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barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 35387
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I live in an older building as of late, various types of repairs

Customer Question

I live in an older building as of late, various types of repairs have been needed that I believe were the landlords responsibility. The repair time has been slow and on some issues it has been a nightmare. Starting with a month of no hot water, that has finally been fixed finally and a month later the hole they put in my wall to fix the plumbing was eventually fixed.
Now I have a sliding glass door in my kitchen that won't slide and won't fully close. I need this door to be open as it is the only ventilation in the kitchen and it is summer with no AC in the unit. I have been asking for 3 weeks for this to get fixed and at this point when ever I do try to close it, it appears like it may fall out of its' tracks onto me. I am seven months pregnant, so very scary. I finallt heard back that someone may come Monday afternoon to look at it, but they don't know when they will fix it.
My question is, what are my rights? Can I hire a repair person and deduct it from my rent? Or can I start withholding rent until repairs are completed? I have tried to complain about the lack or response to needed repairs in the unit but was told "If I don't like it, then I can move out". But I can't, cause I am pregnant and a full time student right now. Not only can I not physically move, but I just don't see anyone else renting to me without a job. HELP!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Can you tell me what state you are in?
Have you sent in a written request to the landlord for repairs?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am in California. I have sent text messages to the onsite manager. That is how the Landlord has us deal with issues in the building.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.
Ok, under CA law, a tenant may withhold rent or repair and deduct if they have notified the landlord about serious problems that affect the tenant's health and safety or the habitability of the dwelling.
If the door is so loose in its tracks as to potentially fall out on you, that is a serious health risk as well as a safety issue since someone could potentially enter through that door uninvited. It is also likely a code violation.
You have to send the landlord written notice about the problem and set a reasonable deadline for repairs and inform him of your intention to withhold rent unless repairs are made. California law gives landlords 30 days to fix habitability problems, less if the circumstances warrant prompter attention. A broken front door lock, for example, requires immediate attention, not 30 days. A dangerous sliding door...probably 48 hours to a week at most..
Then you would be entitled to withhold a reasonable amount of rent based on the severity of the problem, maybe half, since this is a safety and health issue.
You can also repair and deduct under CA law as long as the repairs aren't over one month's rent and you have similarly notified the landlord in writing and given them a reasonable time to repair ((CA Civil Code 1941.1-1942.5)
Make sure that you get bids on any repairs and keep receipts to submit to the landlord to prove what you spent on the repairs.

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