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LawyerDavid, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 376
Experience:  Highly experienced attorney in Real Estate law
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My landlord is threatening a lawsuit for unpaid rent. I

Customer Question

My landlord is threatening a lawsuit for unpaid rent. I haven't paid in four months because I had a new well pump installed after the one on the property went out. While I was at work he pulled it out and put one that sometimes works then he left to Oklahoma taking the one I paid for with him.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawyerDavid replied 12 months ago.

Cody: that does not sound like a very fair deal at all. On the lease agreement you have with the landlord, does it say you can do work on the property in return for a credit on rent. Alternatively, have you and the landlord agreed separately to that arrangement. If not, you will need to comply with your lease and pay the unpaid rent even if you installed a new well pump. The landlord, however, has leased you a property that must have a working well pump. In short, I would suggest speaking with the landlord and coming to an agreement on getting your well pump back and fixing the water on the property and then you catch up on rent less the amount you are out on the well pump. Short of that, you could deduct the amount for the well pump from the lease payments you owe. If the landlord accepts that payment and agrees you are caught up you will be fine to move forward. I hope this helps, David

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
It was a verbal agreement with the son that I would fix up the house while I lived there. After three months the father asked for rent instead and the son stopped taking my calls. We've been texting back and forth but he won't admit anything about the well and just asks for money then says to get out within a certain time
Expert:  LawyerDavid replied 12 months ago.

Okay, if the oral lease agreement is for more than a year it would be considered void in California. Based on your statement, however, it looks to me you simply agreed with the son to work on the house in return for a place to stay. I think you might consider calling the father and explaining the situation to him if you are able to reach him. If you have done work on the property that includes a well pump and likely other things I think you add up what you provided and call the father and tell him what you have in work on the property and state his son made a deal with you that you expect to be upheld. Since the son is not calling you back I think you need to go around him and take care of this as soon as you can. I would think the father would honor the agreement you entered with the son and let you off on the lease payments, but possibly make you move out. If they sue you for payments I think you have a very good argument you were complying with the lease by working on the property per your agreement and owe them nothing. Thanks, David