Would it be worth it to sue my apartment complex for maintenance neglect and unlawful entry?

I’ve been having problems with my apartment complex for months. The dryer leaks, 3 of 4 stove burners don’t work, there is dry rot, a black widow spider problem due to patio being disgusting (my multiple requests to have it cleaned were ignored), my 5lb. dog was bitten and I incurred a few hundred dollars in vet bills) and now an apartment-wide renovation plan is in place with repairs being made on weekends in addition to a normal work-week schedule (very noisy). A maintenance man also unlawfully entered my apartment when I was not dressed. What should I do?

Asked on September 21, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Definitely speak with an attorney--one who specializes in landlord-tenant law. You may have a cause of action against the landlord for  the habitability issues (dry rot, spider infestation, lack of a fully functional stove, etc.); all leases come with what's called an "implied warranty of habitabilty," which is that the premises must be fit to live in.

There would also be a violation for the mainatenance man's unlawful entry--though there's probably nothing you could effectively sue for with a one-time event and no actual harm done.

The dog bite is only an issue with the building or landlord if the landlord caused or contributed to it happening (e.g. it was the super's dog or a guard dog); if another tenant's dog bit yours, it's the other tenant you should probably look to for recovery.

Whether or not the renovation schedule is inappropriate is something the attorney can evaluate on the facts and advise you as to.


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