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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Socrateaser: Regarding the retaliatory landlord and not fixing

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Socrateaser: Regarding the retaliatory landlord and not fixing problems around the property.

Landlord is playing games and wont fix a TV cable problem, and now the Jacuzzi heater went out. Actually he had the pool guy disconnect the heater. (is this even legal???)

- Is there a legal requirement to fix these type of things within x days/hours?
Landlord is ignoring emails, voice mails and text messages requesting fixes.
What's statute?

Thanks,
Landlord is playing games and wont fix a TV cable problem, and now the Jacuzzi heater went out. Actually he had the pool guy disconnect the heater. (is this even legal???)

A: Civil Code 1942.5 provides several potential penalties for a landlord retaliatory conduct. If you provide notice of a condition which renders the property untenantable, and the landlord fails to repair in a reasonable time period, then you are entitled to exercise your rights, which includes the right to sue the landlord for up to $2,000 in civil damages, even without actual damages, repair and deduct from the next month's rent, and prevent the landlord from suing for unlawful detainer for 180 days.

The problem here is that a cable TV problem and a spa heater issue are not exactly health and safety issues that would make the property "untenantable." The spa issue, maybe, since it's probably gas powered and that suggests the possibility of a leak and/or explosion, etc. That's how I would probably argue the issue.

So, you probably have a claim, but you need to carefully document it, so that if you end up in court, you will be able to prove your case (e.g., notice of the defective conditions and request for repairs, etc., via certified mail, return receipt requested -- or personal delivery by a third party adult who can testify to having provided notice to the landlord).

Is there a legal requirement to fix these type of things within x days/hours?

A: Reasonable notice is 30 days. Conditions which create a danger to health and safety change the calculus, but not based upon any statute. Obviously, if you complain that your front door lock is broken, immediate action is necessary, or you can have a contractor come out and repair/replace the lock. And, if you smell gas, then that's an emergency affective the general public, which means a phone call to the landlord and to the gas company simultaneously is probably sufficient notice.

Landlord is ignoring emails, voice mails and text messages requesting fixes.
What's statute?

A: Answered above.

Best wishes.
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