owner pays the carpeting company to move the furniture. Imagine if you had a big house full of stuff - you couldn’t be expected to move it all out of the house. I would consider the costs of moving the furniture as part of the costs of installing new carpet. That’s my opinion anyway.

First of all, demand to see the receipt from the carpet company. Her story doesn’t mke much sense, because she claims she did it herself, but that the company charged her. Call the carpet company (or another one) and ask what the usual practice is.

There is plenty of information on landlord-tenant law on the internet, so look around and see if you can find an answer.

My cousin is in the carpet laying business and he charges $100 an hour to move furniture. He has on many occasions had to empty the house, lay the carpet, then put everything back. His clients don’t seem to mind paying a couple thousand extra for the service.

In that case, I wouldn’t be very thankful either!

Why am I smiling? :slight_smile:

chula: They sent a copy of the receipt. It says “furniture moving labor - assisted, $35.” It seems to me that it should be a cost of complying with the city’s order. Also, I was never informed that there would be any charges of any kind. Besides, they’ve paid the full amount on the bill, so I have no doubt that they will claim it as a business expense.

You might try contacting CALPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group). I found this Renter’s Guide on their site, and while it doesn’t address your specific situation, it lists resources you can call.

I wouldn’t pay the fee without a fight, myself.