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Do I have the right to with hold rent till my landlord takes care of the roach problem

Fresno, CA |

I have a huge infestation or roaches in my house they are in the kitchen we threw every thing away in there and have sprayed it several times ourselves we can't even go in the kitchen we are forced to eat out every day because I refuse to go in there we have told our landlord several times to take care of it and he hasn't, he lives right next to us and he has roaches and that's how we got them, we also have a 2 years old and a 2 month old and I am worried about their health we are trying to move and I want to know if we have the right to with hold rent till he gets the problems fixed

Attorney Answers 3


Perhaps, but you should review the terms of your lease with a real estate attorney. If this place is as you say, the lawyer will give you some real alternatives; either to withhold rent or completely vacate premises and/or to sue for damages. No one at this forum can give you conclusive advice without looking at the lease and knowing CA law when units are basically uninhabitable. Go see a real estate attorney immediately.

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There is a right to "repair-and-deduct". The better approach would probably for you to hire a professional pest control service to take care of the roach problem immediately. This cost is probably going to be less than a full month's rent. You can withhold the cost of the pest controll service, not the full amount of the rent,.

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The safest thing to do in this situation is not to withhold the entire rent. You should first write to the landlord to let him know you intend to exercise your right to deduct and withhold, meaning you will go ahead and hire an exterminator (if he chooses not to do it or simply ignore you) within a certain time and deduct that expense from your next month's rent. It is never proper to withhold the full amount of the rent when less is appropriate.

Althernately, you may opt for the procedures in Civil Code 1942.4. Notify the local code enforcemement to come out and inspect the unit. If they agree with you, they will issue a Notice to Correct or Abate and the landlord fails to compy with it in 35 days (without good cause), in that instance, you may withhold the full amount.

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