Los Angeles, CA- Tenant/Landlord Issues with Tenant Security

I moved into my apartment building in November of 2011. New owner bought our building in March 2012. Ever since then, we’ve had several security issues since including multiple vehicle break-ins in our carport, (my car and a neighbors car was broken into the same night, and another neighbor has had her car broken into twice) and strangers loitering in our carport at night, and distributing and using illegal drugs, which myself and other tenants have witnessed. We have had our dumpster tagged with gang graffiti and we also have 3 different transients coming into out carport all day and night and dumpster diving. I also have a bathroom window that has NO lock on it, that I have reported twice and has not been fixed. I have to wedge coat hangers into it to keep it shut. We reported this to the property managers and the tenants asked the owners to install security cameras on property for our safety, which they did. The LAPD also informed us that the building next door to us housed gang members who had just been released from jail, who were also running prostitutes in our area and that we should ask our property managers to also liaise with them to install No Trespassing signs and have the police patrol the area. The property manager claims to have been in contact with the police. The security cameras were installed in July 2012 and we were told by property managers that they were fully functional and would record video and sound, but none of the other suggested precautions were taken. On the evening of August 9, 2012 at 4:00 am, I had to call 911 with my neighbor because of a suspicious person knocking on our doors at 3:45 am and refusing to identify themselves. I contacted the building manager asking if he would review our surveillance footage, and I received a response that the cameras were having “technical difficulties” and may not have recorded the incident. Other tenants have been told that the cameras “were not reliable, might not actually work well or record any faces, but should act as a deterrent.” This is the first time we have been told this by the management company, and until this point were led to believe that the camera system was fully operational. The management company never contacted any tenants to inform us that the system was not, or would not be working at any point in time before this date. The tenants feel we have been intentionally misled about the security cameras, as well as the owners being committed to our personal safety. This company is currently trying to re-sell the building, and don’t seem to actually care about the tenants issues because of this fact. We are all just looking for some advice on what we could do legally, if it turns out that the management company is intentionally misleading us in regards to the operation and functionality of our security surveillance system, as well as taking any other precautions to ensure tenant safety and security.

I found this website to contact an attorney that specifically says:

Negligent Security Issues
If you live in an apartment or condominium, you should expect that the management company and owners will keep the property safe. Garages, carports, recreations rooms, parking lots, common areas and hallways should be well-lit and reasonably secure, especially if problems have occurred in the past that were brought to the landlord’s attention. Some types of problems that contribute to property owners negligence in relation to personal safety:

Broken door locks
Duplicate keys
**Lack of window locks or security gates
Assaults or attacks from tenants, visitors, or others known to be dangerous**

It seems like we have a valid issue here, but just wondering if anyone has dealt with this before and what, if any, outcome can we expect if we were to pursue this issue?

Real-life medical and/or legal problems are best asked in IMHO, rather than General Questions. MOved.

samclem, Moderator

I would get the hell out of there, screw the landlord. Geez. I wouldn’t feel safe unless I had perimeter land mines installed.

Move

Right. Get the fuck out of there.

They even stole your paragraphs! I would move.

I would love to move, but I don’t have the funds for that at the moment. What I want at the moment is for them to install an actual working security system, and not some BS cameras just to make people think they’re working. In cases like this, when we actually need to be able to review the footage for evidence, we have none.

I’m not sure I’d feel safer because a security camera was installed. I mean, that’s only useful AFTER an incident. In any event, I’d look up my local Legal Aid society to see if they can walk you through the process of filing a complaint against your landlord and/or withholding your rent (or putting it into escrow) because your landlord is not fulfilling his end of the bargain.

Bangers respect nothing!

I would think that the installations of lights in your carport would go a long way. This would be something I do myself instead of waiting for the landlord.

What part of LA we talkin here?

Hollywood, Palms, K’town, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Fairfax, Crenshaw, the Valley?

The OP’s lease may have restrictions on permanent improvements to the property. It’s never a good idea to do that, at least with your own money.

I second PunditLisa’s advice. The many, many (and I do mean “many”) fine law schools in the Los Angeles area have legal clinics where their students work to get experience. They are supervised by actual, licensed attorneys. Find out where you stand legally before you do anything, especially something that will violate your lease. Violations to the lease can lead to eviction, and you’re much worse off than before because, in addition to having to move on short notice, you’ll have an eviction for cause on your record, which will make it difficult to find other housing.

So talk to a lawyer or go to a legal clinic.