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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33374
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I entered into an agreement to live in a furnished studio apartment

Customer Question

I entered into an agreement to live in a furnished studio apartment in California for 6 months and 3 weeks. After 3 and a half months, I loosely negotiated living in the unit longer for an additional 6 months for an extra 100 a month , provided use of the garage. Unfortunately the Garage Door Broke. I never signed an agreement extending my occupancy. I angrily departed the premises after this incident a bit more than halfway thru the initialal agreement. The landlord persuaded my emergency contract to pay him 5100 dollars, with the stipulation that I also pay 10000 dollars for the additional six months. Or I don't get my security deposit of 1800 dollars returned. I told the landlord that I wish to stand by the California Law of Habitability, of which I contend there is a breach. I am barking up the wrong tree?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 11 months ago.
Hello,

Under California law, the implied warranty of habitability is, in effect, a corollary to a residential landlord's statutory obligation to put the premises “into a condition fit for such [residential] occupation, and repair all subsequent dilapidations thereof, which render it untenantable.” Civil Code § 1941.

A defective garage door does not render a rental unit untentable. It's a defect, for sure, and it would entitle a tenant to use the "repair and deduct" remedy of Civil Code 1942, after 30-day notice of the defective condition. But, the defective garage door will not operate as an affirmative defense to legal action for a breach of the lease -- nor, will it operate as grounds for constructive eviction.

Your recourse is to show that the landlord has made no good faith efforts to relet the property after you vacated the premises. A landlord cannot collect for unpaid rent, unless the landlord mitigates damages by making good faith efforts to find a new tenant.

I realize that this answer may not align with your needs, but if you want a positive legal outcome to this issue, you need to know exactly where you stand.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Thank you. I moved out on June 16th of this year. He somehow was able to get the rent for July ,August, and September. 5100 dollars Stipulating that I will not get the 1800 dollars put down in March of this year , unless I pay him 10 000 dollars for rents he feels is owed till April of Next year. I never signed an agreement till then. Only till September. How and when will I know if there is Good Faith on his part. Please understand, this place had no kitchen sink, he would not let me get a mailbox for residential purposes to insure my car etcetera. As well as no deadbolt locks on the entry. And a faulty security system and no window locks. This is why I contend there has been a breach. When and who do I look to for recourse. Small claims Jurisdiction is for claims under 10 000. The landlord seems to be painting outside those lines.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 11 months ago.
You are now alleging entirely different facts. If the property is substantially lacking in characteristics such as indoor plumbing, then that would violate Civil Code 1941.1, which would give you grounds to terminate the lease. This would also suggest that the unit may not have a certificate of occupancy from the city/county, in which case, it would be illegal to rent the unit to anyone.

These factors could be used as grounds to sue to recover any payments which did not cover the actual time in which you resided in the rental unit.

You can sue in small claims court, without a lawyer, for up to $10,000 in damages.

You can also complain to the local city/county code enforcement office. If the office cites the landlord, that would be proof of a violation of law, which would be all the evidence you would need to win in small claims.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Code Compliance Investigation was filed in the County. They say it will take 30 days. I also have an Email to my Emergency Contact who paid him for July August and September saying I also must pay 10 200 dollars to recover my initial security deposit. Is this an example of "Bad Faith?" If they find he was not supposed to rent for a year in the first place, would that constitute a Jurisdiction outside of small claims? Thank you for your responses..

Expert:  socrateaser replied 11 months ago.
I also have an Email to my Emergency Contact who paid him for July August and September saying I also must pay 10 200 dollars to recover my initial security deposit. Is this an example of "Bad Faith?"

A: Bad faith, under Civil Code 1950.5(l), means dishonesty related to the transaction between the parties. Demanding a fee to recover a tenant's deposit is certainly dishonest, because it's effectively theft of the deposit, since the payment is in exchange for nothing more than what you're already entitled.

If they find he was not supposed to rent for a year in the first place, would that constitute a Jurisdiction outside of small claims?

A: Subject matter jurisdiction in small claims is for the "recovery of money," not to exceed $10,000 where the plaintiff is a natural person ($5,000 for a corporate plaintiff). Code Civ. Proc. Sections 116.220;116.221.

If you are seeking exemplary/punitive damages (punishment, rather than recovery), then that is outside the subject matter jurisdiction of small claims. Also, claims which require injunctive relief (an order that a defendant act or forbear from action), or which ask the court to declare the rights and duties of parties, are beyond the subject matter jurisdiction of the small claims department.

Hope this helps.



socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33374
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 13 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


5th and final question sir..


Are Landlords who provide fire pits and outside grilles in California required by law to provide tenant with Fire extinguisher??

Expert:  socrateaser replied 11 months ago.
This question is entirely outside that of the landlord-tenant laws. It's an issue for the fire marshal, which probably is found in the Health and Safety Code. It would probably take me an hour or more to find the applicable law, assuming it exists.

If you really want me to research this, please open a new Q&A session, so that I can receive appropriate compensation for my additional efforts.

Thanks for your understanding.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Would that not be under Californias' Warranty of Habitability? Safety and Compliance if said landlord denied request for applicable Fire extinguishing? As excuse to render lease in Breach?

Expert:  socrateaser replied 11 months ago.
If there is a genuine fire hazard which is being permitted on the premises, then that could affect the warranty of habitability. Call the local fire station and ask for an inspection.

Hope this helps.

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