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Roaches!

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T

Tain

Guest
What is the name of your state? California

Signed a one year lease, paid security deposit and first month't rent. The day I went to move in I found the rental littered with roach traps, full of dead cockroaches. There were traps inside and outside the rental. I refused to move in, the property manager assured me he'd have it taken care of and I left without taking the keys to the property. A week later he contacted me saying an exterminator would be taking care of the problem. After being unable to contact him for a week I decided I wasn't going to take my chances with living with roaches after the infestation I saw and no word from him while I wondered where I was going to live. I cancelled my rent check (deposit was already cleared) and found another place. He refused to return any of my deposit, and gave no written explaination why. I understand it may be deemed that he's entiteld to something since he lost out on rent until he got it re-rented, however I consider him not delivering an inhabitable living environment to being with.

He's now claiming that if I proceed with suing him in small claims court for any of my deposit back he'll file a counter-claim in municipal court for a large re-rental fee much above my deposit, as well as the difference in rent I would have paid verses what he rented the apartment for. That sounds pretty absurd to me, but that's why I'm here asking. :)

I realize I may have trouble collecting my deposit, but can he counter-sue?

Thanks!
 


L

loku

Guest
HE'S NOW CLAIMING THAT IF I PROCEED WITH SUING HIM IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT FOR ANY OF MY DEPOSIT BACK HE'LL FILE A COUNTER-CLAIM IN MUNICIPAL COURT FOR A LARGE RE-RENTAL FEE MUCH ABOVE MY DEPOSIT, AS WELL AS THE DIFFERENCE IN RENT I WOULD HAVE PAID VERSES WHAT HE RENTED THE APARTMENT FOR.

He may very well file such a counterclaim, but he has very little chance of winning. (there is always some chance of winning in court, no matter how bad the case.). From what you say, you have a very good case against him for breach of contract. His obligation was to deliver, on time, a habitable dwelling. He did not; therefore, you are entitled to damages for any loss you sustained because of the breach. Following is the Cal law applicable to this:

California Civil Code Sec. 1941.) The lessor of a building intended for the occupation of human beings must, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, put it into a condition fit for such occupation, and repair all subsequent dilapidations thereof, which render it untenantable, except such as are mentioned in section nineteen hundred and twenty-nine.

California Civil Code Sec. 1941.1. A dwelling shall be deemed untenantable for purposes of Section 1941 if it substantially lacks any of the following affirmative standard characteristics:

California Civil Code Sec. (f) Building, grounds and appurtenances at the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin, and all areas under control of the landlord kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
 
C

CA. Landlady

Guest
The problem may be a tenant can not deem the residence untenantable. It's best for a safety code inspector to do so. It may be a tenant said, landlord said issue.
 
C

Caraboutu

Guest
Didn't you look at the rental before you signed a lease and gave a deposit??? I would think, if the roach problem is as bad as you say, you would have seen them when looking at the rental.
 
J

jlw1000

Guest
Exactly. When I purchased an investment property it was roach infested. I saw the roaches, but knew I was going to exterminate until they were gone. In this case the tenants were not neat enough to keep roaches out, and did not mind.

The courts may view your signing of the lease & paying monies as acceptance of the roach situation. Do you have proof of the existence of these roaches (i.e. pictures)? Did you request the landlord exterminate these roaches in writing? If not your case maybe shaky. It will be your word vs. the landlords.
 
C

CaliCat

Guest
In this case the tenants were not neat enough to keep roaches out, and did not mind.
I'd bet you were renting to an aunt of mine, so filthy the roaches actually laid eggs in her sons' ears. And someone she still has custody of the boys.
 
J

jlw1000

Guest
In all respects these tenants are nice people, they just do not understand that I need their cooperation to keep the roaches out. The exterminator took over a year to get rid of the roaches. At the height of the problem he was out every other week. The tenants complained that we were at their property so often (proper written 48 hours notice was given). I explained that I had no desire to invade their privacy, I just wanted to get rid of the roaches.

Now the exterminator comes out once a month, and we hope to get it down to quarterly visits soon.
 

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