What to do ifmy landlord is not maintaining the rental property ina timely manner?

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What to do ifmy landlord is not maintaining the rental property ina timely manner?

When we moved in 2 months ago, we were of the understanding that there were repairs needed on the house, and that they would be done as we moved in. Yet the smashed window is yet to be fixed, the bath-tub is still out of use, the lighting has not been fixed so there is no lights in the main bedroom (it was agreed to be fixed). I now suspect a huge termite infestation in the house. This is among many others things that are falling apart in the house which was not apparent before we moved in. How do I make them do their job, or terminate the lease? We are 2 months into a 12 month lease.

Asked on July 25, 2011 California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that every lease contains something called the "implied warranty of habitability". Basically, this is a guarantee that the tenant will have a clean and safe premises in which to live. This in turn means that if a rental is not clean and safe (i.e. habitable), a tenant has certain rights. It can:

  •  Repair and deduct (fix the problem and have the landlord reimburse);
  • Withhold rent (don't pay rent until the repairs are made); or
  • Terminate the lease (and hold the landlord liable for reimbursement of any expenses incurred as a result of any move). 

However before attempting any of these self-help measures, you need to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases, or you can contact a tenants rights organization for help. If you fail to follow the proper procedures for implementing any of the above remedies, you could find yourself in legal trouble as well.


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