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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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My landlord is trying to raise my rent by 31% in 60 days.

Customer Question

My landlord is trying to raise my rent by 31% in 60 days. Landlord has made several legal mistakes in lease/relationship:
No pest control disclosure. Landlord contracts with pest company to spray, without disclosing. This violates Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.8, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 8538. Right outside my front door is sprayed once/month, I fear for my pet.
Asbestos present, never disclosed to me, I believe this affects “warranty of habitability,” which is basically an implied guarantee that the rental property is livable. No disclosure violates California’s Proposition 65. (H&S §§ 25249. Landlord maintenance guy has done plumbing work all around the asbestos heater pipe and has most likely disturbed asbestos. Sometimes I have cough fits in my house yet nowhere else.
All outlets are 3 prong outlets, but not grounded. This poses a very serious shock hazard, as well as personal property damage hazard, my laptop was ruined by faulty wiring. This is a violation of the National Electrical Code Article 406 - Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs (Caps) . I believe I have had destroyed computer and other electronics.
No carbon monoxide detector. Violates Cal. Health & Safety Code § 17926.1
No Proposition 65 Warning Notice. Landlord employees more than 10 people, but has not posted a sign. Violates Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 25249.5 et seq. See 22 Cal. Code Regs. § 12601 for the rules regarding the warning sign.
Failure of Water Heater Bracing Compliance. Water heated is not strapped. Violation of Cal. Health & Safety Code § 19211.
In my lease it states I agree to mediation before court action.
My plan is this: To send them a letter outlining those statutes they have broken, and request mediation. Or, is it legal to flat out basically say "if you try to raise my rent by that much, I will pursue legal action based on your violations?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

My plan is this: To send them a letter outlining those statutes they have broken, and request mediation.

Response 1: That is the prudent thing to do.

Or, is it legal to flat out basically say "if you try to raise my rent by that much, I will pursue legal action based on your violations?

Response 2: This is not legal and a form of blackmail. Your action would be determined to be retaliatory. You would also muddy up the valid issues you have regarding Landlord's violation of various Sections California Code.

Kindly give a positive rating to my response so that I can receive credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for doing this.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
in order to request mediation, do I have to first outline exactly what they have violated or can I just request mediation with wording something like "based on your legal violations, I request mediation"?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

You have to first outline exactly what they have violated.

Kindly give a positive rating to my response so that I can receive credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for doing this.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I'm confused on what steps I need to take, while ensuring I am not blackmailing nor breaking any law, but while still maintaining leverage.. End goal is a lower rent/lease than what they are trying to raise the rent to. So, I outline what they did wrong and which statutes, but I can't ask for lower rent then? Can I ask for any type of compensation then? Or do I need so solely list what they violated and leave them to respond? My concern is they will try to cover up their errors prior to any action/penalty. Thank you!
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

You need to list the violations and corresponding Statutes, and state what you want them to do: either compensate you and/or correct the violations.

Kindly give a positive rating to my response so that I can receive credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for doing this.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
how do I tie it all together? I want them to give me a lower lease rate
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

I am sorry, but I cannot give you legal advice. So, I will opt out and give another Attorney the opportunity to comment on your case.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

As your prior expert correctly stated, you can give your landlord notice of the various violations or breaches in your lease agreement and ask that they fix the issues, mediate the issues with you, or that you will be forced to take legal action (you can tell them you plan on filing a small claims case if you like, how you draft your letter is up to you).

There is not a way to force your landlord not to raise rent, the landlord has a right to do so. But if your goal is to get the landlord into mediation, you may be able to get them to agree to a reduced rental increase given the nature of the defects in the property. However, there is no guarantee that they will do so.

(Mediation allows the parties to discuss more than just the immediate legal issues and you can use issues or factors that may not be appropriate for court - or wouldn't be subject to a legal claim - to perhaps reach a "mutually agreeable resolution". A mediator simply acts as an impartial neutral to help facilitate this negotiation. But again, there is no guarantee that your landlord will agree to not raising your rent, and there isn't a way to force them not to do so).