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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33766
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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We are living in a house with a lease option to buy, we have

Customer Question

we are living in a house with a lease option to buy, we have until the end of year. our air conditioner broke,it is 115 degrees outside we cant afford to fix it .we have an autistic son who needs to be kept cooler. is it our respondsabilty to fix the air conditioner? Im not to sure what the laws are in the state of california. Thank you. Angela Jandera
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 6 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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If this is a lease with option to buy, the key term here is that it is primarily a lease.. You have the option at the end to either exercise the option to buy or not. But the landlord still has the legal duty to maintain the property just like any landlord would during the lease portion of the contract.

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CA considers AC to be an amenity rather than a necessity, so if it breaks, it wouldn't be considered to make the property uninhabitable.

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So if the house had AC when you moved in and agreed to lease it, then the landlord has a legal duty to maintain the property unless you exercise the purchase option and then the house is yours. So if they refuse to repair it, you can sue them in small claims court under a breach of contract claim to either have the landlord make repairs as he is obligated to do under the lease, or for a reduction in rent to compensate you for the difference in value of the house without AC.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister