What should I do if I’m paying rent to the landlord every month, but for almost a 1 in a half he doesn’t fix anything?

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What should I do if I’m paying rent to the landlord every month, but for almost a 1 in a half he doesn’t fix anything?

My closet in one of the bedrooms started leaking one winter and now every time it rains, it leaks the ceiling has cracked and now there’s black mold. We called him every month and all he ever did was come out for 5 minutes then leave. He sent someone out once and all they did was rip the carpet out but won’t put more in. Every month for over a year we call him and he never does anything about it. We even told him that was where our kids stayed and had to move them out cause of the mold.

Asked on August 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitablity which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  The water leak in the ceiling and the mold are health and safety issues which constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability.  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 within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs (call someone to 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 for the tenant to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You can also contact your local housing code inspector who can bring an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations.


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