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California/Ventura County Landlord tenant law: Property is

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12k sf (home is 2k)...
California/Ventura County Landlord tenant law: Property is 12k sf (home is 2k) and lease states landlord takes care of gardener/maintenance. What exactly is covered within that? When we signed the lease, the yards were lush and green (we signed lease in summertime). The grounds are a wreck now. Completely overgrown. There are vines completely bordering the yard on all 3 sides - they've grown out 4-6ft from the walls. The vines have grown through the overgrown cypress. 6-8 ft branches from the liquid amber trees are strewn through the yard. The grass has been completely overtaken and replaced by briar patches full of burrs. There is ZERO yard area we can walk on. We had a huge pool (25k gal), which the landlord demo'd in March (didn't want to spend he money to fix leaks) - it was filled with dirt... which is now cement hard, covered in huge rock size chunks of sharp earth. It hasn't been landscaped, or flattened. It's not even walk-uponable.
Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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7/24/2017
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago
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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Good morning. I am sorry to hear about this. If the lease is clear on this, the landlord would need to trim and cut the grass, keep the landscaping in good condition, keep the grass green, clean out weeds and maintain the entire property, so that it can be used and enjoyed by you, as the tenant. Moreover, if the lease and rental agreement included the pool and the landlord refused to make the repairs, there would be another issue. The failure of the landlord to maintain the property and garden and maintain it, along with the pool, could rise to the level of a breach of the lease agreement. If you do not have the use and enjoyment of the rental property and it is a direct result of the landlord and he fails to cure it, upon being given written notice and a reasonable time to do so, you could have a basis to vacate and break the lease and sue for damages.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
This is the landlords 1st experience in leasing, and they live out of state. It seems they're unclear as the the scope of their duty, and feel no sense of urgency or pressure to comply. I don't rely on subjective explanations, and just desire quick remedy. What laws/tenets of laws can I use to justify our requests?
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Of course. First and foremost, it is the lease, which clearly obligates them to perform and do these things, as you shared above. The fact that they are first time landlords and live out of state, is no a defense for their failure to act. In addition, California Civil Code section 1941 states that when a landlord rents property to a tenant as a place to live, the property must be in a "habitable" condition. ("Habitable" means fit to live in; "uninhabitable" means not fit to live in.) Section 1941 also states that the landlord must repair problems that make the property uninhabitable – except for problems caused by the tenant or the tenant's guests, children or pets. In order for the property to be habitable, it must have all of the following:

  1. a) Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
  2. b) Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
  3. c) Gas facilities in good working order.
  4. d) Heating facilities in good working order.
  5. e) An electrical system, including lighting, wiring and equipment, in good working order.
  6. f) Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage) which are free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin.
  7. g) Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
  8. h) Floors, stairways and railings in good repair.
  9. In addition, the rented property must have all of the following:
  10. i) A working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower. The toilet and bathtub/shower must be in a room that is ventilated, and that allows for privacy.
  11. j) A kitchen with a sink, which cannot be made of an absorbent material (for example, wood).
  12. k) Natural lighting in every room through windows or skylights. Unless there is a ventilation fan, the windows must be able to open at least halfway.
  13. l) Safe fire or emergency exits leading to a street or hallway. Stairs, hallways and exits must be kept litter free. Storage areas, garages, and basements must be kept free of combustible materials.
  14. m) Operable deadbolt locks on the main entry doors of rental units, and operable locking or security devices on windows.
  15. n) Working smoke detectors in all units of multi-unit buildings, such as duplexes and apartment complexes. Apartment complexes also must have smoke detectors in common stairwells.

These are minimum requirements. Other conditions may make the rented property not habitable. For example, the rented property may not be habitable if it does not substantially comply with building and housing code standards that materially affect tenants' health and safety.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Add'ly re: the pool - from move in to demo date, this was a 20 month nightmare. We picked the house 70% bc of the pool - my daughter has a neurological condition and we needed a pool for physical therapy & the landlord knew that. 25k gal pool, with major leaks, evident from first week of move in (water dropped 6" within the first 4 days of our lease). Landlord made 4, small-scale attempts to fix, but never authorized the full battery of work multiple professionals estimated were necessary. We had months of a 1/4 full, black pool, months of a 10ft high chain link fence, mosquito outbreaks... we spent thousands of dollars keep the pool "full" by landlord request (water was draining at a high rate), and we only ever got to swim a handful of times (the ph levels were chronically impacted by the new, untreated water filtering in, so pool was overtaken by green and black algae, weekly). Finally the landlord said they weren't comfortable with the prospects set out by the engineer, and that it was too great a risk of Lois for them, so they filled it up. Like I said, the huge piece of land is now unusable.What are my rights with respect to the quality of that land now? It used to be occupied by a pool - now its unoccupied, can't even be walked upon, and is an eye sore. It's a sharp, jagged rock-hard lake of unirrigated dirt.Can we demand another pool? Can we expect landscaping?I'm just very tired of wrangling, and asking. I need to know what is within our rights to request.We have two more years of the lease. Moving isn't really an option. My daughter is a wheelchair user, we live in a beautiful area with a very small school district, and there is really nowhere else for us to move. We've been looking for the last year.
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago

If the use and enjoyment of the land is now diminished, the rent should reflect the current condition and use of it or you could have a basis to break the lease and vacate and sue for damages, since what you leased.rented is not being provided. Since moving is not an option, it may be a situation whereby you stay and ask fora reduction in rent and to hire a lawn service on your own and deduct it from the rent.

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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago

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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 3 months ago

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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