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I live in a big apartment building and we are having some…

I live in a big...
I live in a big apartment building and we are having some issues with rodent infestation. We had some cases in multiple apartment on my floor but not mine personally. The management has been responsive and send exterminator and pest control when notified. I was wondering since we are having rodent infestations I could ask a discount on rent since it is not a safe environment. Suggestion?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/28/2018
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 103,504
Experience: Attorney
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation. (You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.)

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Please tell me what state this is in. Thanks.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
California - San Francisco

Thank you. Can you ask for a discount? Sure. Do they have to give it? No. However, you do have other ways at relief.

Under California's Cal. Civ. Code §§1941.1, 1941.3, 1941.4, 1174.2, the landlord is supposed to provide a LIVABLE space. If not, then you have certain rights. However, it depends on what you wish to do. You have several options.

WITHHOLDING
By law, a tenant is allowed to withhold (stop paying) some or all of the rent if the landlord does not fix serious defects that violate the implied warranty of habitability. In order for the tenant to withhold rent, the defects or repairs that are needed must be more serious than would justify use of the repair and deduct remedy. The defects must be substantial - they must be serious ones that threaten the tenant's health or safety. The defects that were serious enough to justify withholding rent in Green v. Superior Court, (1974) 10 Cal.3d 616 [111 Cal.Rptr. 704]. See Hyatt v. Tedesco (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th Supp. 62 [117 Cal.Rptr.2d 921 are listed below as examples:

Collapse and nonrepair of the bathroom ceiling.
Continued presence of rats, mice, and cockroaches.
Lack of any heat in four of the apartment's rooms.
Plumbing blockages.
Exposed and faulty wiring.
An illegally installed and dangerous stove.

So this may or may not fall into the matter depending if you can claim that the rodent infestation can be claimed ot be their fault, but you the idea, and this is pretty serious. To use this remedy, one has to send a letter TO THE LANDLORD or the management company that states that unless this is fixed in a reasonable amount of time, the withholding remedy will be executed. Let me know if you need a sample letter.

REPAIR AND DEDUCT
The "repair and deduct" remedy allows a tenant to deduct money from the rent, up to the amount of one month's rent, to pay for repair of defects in the rental unit.This remedy covers substandard conditions that affect the tenant's health and safety, and that substantially breach the implied warranty of habitability. Examples might include a leak in the roof during the rainy season, no hot running water, or a gas leak.

As a practical matter, the repair and deduct remedy allows a tenant to make needed repairs of serious conditions without filing a lawsuit against the landlord. Because this remedy involves legal technicalities, it's a good idea for the tenant to talk to a lawyer, legal aid organization, or tenants' association before proceeding.

The basic requirements and steps for using the repair and deduct remedy are as follows:

1. The defects must be serious and directly related to the tenant's health and safety.
2. The repairs cannot cost more than one month's rent.
3. The tenant cannot use the repair and deduct remedy more than twice in any 12-month period.
4. The tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets must not have caused the defects that require repair.
5. The tenant must inform the landlord, either orally or in writing, of the repairs that are needed.
6. The tenant must give the landlord a reasonable period of time to make the needed repairs - normally 7 to 10 days.

If this is not done, one can repair and deduct. Let me know if you need a sample letter.

ABANDONMENT
Instead of using the other remedies, a tenant can abandon (move out of) a defective rental unit. This remedy is called the" abandonment" remedy. A tenant might use the abandonment remedy where the defects would cost more than one month's rent to repair, but this is not a requirement of the remedy. The abandonment remedy has most of the same requirements and basic steps as the repair and deduct remedy.

In order to use the abandonment remedy, the rental unit must have substandard conditions that affect the tenant's health and safety, and that substantially breach the implied warranty of habitability (see above). If the tenant uses this remedy properly, the tenant is not responsible for paying further rent once he or she has abandoned the rental unit.

The basic requirements and steps for lawfully abandoning a rental unit are:

1. The defects must be serious and directly related to the tenant's health and safety.
2. The tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets must not have caused the defects that require repair.
3. The tenant must inform the landlord, either orally or in writing, of the repairs that are needed.
4. The tenant must give the landlord a reasonable period of time to make the needed repairs.

What is a reasonable period of time? This depends on the defects and the types of repairs that are needed. The law usually considers 30 days to be reasonable, but a shorter period may be considered reasonable, depending on the circumstances. For example, if tree roots block the main sewer drain and none of the toilets or drains work, a reasonable period might be as little as one or two days.

5. If the landlord doesn't make the repairs within a reasonable period of time, the tenant should notify the landlord in writing of the tenant's reasons for moving and then actually move out. The tenant should return all the rental unit's keys to the landlord. The notice should be mailed or delivered in hand. The tenant should keep a copy of the notice.

It's a good idea, but not a legal requirement, for the tenant to give the landlord written notice of the tenant's reasons for moving out. The tenant's letter may discourage the landlord from suing the tenant to collect additional rent or other damages. A written notice also documents the tenant's reasons for moving, which may be helpful in the event of a later lawsuit. If possible, the tenant should take photographs or a video of the defective conditions or have local health or building officials inspect the rental unit before moving. The tenant should keep a copy of the written notice and any inspection reports and photographs or videos. *

*CA Dept of Consumer Affairs.

SUMMARY
So you have these three remedies under CA law. If you want to know more about one of them, simply REPLY and we can go from there, and/or if you need a sample letter for any of the choices, likewise use REPLY.

"I STRIVE FOR FIVE!" My goal is to answer your question to your satisfaction. Please rate with five stars (★★★★★) and click SEND. It does not cost anything extra to rate. You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars. Rating my answer the bottom two stars or failing to submit the rating reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. If you are not satisfied for whatever reason, or, have follow up questions, please simply reply with SEND before or after rating and let's continue to chat until you are satisfied. This is what I am here for.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
I think I am for the WITHHOLDING method
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
But the problem is... they never found anything in my apartment but for sure in proximity apartments. The issue is still there even if they have exterminator and pest control on site. Last episode this Sunday. Never in my apartment. Can I still send the letter?

You'd have to get a private expert (exterminator) to come out to see where the infestation is coming from, and he'd have to conclude that the infestation is due to something having to do with them (such as a hole in the wall, etc).

Yes, you may still send the letter, but I'd be sure of the reason behind the infestation first.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
The problem is... we have had multiple visits from exterminator and pest control hired by the building but they have not figure out yet where is the cause or point of entry

I would hire the exterminator myself, not through the landlord/management company. And specifically instruct them to find the source. The exterminator hired by the landlord/management company may be biased in their result.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
Okay!

Good luck, and please don't forget to RATE my answer with five stars and then click SEND to submit that rating – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please use the SEND button to keep on chatting. "I strive for FIVE!"

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 103,504
Experience: Attorney
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