Hi, so about a month ago my husband and I ( and our children ages 2yr, and a 5 mo old) moved into a apartment complex. My husband had previously walked thru the apartment and they told him the one that they were showing him was not going to be our...
Hi: Sorry to hear about your bad experience. It sounds as if the apartments have placed you in a unit that has a pervasive problem which you describe as cat urine odor. Apparently management has not been successful in having the problem resolved by carpet cleaning, it is likely more extensive steps need to be taken including replacement of the carpet and subcarpet, and possibly part of the flooring. The problem is significant for you as tenants not only because it is unpleasant but also because it appears your children are having some type of allergic response that is affecting their breathing. From a legal standpoint, this condition creates a nuisance, which interferes with your right to quiet enjoyment of your unit. It also rises to a "substandard condition" as defined under Health & Safety Code section 17920.3(c). Under California law, your landlords are in breach of the implied warranty of habitability codified at Civil Code Section 1942.1.
Your options include demanding a new apartment, breaking your lease and moving out (legally, it is the landlords who have broken the lease, not you). Probably less practically, there is the "repair and deduct" remedy that would allow you to pay for further carpet treatment yourself and deduct it from the rent. Withholding of rent until the problem is resolved by the landlords is an option, but very risky and not advisable without an attorney's advice since this could very likely lead to an eviction action and does not get your family out of harm's way. If your landlords are found to have behaved negligently, you could recover damages in a legal action against them. However bringing a claim against your landlords for breach of the warranty of habitability is something you would usually consider after the problem is resolved - either by moving out because of the problem (called a constructive eviction) or by any of your several alternatives.
All in all, if your family's health is at issue and if there is no definitive resolution by the management company on the horizon, vacating this rental should be your priority. Document the conditions well before you vacate (for example have a licensed carpet person inspect it for you to get an opinion on what the problem is - don't use anybody hired by the landlord). You can always take your landlords to court, but consult with an attorney soon to discuss your claims and applicable time limitations applicable to all legal actions.
Good luck!See question
Renting a house involved in a property dispute, and possible fraud. Signed original lease with 1 of 2 owners on April 10th. In early June a lawyer and "the actual owner" of the house came by and wanted to know who we were. She was not aware tha...
This is a tricky situation, it sounds like you are suffering the fallout from a title dispute between your landlord and a third party. Putting your rent in trust, particularly with attorney representation, is a very reasonable way to protect yourself from being actually evicted - although if the parties are uncooperative, you may have to make your argument to a Judge if either landlord brings an unlawful detainer. If you have not already done so, notify both landlords in writing why you are placing the rent in trust, and invite them to resolve the matter between themselves so you know to whom rent should be sent. Since there are many variables in your fact situation that could give rise to different results, you should promptly consult with an attorney familiar with tenant rights law. Good luck!See question
I live near a person who does laundry for a continuous 6-8 hours per day. This creates a constant nuisance noise from the washer and dryer which is heard in my residence. The person has had several complaints from former neighbors. This constant d...
Tough call. Assuming your neighbor is not breaking any HOA rules, your argument will be that this conduct amounts to a nuisance – defined in relevant part, as anything that is offensive to the senses or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of your property. See, Civil Code Sections 3479 (nuisance defined) and 3481 (private nuisance). In small claims court you could recover damages up to the statutory limit (generally $7,500) if you are successful in convincing a judge that your neighbor’s actions are unreasonable, and amount to a significant annoyance that interferes with your enjoyment of your property. The problem is that a “trier of fact” (judge) might conclude that your neighbor’s conduct is not unreasonable, and therefore not a nuisance. I would document the problem well beforehand as well as your efforts to seek an informal resolution, and then maybe consult with your local legal aid office for an opinion as to whether or not it is worth pursuing in Court. Additionally, it could be instructive to review a copy of the HOA rules and covenants, and look for anything that addresses the occupants duty to not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others. There might be language in the Rules that the Board is overlooking. If it looks like your neighbor is in breach of one of the rules, you can press on the HOA to enforce their own rule. Otherwise it’s probably a small claims action against your neighbor for nuisance. Good Luck!See question
How much notice does a landlord have to give you before they enter your home?
CA Civil Code Section 1954 sets for the circumstances under which a landlord may enter a rented residence, and the type of notice required. Section 1954(a) provides that, absent an agreement with the tenant, a landlord’s entry during the tenancy can occur only the following circumstances: emergencies; to show to new tenants, or to prospective purchasers, to make necessary or agreed upon repairs or to provide necessary or agreed upon services; to perform an initial inspection at move-in, to inspect for waterbed violations; pursuant to a court order or upon abandonment by the tenant.
If those conditions exist, notice of intent to enter is required. The statute provides that notice must be in writing (although the tenant can agree to verbal notice) and must be a “reasonable" time before entry. "Reasonable" is generally understood to mean at least 24 hours prior to entry, and none is required in a genuine emergency.
Importantly, regardless of notice, under this statute landlords are not permitted to come onto the property for any other reason. This means that landlords who simply wish to “inspect” or lecture their tenants may be violating the statute, regardless of the adequacy of notice.See question