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My mother is leasing a brand new rental unit from a large…

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My mother is leasing a...
My mother is leasing a brand new rental unit from a large corporate entity in California. She is participating in a modest income program sponsored by the local city. She signed a lease over one month ago but is unable to move in due to excessive condensation from the HVAC ducts and vents inside the unit. Every vent has some level of condensation. The management company refuses to address the problem -- they had the installer come out and restrict air flow which reduced the condensation but did not eliminate it. My mother requested to move but was offered a much smaller studio apartment on a lower floor where she does not feel safe. The management turned this issue over to an outside counsel. My mother has an attorney however, he does not seem very aggressive seeking a remedy. The management company is now attempting to bully my mother into signing an addendum that would transfer liability to her -- meaning, if they decided if she lowers the thermostat below 70 degrees she will be liable for any water damage to the unit. This of course is an arbitrary number because the vents in the unit still condensate at 70 - 72 degrees. My mother also had an independent HVAC expert assess the AC and issues. This individual stated this is a construction defect and caused by error.I feel as if my mother is being discriminated against for being on a modest income program and for being in her late 60s. Does she have any legal grounds to aggressively act on the management company? To simply break the lease and walk away seems to only benefit the management company.
Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 30 minutes by:
9/27/2017
Lawyer: Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney replied 10 months ago
Richard - Bizlaw
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10,841
Experience: Commercial and residential leases in NY & NJ & US
Verified

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will try to help you. Please remember I just report or interpret the law, so the outcome may not be what you hoped for.

She has the right to take the management company to the local landlord tenant court to have the court enforce the lease obligation to maintain the unit in good repair. The fact that she has an expert (assuming he would testify) that the problem is not normal and is caused by defect in the unit or its installation, she should have a very good chance of prevailing. She is not required to accept something that is not a real solution.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Can you provide the CA Civil Code that would apply? Also what damages can she seek beyond just remedy of the unit? This appears to be a complicated repair issue.
Lawyer: Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney replied 10 months ago

There is an implied warranty of habitability in every lease in CA. If the landlord fails to make a repair he is obligated to make, he is liable to the tenant. This covenant is referenced in the Dept. of Consumer Affairs website. Here is that reference. http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/repairs.shtml

Damage arise if the landlord fails to address the problem within a reasonable amount of time. Your damages could be for diminution in the value of the rental unit as a result of the defect or the cost of alternative accommodations for denial of access to the unit while repairs are being made to the extent they exceed the rent or the alternate accommodations are not comparable to what you had in the rental unit. You can also have additional costs of living costs such as having to buy your meals at a restaurant rather than preparing them yourself. These are some of the types of damages you may recover depending on the circumstances.

If I have answered all your questions, please highly rate my answer as that is how I receive credit. If you have more questions, please let me know. If the answer was especially helpful you can provide a bonus.

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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