People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. Los Angeles-based lawyer, Eric Spiegelman tells Matthew Malady of TheAWL.com precisely what occurs when a Los Angeles Housing Authority inspector declares your private garage a bike-free zone.
The Situation – When a Housing Inspector Says It’s Unlawful to Keep a Bicycle in Your Garage
Matthew explained that a city housing inspector visited his building. He resides in a fourplex, which is really two duplexes on various streets.
He believes what took place is that one of the occupants in the lower duplex complained to the housing department because the property owner wasn’t making repairs. He feels this because he was cornered one day and informed him he could not turn off the faucet in his bathroom without a wrench.
When the housing inspector came, he was obligated to inspect the entire building. A couple of days later, Matthew got a letter from the proprietor that he had to clean up everything out of the garage, or he would throw it away for him. Something wasn’t right about this. Matthew asked his landlord if that included his bike. He said, “Exactly what part of ‘whatever’ don’t you understand?”
Matthew called the housing department.
The very first woman Matthew spoke to stated the guideline in Los Angeles is you cannot keep anything in your garage, but, a car.
“What about a bicycle?” Matthew asked. “Nope, you cannot have that.” “That’s crazy,” Matthew said.
She informed Matthew he needed to talk to the person who performed the inspection. So Matthew went down to the local housing department office to speak with him. He confirmed that, yes, that’s the guideline, and yes, it includes bicycles.
A friend of Matthew’s happened to be a bike advocate, and he informed her precisely what was going on, and she emailed another bike advocate, who emailed people in government, and word got back to Matthew that no law in California or Los Angeles bans keeping your bike in a garage.
The actual guideline is that there can’t be so much scrap in a garage that a car will not fit. Matthew likewise got a copy of the order the housing department provided to my property owner. The order stated nothing about my garage. It did mention my lower duplex neighbor’s bathroom sink, however, as well as other stuff in his house. Matthew emailed his landlord, and he stated he understood the order didn’t say anything about the garage, but that the inspector gave him “a warning” about it.
In essence, the situation is that my landlord thinks he’s been given the authority by the city to throw away things from the garage, based upon a warning from a housing inspector who misquoted the law.
Is There anyway you can fight this?
Well, first, the housing inspector clearly messed up. And the landlord well, he undoubtedly cannot just throw stuff away. However, Matthew has a little bit of compassion for him, given that someone in a position to fine him provided him extremely wrong details. Matthew plans to try and get another inspector over here to confirm that he doesn’t really need to move anything.
What Lesson was Learned? It’s petty abuse, nut it honestly bugs Matthew. He’s learned that his tolerance for unfairness ends at my garage door.