I, Steve [last name deleted according to filing instructions], swear under penalty of perjury that the following statements are truthful.
The Plaintiff, ARCHSTONE COMMUNITIES, identified in the summons served to me, is not known to me. My lease agreement and my expectations regarding legal and ethical actions related to the lease agreement are with Archstone Walnut Creek Station, LLC. I hereby request that this discrepancy be investigated and resolved. Please consider this to be a matter for demur.
Summary: It is my assertion in this response that the Walnut Creek Station, LLC has violated its agreements with me in numerous ways and that these ways include violations of contractual terms and verbal representations, and non-responsiveness to demands that are reasonable, proper and in compliance with the terms of the lease, representations of the management, and the advertising of the corporation. These include:
1. Perpetual failure to provide requested written documentation of the "guarantee" of "great apartments" and "excellent service" made by the apartment complex and management in their signage. This request has been made at least six times. The first time was during the signing of the original lease. On of the other times was during the renewal of the lease. During the renewal discussions, I mentioned this failure and was emphatically assured that the documentation would be provided to me.
2. At that same time, I was assured that we would be able to relocate without penalty to any other apartment unit within the Archstone universe, and specifically to any other apartment in the Walnut Creek Station complex. This assurance was made because of repeated failure of management to prune the tree which was blocking sunlight and my compensatory interest in moving to Eastern sun exposure. And the assurance was made due to the then-current unavailability of a 777 sq ft unit with a left-handed floorplan.
3. At the time of the original lease signing, I was assured that the dead tree branch with its dead leaves in conspicuous view view from the balcony on unit #206 (ten feet away, zero-degree viewing angle) would be pruned/removed by the staff. This was not accomplished, despite my repeating the request during the sewage problen (detailed below) and during the renewal-of-the-lease discussions. I elected to remove the branch myself, at my expense, and with witnesses, in the summer of 2009, approximately 18 months after the initial promise and representation by the Archstone representative was made.
4. Under the terms of the lease, I was given 72 hours to notify the Archstone organization about the unsatisfactory condition of the premises upon the original lease signing (and subsequent lease renewal). This was inadequate time to identify the sewage problem in the apartment, due to the particular nature of the problem, and due to the variabilities of tenant use of apartment #306 upstairs. (Apartments #106, #206 and #306 are vertically stacked, with identical floorplans.) In march of 2008, sewage started backing up into our shower/tub. Despite at least a half-dozen complaints, and probably more like a dozen complaints, this matter was not resolved until July (as near as I can remeber). I request that the Court direct the ARCHSTONE COMMUNITIES and the Archstone Walnut Creek Station to submit their records of my complaints on this matter, their internal notes and responses to the matter, all maintenance records, and personnel records of the employees who were involved in receiving and addressing those complaints during that time (whether currently employed by Archstone, or not). These records will verify the precise timeline described loosely here and facilitate corroborating testimony about the facts of the situation.
5. I would like to state for the record that during that time, no follow-up inquiries were made to me when these sewage leakage events were supposedly fixed to verify that they were actually fixed. In fact, after I asked for follow-up communications without getting such, I had to demand to receive follow-up communications in May and June to actually get the problem addressed. The maintenance people assumed that their efforts to snake the drains through the tub and from the waste cleanout in the basement were effective, and the management assumed the same. Nobody checked. The management did not check with maintenance, and maintenance did not check with management. This deficiency in management was eventually corrected. In the Fall of 2009, I received an unprompted follow-up communication about repair of the tub faucet mechanism which had worn out and needed replacing.
6. After months of management claiming that the sewage problem was fixed, when it wasn't, and claiming that the sewage backup "was not sewage," I had to resort to denial of management permission to access the bathtub in unit #206 to snake it for the third or fourth time. When management tried to repeat the basement-access snaking for the second or third time, I took the initiative to intervene with the maintenance staff personally, described the problem in detail, found that the management had creatively edited the complaint, demonstrated where the problem had to be, and was gratified to find that my expertise and advice were readily accepted. Immediately after my conversation with the maintenance staff, the plumbing systems embedded withing the walls of apartment #106 werre snaked, and a piece of 2"x4" lumber (badly decayed and decomposing) was found, broken up by force, and removed in pieces. As best an I and the maintenance staff could determine, the 2x4 had been dropped into the sewage line (not the wastewater line!) by a discruntled construction worker when the apartments were originally constructed and pre-existed the purchase of the partment complex by Archstone. nevertheless, it is my assertion that the sewage in the bathtub was sewage, that the apartment was neither "excellent" nor satisfactory during this five-month period. I allege that this is a violation of contract, both written and implied, and that Archstone "guarantees" both "excellent apartments" and "excellent service."
7. I also allege that this was probably a clear violation of county health ordinances.
8. When I requested mediation and was granted an audience with the complex manager, she repeated the claim that "it wasn't sewage" at least a half dozen times. This unreasonableness and intransigence was not based on any expertise on her part (I asked), and was maintained despite my expressed claim to be an expert (with personal experience with both plumbing and construction, and biological and biochemical expertise). This is clear evidence of lack of good faith on the part of the management. I was denied any further avenues for redress of grievance.
9. At the time of the latest notification of payment obligation, I communicated our intent to surrender the apratment and relocate. Therefore, I do not see any need to pursue eviction when the apartment is being surrendered voluntarily. I do not know enough law to know if there is a procedureal matter here. But I do know that the Archstone management did not identify any responsibilities to me about this matter. Presumably, my assigned legal representative can advise me on this matter.
10. No attempt was made to address the verbal lease condition (reiterated at the time) that we be allowed to relocate into another apartment in the complex with East exposure, or with less square footage to accommodate our financial difficulties. I believe that this is not excellent service. In essence, the Archstone management is unilaterally forcing us to relocate outside of the Archstone Walnut Creek Station to accomodate our economic circumstance. This is a violation of representations made during the lease-renewal negotiation. If those terms had been disclosed at the time of the renewal, our lease agreement would have been for 6 months, not 12 months. This was explicitly stated by me, and the unilaterally revoked representation was made to convince me to agree to a 12-month lease. Therefore, in accordance with the interests of justice and the expectation of a minimum good-faith effort on Archstone's part, the monies owed and the penalties demanded should be adjusted for this misrepsentation on their part.
11. The discretionary decision to seek penalties could be construed to be retaliation for seeking remediation of deficiencies covered by explicit and implicit contract terms. This most recent change of policy immediately followed an extended effort on my part to challenge the sudden resuming of the use of internal-combustion-engine leaf blowers in side the concrete and stucco hallways within the building. The resulting noise was subjectively louder than any amplified music concert that I have ever experienced, may have been louder than a jack hammer on concrete (it was impossible to tell due to the constancy iof the sound), and was loud enough to make a telephone conversation impossible within the adjacent apartments, even when the leaf blowers were not directly in front of the apartment doors but anywhere within the hall due to the echo-chamber effect of stucco and concrete surfaces. I witnessed another tenant approaching her apartment without being noticed by the leaf-blower operator. (This was brought to the attention of the management.) The Archstone complex claims to be child friendly and pet friendly. Yet in my considered opinion, this sound was sufficient to cause permanent ear damage in adults, children and pets.
12. Due to the above-disclosed history of bad faith and the prospect of additional retaliations in the face of corporate lack of monitoring of management conduct, I ask for a restraining order that the plaintiff not encumber our departure in any way.
13. Due to this history of bad faith, I ask for judicial decision regarding the value of damages for breach of contract for the above matters, thus offsetting our residual financial obligations under the lease agreement. If this is not the proper jurisdiction, I request advice and instruction about the proper Court for remedy.
14. Due to the history of bad faith, I ask the Court to direct that the details of this matter be communicated to all Archstone corporate parties so that the travesties described above are not disclaimable and that more effective management oversight can be implemented for future residents regarding guarantees made explicitly and implicitly on behalf of the corporation.
15. Due to the pre-existing nature of the sewage problem and Archstone's egregious record of conduct in this instance, I also ask the Court to direct Archstone to provide records of every previous tenant to apartment #206 to investigate whether this complaint was made prior to our tenancy and not addressed by Archstone. This is necessary to discover whether the apartment "deficiency" was known to Archstone before the date of our initial lease. It is also an interest of justice that victimization of prior tenants by Archstone be corrected by compensatory payments for their damages. I suggest that if any deficiencies in Archstone's record-keeping policies and practices are discovered regarding tenant complaints, that each of these former tenants be located, informed of this matter, and allowed to testify in the first person about their experiences of sewage backups.
I thank the Court for its time in addressing these issues and look forward to our day in Court. Sincerely, Steve