Can an apartment manager change the amount of time a pool is closed without posting a sign?

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Can an apartment manager change the amount of time a pool is closed without posting a sign?

We have a new manager in our complex who has already twisted many of the rules to her will and disrupted tenant’s rights. She has been letting her personal friends in the pool with their dogs and lets people wear street close in the pool messing with the filter. She stated the pool would be open at 2:30 pm, now it is closed for the day and she has not posted any signs. Is this legal?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no general answer to your question, since it depends on:

1) What does  the lease say? If the lease has any terms relating to these issues, they will control.

2) In the absence of a lease, are there house or complex rules and, if so, does the lease state they are binding and enforceable (e.g. incorporated into the lease)? If so, what the provisions if any for modifying them? For example, many leases incorporate house rules which govern the use of recreational facilities, but also say that the rules may be changed at will or from time to time.

If there is nothing in either lease or enforceable house rules about these issues, then the situation is less clear cut. If the pool's use is overly restricted or restricted for  too long, you could argue it's an implicit violation of the lease, since you are not getting one of the facilities you are paying for. But occasional or minor disruptions would not be a material (or important) enough breach to take action on.

Similarly, if the issue with the dogs or street clothes poses a health issue, then this may be a violation of the implied warranty of habitability, which would give tenants the right to seek a court order directing the manager to cease doing this and/or seeking monetary compensation--but only if health or safety are impacted.

In short, the answer to your question depends first on the lease, second on any house rules or other documents which govern use of the pool, and third on the exact factual situation. To answer your question, you need to consult with an attorney who can review the documents and facts. You and several neighbors could jointly retain the attorney to reduce costs.


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