Is water shut off considered to be a breach of lease?

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Is water shut off considered to be a breach of lease?

Water to our rental house was shut off this morning. Water provided by a well that landlord maintains. Landlord admitted that it was due to their not paying the electrical bill which runs the pump on the well. Not only was water to house cutoff but stock tanks for livestock also without water. I am required to give 30 day notice (m-to-m lease) but I am honestly sick of these people. They enter onto my property without proper notice, electrical lines pose dangers, and access to property has been blocked before without notice. All documented.

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  Not having water and the danger from the electrical lines constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability as these are health and safety issues..

When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When the landlord fails to respond in a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

The landlord's entry into your rental without proper notice is a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment.  The covenant of quiet enjoyment is in every lease and means the tenant cannot be disturbed in his/her use and enjoyment of the premises.  In CA, the landlord is required to give 24 hours written notice before entering tenant's rental and entry has to be during normal business hours.  If it is an emergency, no notice is required for the landlord to enter the tenant's rental.  If you decide to sue the landlord , breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and breach of the implied warranty of habitability would be separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.


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