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I have two weeks before I move into rental apartment. It is not ready to move into, until landlord perform much needed repairs.

Pomona, CA |
Filed under: Tenant rights

Applied and approved to rent apt. from the owner. When I'd signed the lease last week and paid the security deposits and partial rent for the last half of this month, I was able to take my time and walk thru and inspect everything in detail. I'd discovered that it is not clean and ready to move in!! The kitchen is filthy and most all of the appliances are broken, dirty, and the water has a bad odor. The patio has animal feces in between the tiles, which was there for years!! I'd talked to landlord, send text msgs, and emails. He wants to think about what he can do.. Also, there is a hole in kitchen sink pipe, which caused water damage inside cabinet and beyond. Very unhealthy for me and my pet!! I don’t want to live here. Can I void lease and get money back? Thanks!!

Hello, I'd just talked to the landlord and was promised that repairs and clean up will be done before we move in.. If so, fine... If not, what options do I have? Thanks so much!

Attorney Answers 2


Certainly you are not required to accept a unit that is not fit. Hopefully there is no provision in your rental agreement that states that you inspected the unit and found it suitable before you executed the agreement. This would complicate things perhaps, but whether or not there is such a provision, I cannot see any judge ruling that you had to accept the apartment in unclean and damaged condition. It is good that you alerted the landlord about your complaints before you took possession. Unfortunately because of his assurance that he will correct the problems before you do take possession, I think you now are bound to allow him to deliver on his promise.

Practically speaking, though, I have serious doubts about this guy performing reasonably. I think you are taking a big risk here. Almost all landlords know that they have to get their apartments rent ready even before they show the units, much less before the tenants takes possession. You may be stuck for a couple of weeks, but I would be on guard against a slipshod job by a landlord who appears deplorably ignorant or cavalier. If the apartment is not reasonably clean condition and good repair on the day you are scheduled to move in, I recommend you rescind the agreement unequivocally and immediately. You are not required to accept substandard living conditions.

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Under the law of contracts, you have a right to demand assurances when you reasonably believe that the other party is not going to be able to perform. You may want to talk to an attorney about invoking that rule here. Some risk is involved in that your belief of nonperformance may not be reasonable. But you don't want to learn on move-in day that the unit is still uninhabitable.

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