Half Moon Bay landlord caught entering tenant's apartment, drinking alcohol

- A Half Moon Bay couple caught a man on camera entering their apartment when they weren't home, drinking their alcohol, and allowing his dog to urinate on the carpet. And even worse, that man was their own landlord.

Paul Arihara and Leina Sarafina thought they found their dream home – a one-bedroom ground floor unit in a house that they thought was a steal. But not long after they moved in August of last year, they started detecting problems.

The couple says they could smell urine and blamed Sarafina’s two small dogs, despite her insistence it wasn't their fault. 

“We lost a lot of sleep. There was a lot of anxiety and stress and it affected both of us in our relationship, at work, everything. It really did,” said Arihara. He said he thought that Serafina was the one secretly drinking the alcohol and it put a strain on their relationship.

“When you're seeing bottles go down this low, when someone's saying, ‘oh it's not our dogs doing it.’ Well, I’m not the one doing it.”

Frustrated, they set up security cameras around their home and captured something shocking: their landlord, Abel Cabral and his dog “Bourbon,” entering their unit, drinking their alcohol, and rifling through their belongings.

Cameras even captured Cabral entering the couple’s bedroom, but it’s unknown what he was doing in there.

“Frankly I think it's kind of a perversion on the part of the landlord,” said Joe Tobener, the couple’s attorney. “Coming in and drinking the alcohol with his bare mouth isn't necessarily about alcoholism it's more about a perversion. Going into their bedroom, reading their things, entering their cabinets. There's something more here than just alcoholism.”

The couple said they contacted the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, but the authorities declined to take any action. A department official told KTVU that they never saw the surveillance video, and that the landlord had permission to enter a “common area.” But the tenants say that’s not true.

KTVU spoke to Cabral, who admitted to entering the apartment and drinking the alcohol. He said he has since entered a substance detox program and described the incident as “a bad time in my life.”

Tobener said the couple plans to sue Cabral in civil court. 

“Civilly the landlord's liable for wrongful eviction, trespass, constructive eviction and breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment,” he said.
 

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