Failure to Repair
If your landlord or property manager is not taking care of your home, it can be a very frustrating and upsetting time. California state law requires that a landlord keep your rental unit safe, habitable, and livable.
The law lists issues that are considered “untenantable,” which means unlivable:
- Waterproofing and weather protection, including unbroken windows and doors
- Plumbing, gas, electricity, hot water, and sewage in good working order
- A clean and sanitary building and area around it. Free from the accumulation of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, bedbugs, pests, and vermin
- Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair
- Mold, mildew, and water intrusion.
- Lead paint
- General unsafe conditions
What can you do?
First, you always want to request repairs in writing. Even if you speak to your landlord in person or on the phone, make sure to send an email or a text to confirm what you spoke about. If they refuse to accept emails or texts, send one to yourself with what you talked about, so you have a dated record of your conversations. Documentation is important because if you have a dispute later, you want to show you gave the landlord notice and an opportunity to fix the issue.
Second, you want to document the conditions with photos or videos. Send these to the landlord if they cannot visit the property right away. You also want to keep them if there is a dispute later so that we can see what everything looked like at the time of the issue. You can also show them to the contractors that come out to inspect and repair.
Third, if the landlord or property manager refuses to fix the issues, does not properly perform repairs, or is stalling, you should consult an attorney who knows the state and local laws protecting tenants.
Claims that you can bring against your landlord include breach of the implied warranty of habitability, breach of the statutory warranty of habitability, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, negligence, nuisance, and constructive eviction.