I think my landlord is trying to pull a fast one. If so, what should I do about it?
I've lived in my current apartment in San Francisco for six years now. About a year after I moved in, the building was sold to a property management/real estate company that is notorious throughout the City for trying to get existing tenants to move out so that they can turn over the units and raise the rents. In fact, they have been very aggressive in trying to persuade some of the tenants in my building who have been here longer than I have to leave.
So on Wednesday I received a "Notice of Delinquency", stating that "the following rental charges are currently delinquent." There are five line item charges as follows:
Nov 1, 2006 Base Apartment Rent 21.13
Nov 1, 2006 2006 Bond Pass Through 2.72
Sep 1, 2006 Base Apartment Rent 7.61
Oct 1, 2006 Base Apartment Rent 21.13
Oct 1, 2006 2006 Bond Pass Through 2.72
I take this to mean that my rent has been increased by a total of $23.85 (21.13 + 2.72) per month as of October 1 (not sure what's up with the different figure for September). Problem is, this is the first I've heard about it! (I have no problem with the increase itself. I assume it's within the legal limit.)
The "Notice" goes on to say:
"If you have any questions or wish to dispute this notice, please contact --- ---, at (415) 555-5555. Payment at our offices at ---- ------ Street can be made only Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, Please note we do not accept cash payments. If payment is not immediately received, legal proceedings may be instituted against you to recover possession of said premises; to declare forfeiture of the lease or rental agreement under which you occupy said premise; and to recover rents and damages together with attorney fees.
"Please be advised that habitual late payment of rent after the first day of the month is grounds for eviction under the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance. The acceptance of rent after the first day of the month does not constitute a waiver of the landlord's right to evict for habitual late payment of rent. You should not assume that the landlord's acceptance of rent after the first day of the month during the past or in the future means that the landlord will continue to do so. Landlord may seek to evict you for the late payment of rent regardless of its acceptance after the first day of the month on other occasions."
So I have until 5:00 PDT to figure out what to do and do it. Like I said, it's not the money. It's that if I just pay the $55.31 and the presumed new total of the rent and say nothing, it looks like I'm admitting that these are delinquent charges, when this is the first I've heard of them! Do I type up a letter stating this is the first I've heard of it, and take it with me when I pay the rent? Any better ideas? It sure feels like this is a set-up to try to evict me, and I want to proceed in the best way I can to prevent that from happening.
Thanks in advance.