Here is some of my experience and opinion while negotiating a rental with Gillman Apartments. I had put down a deposit (and first month's rent, which wasn't required) on one of their units. Then, not remembering seeing a heater in the unit or not and before signing a lease, I asked a rental agent if there was one. He said yes. The day I went to sign the lease, we discovered there was no heater. By CA law there should be a source of heat. I asked for one, and it was installed the next day. On that same day, a window latch happened to break off. The unit was on the ground floor. I went back the next day and met a maintenance worker, who said the owner wanted to replace some of the windows, which would take three or more week's time. Ultimately, I decided not to rent. Subsequently, a $191.67 fee was withheld for keeping this unit from being advertised on the market for 5 days.
In my opinion if the unit had been legally compliant with a source of heat before being offered on the market for rent, I would be in agreement with the decision to withhold a fee. Clearly, that wasn't the case. Had anyone at Gillman Apartments known that this unit lacked a source of heat? If no, why not? Why did a rental agent say there was a heater in the unit when there wasn't one?
I contacted the owner to better understand the situation, as well as to ask for a full refund since the unit was technically legally uninhabitable. With his opinion, he commented on his properties' low renter turn-over rates and the company's current communication and maintenance systems. He claimed that he took the issue seriously and that the previous tenant of the unit had removed the source of heat. He also never outright denied my request for a refund. He said he could better spend time dealing with problems with current tenants. In my opinion, he possibly failed to see that I could still be a potential renter to another one of his properties, unless he or his employees would deny me the service. Finally, I asked him, and those whom he had been cc'ing in his emails, who is responsible for determining the habitability of a unit before deeming it as rent-able on the market, and in receiving no answer from anyone, I am now writing this review.
In my opinion, nothing is perfect, and we strive to improve. I find sustainability more important than making profit. I think landlords using common practice to defend illegal behavior not only tend to perpetuate illegal living conditions on their properties but may also reinforce beliefs that landlords and rental companies may be renting properties at the expense of other people's lives, and if we really consider people's experiences, those lives include the lives of the employees and family members of these landlords, not to mention the lives of the tenants involved and their family members.
So if renting uninhabitable units is not common practice for Gillman Apartments, maybe Gary Gillman, the owner, will refund me my money. As of now, he has not, and if people like Gary Gillman may choose greed and break the law, I can choose otherwise. Because of this experience, I believe Gillman Apartments eventually rented a more legally habitable unit to the next renter.
"To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening."
How will the people of Gillman Apartments "improve" on their business practice so oversights like these from my experience do not happen again? If Gary Gillman were in my shoes, I wonder what he would do and why. I invite a reply.
Good luck to everybody.
For light reference: Breach of Warranty of Habitability-Contract, California Civil Code (section 1941), or California Health and Safety Code (section 17920.3)
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