Question: What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
Answer: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was announced on June 15, 2012. The program allows qualifying immigrants who first came to the United States as children to stay in the country for two years without the risk of being placed in removal proceedings regardless of their past or current immigration status.
The two-year “deferred action” period allows applicants to gain work authorization and live in the United States without fear of being deported. DACA does not, however, provide applicants with lawful status and is not a path to citizenship.
To qualify for consideration under the program, applicants mush show they:
1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran; and
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security of public safety.
Please contact an immigration attorney if you feel you may be eligible for this program. The application process can be complex, and you must provide adequate documentation. A licensed attorney can help you with this process and answer your legal questions.
Question: What is the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
Answer: The Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is an implied covenant (promise) that is adopted into every residential and commercial lease contract. The covenant was adopted in California to ensure that tenants are not deprived of the full use and enjoyment of their rental property.
In many ways, the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is similar to the Implied Warranty of Habitability found in residential leases. Both are implied into lease agreements (meaning they are contained in the lease even if they are not expressly stated) and both are designed to protect tenants from substantial interferences with their use of the leased premises. Moreover, both may apply to the same situation if the problem results from a physical defect in the property such as a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, or failed electricity.
In order for a tenant to be able to seek relief from his or her landlord under the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment, the interference must substantial affect a material part of the property. Mild annoyances are not sufficient. The interference must also be caused by the landlord or someone under the landlord’s control, including other tenants. Disturbances resulting from neighboring properties, such as a neighboring business not owned by the landlord, are not qualifying disturbances under the covenant.
Tenants suffering from disturbances may have a variety of options, including collecting damages, forcing the behavior to stop, or moving out if the interference is extreme and the landlord fails to take appropriate action.
If you are suffering from a disturbance, you should discuss the matter with your landlord to see if the problem can be remedied. Landlords are often not aware of problems and are generally willing to take corrective steps. If not, you may consider consulting an attorney or other legal services organization for help.
Question: When should I apply for a student visa?
Answer: The most common type of student visa is a nonimmigrant F visa. Students who plan on attending a college or university, high school, private elementary school or other academic institution will generally apply for this visa type. If you are looking for information regarding M- and J-type visas, please contact our immigration attorney.
Prospective students may apply for an F-type student visa at any time, but the visa may not be issued more than 120 days before the student will begin his or her studies. Further, prospective students cannot enter the United States more than 30 days before the academic program’s start date.
New students are encouraged to apply for their visa as soon as possible to avoid delays and to allow for scheduling of their Consular interview. Interview waiting periods vary in length depending on the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and may be checked at the following website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html.
Prospective students who wish to enter the United States more than 30 days prior to beginning their studies may apply for a B-type visitor visa. Students may hold an F visa and a B visa at the same time but will need to adjust their status before starting their studies if they initially arrived on a visitor visa. In some instances, an adjustment of status application may not be approved, and the student will need to leave the country and return using their student visa within 30 days of their academic program’s start date.
These rules only apply to new students. Continuing students may be issued a student visa at any time and may return to their academic institutions at any time.
Question: My rental unit is suffering from a serious defect. Can I move out or force my landlord to fix the problem?
Answer: Residential landlords are required to keep their rental units habitable, which means the housing must be fit for human occupation. The housing must also substantially comply with state and local housing codes. Some defects that may render housing uninhabitable include housing that is not weatherproofed, or housing that lacks functioning plumbing, electricity and heat. Landlords, however, are not responsible for repairs that were caused by the tenant and/or his or her guests.
If a problem arises that makes housing uninhabitable, the tenant should notify his or her landlord by phone and in writing. The landlord then has a reasonable period of time to complete the repairs. Repairs completed within 30 days of receiving notification are generally considered reasonable, but serious repairs may need to be completed much faster.
Tenants have several options if a landlord refuses to make repairs within a reasonable time. These remedies may include:
Tenants must comply with specific legal requirements when pursuing the above remedies and should fully understand all of the associated risks. Please be sure to consult with an attorney before taking action.
Emil Dixon is the founder of the Davis Legal Center, a private law office located in Davis, California.