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socallegalwork, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 144
Experience:  Attorney and licensed real estate broker with over twelve years of experience, specializing in landlord/tenant matters.
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Burst Kitchen Return Pipe - Garbage Lagoon - Lining my ducks

Customer Question

Burst Kitchen Return Pipe - Garbage Lagoon - Lining my ducks in case this goes South
What are our options if things get worse or this drags out? We have a burst pipe that has created a garbage lagoon of rotting food under the kitchen and dining area in the house. The landlord sent away emergency services and licensed plumbers yesterday without doing any work. He was going to have his unlicensed handyman out today to work on the problem, but sent a text message this morning saying that he wanted to wait an extra day for the water to "dry." His suggestion to us in the mean time is to minimize use of the kitchen sink and dishwasher until repairs have been made. The guest bath at this point is unusable with food waste backing up when we do dishes.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Every lease has an implied warranty of habitability. This means the landlord has a duty to maintain the property in a "habitable" or living condition. A landlord has a duty to make necessary repairs in a reasonable period of time. "Reasonable" obviously can vary depending on the circumstances. In this case, what you are describing sounds like an emergency situation. Delays caused by the landlord (an unwillingness to fix the problem, refusal to act in a timely fashion, etc.) are not acceptable. In your case, I am not so sure the emergency clean up services shouldn't have started immediately so as to reduce the risk of mold and other issues. I would consider talking directly to the emergency service company and find out what they recommended (was the delay their recommendation or your landlord's idea).

More importantly, you need to know your options as a tenant. Generally, when a landlord fails to make repairs or otherwise take the actions necessary to render property habitable within a "reasonable period of time" the tenant has a couple of options: 1. unilaterally terminate the lease, move out and declare your obligations to pay rent ended; 2. stay, stop paying rent until the issues are fixed (and prepare to defend yourself from an eviction action because your landlord may bring one).

Before you pursue either course, you should talk to a local attorney and provide that attorney with all of the relevant, up to date facts so they can guide you.

You should also get a better idea of how long all of the issues will take to fix as you consider your options.

Expert:  socallegalwork replied 1 year ago.

Good luck to you!

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