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  1. #1
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    Right to rent abatement for no heat & dangerous conditions

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California


    After many letters and attempts to get my landlord to fix my furnace,
    I sent my landlord a certified letter requesting rent abetment for the last year and gave him 30 days to respond. From December of 07 to February 09 my furnace was leaking gas and red tagged by the gas co as dangerous possible loss of life. He was given 4 orders to repair by socal gas. We had no heat all winter and where sick from the gas leak..

    In June he (landlord) finally hired a company to install a new furnace ( he was trying to sell the building). He did not get a mechanical permit or inspection on the new furnace from building and safety as required by our city . From June 08 to November 08 the new furnace also leaked and was red tagged again by the gas company as dangerous possible loss of life if used. I wrote him in Jan of 09 requesting rent abatement and to ask that he get the proper permit and inspection from building and safety. He got the permit on February 2 , 2009 but has ignored my request for rent abatement.

    What are my rights as a tenant for rent retroactive abatement for no heat ,dangerous condition and exposing my family to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer & birth defects? How do I enforce rent abatement? Is there a request thru the courts? I have copies of all requests to him and the red tags from the gas company.


    Thanks
    Last edited by rareair03; 02-27-2009 at 01:18 AM.
  2. #2
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    when is your lease up ?
  3. #3
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    I am month to month.
  4. #4
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    I think most here would agree you have a good case. However I am at a loss as to why you would have remained in this house when you could obviously had moved at any time. To me, it seems the situation was not the doomsday scenario you painted since you seemed to be content to continue living there despite the fact that you had no heat. Will you get rent abatement? Depending on how much you pay, you just might get a rebate. How much? Thatís anyoneís guess. But, you elected to live there despite there being dangerous conditions. You really canít blame the landlord for exposing you to harsh chemicals when you could have vacated at any time. As for suffering? Again, your choice.
  5. #5
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    WOW the last time I checked my bank account I sure didn't have the $5000.00 it would cost to move. First, last, utility hook up , moving van, gas , team to move me. I was NOT content to live there , I did not violate the terms of my contract,I reported the conditions to the Slumlord/landlord . I am at 0% fault. The slumlord was paid on time every month , he choose to not only to break the law but to open himself to a possible lawsuit. Can't blame the landlord for exposing my family to harsh chemicals!!!!!!!???????? Spoken like a true SLUMLORD , Mr. Alaska Landlord!
  6. #6
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Let me reduce your costs.

    Transfer utilities and pay on easy payment plan.
    Moving van? Pickup truck and around 10 trips
    Gas? Free or promise to pay when you can.
    Team? Two or three guys
    Total cost of moving? 2 cases of beer.

    But, all kidding aside:
    There is no need to get all contorted on me. As a month to month tenant with little in the way of cash and no savings to lean on, your options are quite limited. Yes you have been cheated, but your landlord is either a slumlord as you so endearingly referred to both of us, or he is one step away from moving in with you.

    Suppose you take him to court and win as you should, what do you expect? Do you really think he will pay up? No, the only thing that can happen is that the judge may reduce your rent. That might be a good thing in the short run, but you better start saving because at the first opportunity for him to serve you a 30 day notice without it appearing to be a retaliatory action he will do so.
    Last edited by Alaska landlord; 02-27-2009 at 04:09 AM.
  7. #7
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    Nice to see you have a funny bone

    My landlord is a corporation, neither lacking in funds or the ability to provide what is required under California housing law.
    There are over 40 units in my complex, with 60% of those units lacking the minimum requirements. Unfortunately, most tenants here are undocumented aliens and afraid to speak out.

    What do I expect? Well, given this IS America and housing standards have been set (this also keeps us out of the "Third World" category), I expect a judge to uphold the law. If a landlord can not keep his/her property up to code, he/she has NO business being a landlord.

    Your statement; "You really canít blame the landlord for exposing you to harsh chemicals' is equivalent to saying. You can't blame him for beating her to death, after all she chose to stay. My apologies for getting all contorted on you.

    Now , just need to make a beer run, get the pick-up fixed, run down the street for a few day laborers and I am all set. Oh, id better get some candles and flash lights as well, credit card interest rate are killer these days.


    Still looking for the answers:

    What are my rights as a tenant for rent retroactive abatement for no heat ,dangerous condition and exposing my family to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer & birth defects? How do I enforce rent abatement? Is there a request thru the courts?


    Blessed and proud to be an American!
  8. #8
    Searchertwin is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rareair03 View Post
    Nice to see you have a funny bone

    My landlord is a corporation, neither lacking in funds or the ability to provide what is required under California housing law.
    There are over 40 units in my complex, with 60% of those units lacking the minimum requirements. Unfortunately, most tenants here are undocumented aliens and afraid to speak out.

    What do I expect? Well, given this IS America and housing standards have been set (this also keeps us out of the "Third World" category), I expect a judge to uphold the law. If a landlord can not keep his/her property up to code, he/she has NO business being a landlord.

    Your statement; "You really canít blame the landlord for exposing you to harsh chemicals' is equivalent to saying. You can't blame him for beating her to death, after all she chose to stay. My apologies for getting all contorted on you.

    Now , just need to make a beer run, get the pick-up fixed, run down the street for a few day laborers and I am all set. Oh, id better get some candles and flash lights as well, credit card interest rate are killer these days.


    Still looking for the answers:

    What are my rights as a tenant for rent retroactive abatement for no heat ,dangerous condition and exposing my family to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer & birth defects? How do I enforce rent abatement? Is there a request thru the courts?


    Blessed and proud to be an American!
    Your option to stay or move after first month, your choice..no case..
  9. #9
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Your option to stay or move after first month, your choice..no case..
    Really? So California housing laws mean nothing? I think you'd better check your landlord handbook. Read the chapter on uninhabitable and lawsuits. I can and will sue. A landlord has no right to drive me out of my home.

    So it is your view a landlord can stop all repairs rendering the unit uninhabitable and the tenant is in the wrong for staying?



    REPAIRS AND HABITABILITY
    A rental unit must be fit to live in; that is, it must be habitable. In legal terms, "habitable" means that the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that materially affect tenants' health and safety.116

    California law makes landlords and tenants each responsible for certain kinds of repairs, although landlords ultimately are legally responsible for assuring that their rental units are habitable.

    Landlord's responsibility for repairs

    Before renting a rental unit to a tenant, a landlord must make the unit fit to live in, or habitable. Additionally, while the unit is being rented, the landlord must repair problems which make the rental unit unfit to live in, or uninhabitable.

    The landlord has this duty to repair because of a California Supreme Court case, called Green v. Superior Court,117 which held that all residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit's habitability.118 That is, the landlord must repair substantial defects in the rental unit and substantial failures to comply with state and local building and health codes.119 However, the landlord is not responsible under the implied warranty of habitability for repairing damages which were caused by the tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets.120

    Generally, the landlord also must do maintenance work which is necessary to keep the rental unit liveable.121 Whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for making less serious repairs is usually determined by the rental agreement.

    The law is very specific as to what kinds of conditions make a rental uninhabitable.

    A rental unit may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it contains a lead hazard that endangers the occupants or the public, or is a substandard building because, for example, a structural hazard, inadequate sanitation, or a nuisance endangers the health, life, safety, property, or welfare of the occupants or the public.125

    A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:126

    Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
    Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system
    Gas facilities in good working order.
    Heating facilities in good working order.
    An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
    Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
    Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
    Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.
    In addition to these requirements, each rental unit must have all of the following:

    A working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower. The toilet and bathtub or shower must be in a room which is ventilated and allows privacy.
    A kitchen with a sink that cannot be made of an absorbent material such as wood.
    Natural lighting in every room through windows or skylights. Windows in each room must be able to open at least halfway for ventilation, unless a fan provides mechanical ventilation.
    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.127
    Operable deadbolt locks on the main entry doors of rental units, and operable locking or security devices on windows.128
    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.129
    Ground fault circuit interrupters for swimming pools and antisuction protections for wading pools in apartment complexes and other residential settings (but not single family residences).130
  10. #10
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Nobody is claiming that your landlord is in the right.
    But, as a month to month tenant you are at a disadvantage and will find yourself homeless in six months or so.
  11. #11
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    I did not post on this site to ask if I had a case... I simply stated the facts and asked about rent abatement

    My questions again are:

    What are my rights as a tenant for rent retroactive abatement for no heat, dangerous condition and exposing my family to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer & birth defects? How do I enforce rent abatement? Is there a request thru the courts?
  12. #12
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Be prepared to answer the questions as to why, as a M2M tenant, did you stayed - any judge will ask you that and your answer will determine the outcome of your case.
  13. #13
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Okay here it goes, Gather up all your proofs , all copies of certified/ certificate of mailing letters , confirmed mail delivery letters , your copy of city inspections reports dated pictures of damage that was in place before you moved in and put a dollar amount to it and go file in small claims court asking the court to reduce your rent as a one time settlement since the LL ignored your repair request. IF the court agrees with your evidence it will let you know of its decision. Once you have done that begin to keep a eye out for another rental unit If you dont find some place on your own likely your LL will at the soonest time it can be done with out being considered a retaliatory eviction will send you notice to move out . Do not forget to leave your current unit so clean you would not be afraid to lick the walls or counters. Take lots of pics of the unit once its almost empty and super clean take pics of so called damage too even if it is something you did not create and plan on suing the LL for deposit refund if the LL doesnt comply with your states deposit return laws. THAT is what you are entitled to and if a court agrees with you WUNDERBAR!!!
  14. #14
    aabbcc is offline Member
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    A landlord has no right to drive me out of my home.
    Yes they do. That's the definition of a month to month lease. The landlord or tenant may terminate the lease with proper notice.

    Better find a good attorney to help you prepare your case. If you win or lose, the landlord will likely terminate your month to month lease anyway. While you could claim retaliation (under certain conditions), proving it is another case in itself.

    Also, a lawsuit becomes public information. How will you explain this to future landlords? Let's see, you could say something like, "I sued my previous landlord and won". Do you think that would make a good impression with prospective landlords?

    I'm not saying you are wrong. But, you must consider all the long term consequences. Sometimes, enforcing your rights is the most expensive option. Again, expert legal advice is needed here. See a lawyer.
  15. #15
    rareair03 is offline Junior Member
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    Let me pose the statements like this:

    I am a landlord in Los Angeles with properties valued at over 1/2 billion dollars. In 2005 I ( an investment company) purchased a 48 unit apartment complex for 10 million. I immediately raised the rents and stopped making repairs. Many of my units lack heat and most of the units flood when it rains due to improper drainage. In December 2007 one of my tenants informed me of a broken furnace. I repeatedly ignored their request for repair. In January of 2008 I was given an order to repair by the Gas Company , gas was turned off to the furnace leaving my tenants in the cold. In February I was given another order to repair which I also ignored. I raised the tenants rent during this time as well.

    In June of 2008 I listed the apartment complex for sale, found a buyer...forgetting about the red tagged furnace, escrow failed. I quickly hired unlicensed contractors to replace the furnace. I did not bother to file a mechanical permit and have the unit inspected by building and safety. The new furnace unit was leaking gas into the apartment and was also red tagged in September and again in November. When the unit would receive a red tag I would have my maintenance remove the red tag and turn the gas back on. I was still trying to sell my building during this time.

    My tenant has requested I get the proper mechanical permit and has requested rent abatement for my not providing heat and maintaining a nuisance.
    What should I do?

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