Can rent be with held due to a non-working heater, leaking refrigerator, and no blinds?

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Can rent be with held due to a non-working heater, leaking refrigerator, and no blinds?

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a tenant should give written notice to the landlord of the condition(s) and give them a reasonable time in which to make the repair. If the landlord then doesn't make the requested repairs, and doesn't have a good reason for not doing so, the tenant may have one of several remedies. It depends on the seriousness of the repairs.

  • Repair and deduct - this remedy allows a tenant to deduct money from the rent, up to the amount of one month's rent.
  • Abandonment - this remedy allows a tenant to move out of the rental if the defects would cost more than one month's rent to repair. 
  • Withhold rent (all or a portion) if the landlord does not fix serious defects. In order for the tenant to withhold rent, the defects or repairs that are needed must be more serious than would justify use of the repair and deduct and abandonment remedies. The defects must be substantial—they must be serious ones that threaten the tenant's health or safety.

There are serious risks associated with each 1 of these remedies, up to and including, eviction. Before you do anything , you need to refer to the link I'm providing and review all of the information.  If you still have questions you need to contact a local tenant's organization or an attorney on your area. 

Here is the link:  http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/repairs.shtml


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