What are my rights if my landlord is extremely slow with maintenance requests and my unit is uninhabitable?

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights if my landlord is extremely slow with maintenance requests and my unit is uninhabitable?

I have had an endless amount of problems in the 3 months that I’ve lived here. Our entire building went without hot water for 8 whole days last month. By state law, this qualifies as inhabitable. Can I go after them in small claims court or seek some form of compensation? More importantly, if I do take them to court, will I stand a chance?

Asked on September 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As you seem to know, only conditions that affect habitabilty provide grounds for a legal action. If habitability is impaired, tenants can theoretically seek compensation for the time the unit was uninhabitable. The question is, whether it is worthwhile doing so.

For example: you say you had no hot water for 8 days. A court would be unlikely to totally abate or rebate your rent for that time, since people can (and do) live without hot water. Say the court concludes that without hot water, then, you should receive 1/2 your rent back for that time period. Say your rent is $900 per month, or approximately $30 per day. 1/2 that is $15 per day. $15/day for 8 days is $120...you would need to decide if the cost, time, effort and worsened landlord relations that would result from bringing a lawsuit would be worth it to potentially recover that amount.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption