Do I have any tenants rights if my building is not rent controlled in regards to paying for repairs?

Asked 10 months ago - Sherman Oaks, CA

I've had a broken window since Jan. My landlord has refused to fix it stating it was my responsibility since I broke it. I have explained to her I did not break it. I do not feel it's appropriate that I both repair and pay for repairs on something I did not break when I am renting an apt. According to my lease "Resident shall pay Landlord for any cost to repair, replace or rebuild any portion of the Unit damaged by the Resident, resident's guest, or invitees (excluding normal wear and tear). Unless authorized by statute or by Landlord writing, resident must not perform any repairs, painting, wallpapering..etc." I tried to file a complaint with the LA Housing Dept and was informed they would send someone out but I would still probably get stuck paying for it. Do I have any options?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brad S Kane

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . According to the Department of Consumer Affairs,

    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.156 This remedy covers substandard conditions that affect the tenant's health and safety, and that substantially breach the implied warranty of habitability.157 (See discussion of 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.158
    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. (See "Giving the landlord notice".)
    6. 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 situation. For example, if the furnace is broken and it's very cold outdoors, two days may be considered reasonable (assuming that a qualified repair person is available within that time period).
    7. If the landlord doesn't make the repairs within a reasonable period of time, the tenant may either make the repairs or hire someone to do them. The tenant may then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent when it is due. The tenant should keep all receipts for the repairs.
    It's a good idea, but not a legal requirement, for the tenant to give the landlord a written notice that explains why the tenant hasn't paid the full amount of the rent. The tenant should keep a copy of this notice.

    Risks: The defects may not be serious enough to justify using the repair and deduct remedy. In that event, the landlord can sue the tenant to recover the money deducted from the rent, or can file an eviction action based on the nonpayment of rent. If the tenant deducted money for repairs not covered by the remedy, or didn't give the landlord proper advance notice or a reasonable time to make repairs, the court can order the tenant to pay the full rent even though the tenant paid for the repairs, or can order that the eviction proceed.

    The landlord may try to evict the tenant or raise the rent because the tenant used the repair and deduct remedy. This kind of action is known as a "retaliatory eviction" (see section on Retaliatory Eviction). The law prohibits this type of eviction, with some limitations.159

    http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook...

  2. Sagar P. Parikh

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can try the deduct and repair remedy. Repair the window at your own cost and then deduct the amount from your next month's rent.

  3. Eric Scott Jacobson

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . California permits a tenant who is having a dispute with the landlord over the landlord's failure to repair a condition that is affecting the health of the tenant to pay for the repairs and deduct the repair from the rent, but only if the tenant follows certain procedures:

    I do recommend talking 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. I recommend doing so in writing.
    6. The tenant must give the landlord a reasonable period of time to make the needed repairs. how long depends upon how serious the problem is, and how long it has existed. Maybe 1 to 2 weeks for most repairs would be reasonable.
    7. If the landlord doesn't make the repairs within a reasonable period of time, the tenant may either make the repairs or hire someone to do them. The tenant may then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent when it is due. The tenant should keep all receipts for the repairs.

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