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Due to plumbing/water damage to part of our wall, ceiling, carpet, necessary repairs were needed. What rights do we have?

Los Alamitos, CA |

On 7/6/13, as a result of plumbing breakage on the 2nd level, our apartment received water damage to part of the wall, ceiling, and carpet in the dining area. The property mgmt. had to pull back the carpet, remove the foam, place a blower, and cut the affected drywall/ceiling. Due to the musty smell, blower, and uninhabitable conditions, there was no way that we would stay in these conditions with a 5mos. old baby and 10yr. old who suffers with asthma. The property mgmt. co. says that it was our choice to leave during the repairs, and state they don't have to compensate us for our expenses that we have incurred to provide a healthy & safe environment for our children. The mgmt. has showed no concern or empathy. What are our rights?

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

As a tenant, you have the right to a habitable rental dwelling. The landlord must ensure habitability. Here, your rights are very much fact specific and fact driven. Whether or not the landlord must compensate you for expenses incurred to live elsewhere while the repairs are being done or give you reduced rent for that period of time depends upon the extent and severity of the problem. If the landlord (via the management company) is refusing to reimburse for expenses, your remedies as a tenant are to withhold rent, to sue in small claims court, and to move out altogether. However, each of these options are risky for a tenant to take without the advice of counsel with a full understanding of the facts and circumstances.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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