Am I entitled to my rent back if I have proof of our rental being uninhabitable ?

We have a leaky roof, no window locks, have been without a heater for 11 months, cracks in windows since we moved in.Our lease is up at the end of next month, so taking legal action for only one months rent seems futile. However, the property manager also has harrassed us, threatened us, served defective notice on many occasions. Ive had to call the police 3 times (they are very familiar with her, apparently this has been happening for years!) and though I want to leave at this point. I wonder if we are entitled to moving expenses or back rent for having to deal with this?

Asked on July 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may be entitled to retroactive rent abatement, or a reduction in how much rent you paid, for the time your apartment has been uninhabitable or had reduced habitability (due to leaks, lack of heat, etc.), because of a violation of the implied warranty of habitability. You would have had to provide the landlord with notice, preferrably written notice, of these conditions and a chance to correct them; if after notice, the landlord failed or refused to correct them, that could provide grounds for compensation. Also, if the landlord has unlawfully interferred with your "quiet enjoyment" of the premises, such as by threats and harassment, that, too, could provide grounds to seek compensation. From what you write, it would be worthwhile for you to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to explore your possible recourse.

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