can i sue my landlord?

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can i sue my landlord?

We had so many problem in the past few month. First of all, we had a leak from the roof which flooded our store. We notified management right away and a large trash can was brought in to hold the water, but due to the heaviness of the rains we experienced flooding throughout the salon, and we had to close the shop for couple days. Nothing was done to fix the leak. Electrical was shorted out, water damage to walls and flooring. Also, our business next to 24 hours security but we got broken 3 times within 6 months. That were really effected to our business and most of my employees left because they felt not safety to work here.

Asked on June 5, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You most likely cannot sue about the break-ins if we are reading the question correctly, since it appears to be that you have 24 hour security (we are assuming that is what "next to 24 hours security" was supposed to mean); in that case, security is provided and the landlord is not responsible if criminals get around it.
However, a landlord does have an obligation to provide space that is "habitable" or usable for its intended purpose. A major roof leak which the landlord delayed fixing, damage to your interior walls and flooring and electrical, etc. violates that obligation. It would be one thing if the landlord had been providing proper maintenance all along and had acted promptly when the leak occured--the landlord is not expected to be perfect, but only to take reasonable steps to deal with mainteanance, etc. problems. But a failure to address or fix the leak will make them responsible for the losses you suffer due to their failure to take action.
You have several options: 
1) Terminate the lease early and move elsewhere, based on "constructive eviction" (being forced out by unusable space).
2) Withhold rent until the repairs are made.
3) Sue the landord for your lost business and costs incurred.
Each option has pros and cons. You are advised to consult with an attorney to see what is the best option for you.


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