Knight v. Hallsthammar - GIVES TENANTS RIGHT TO REDUCE/WITHHOLD RENT RE HABIT

Asked over 2 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

Excerpts from Knight v. Hallsthammar (1981), 29 Cal.3d 46(expands on Green v. Superior) - GIVES TENANTS RIGHT TO REDUCE/WITHHOLD RENT RE HABITABILITY ISSUES. "[t]he landlord's lack of fault and reasonable efforts to repair do not prolong the duty to pay full rent."..."At least in a situation where, as here, a landlord has notice of alleged uninhabitable conditions not caused by the tenants themselves, a landlord's breach of the implied warranty of habitability exists whether or not he has had a "reasonable" time to repair. Otherwise, the mutual dependence of a landlord's obligation to maintain habitable premises, and of a tenant's duty to pay rent, would make no sense. "public policy requires that the implied warranty "generally could not be waived by any provision in the rental agreeme

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"The same reasons which imply the existence of the warranty of habitability -- the inequality of bargaining power, the shortage of housing, and the impracticability of imposing upon tenants a duty of inspection -- also compel the conclusion that a tenant's lack of knowledge of defects is not a prerequisite to the landlord's breach of the warranty".

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  1. Brandy Ann Peeples

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    Answered . You have to read and understand the case as a whole and make sure that it is good law. As it's a bit of an old case, your state's statutes could have rendered the case mood or no longer good law.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being... more
  2. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Correct. In California, every residential rental agreement has an implied warranty of habitability that is independent of the tenant’s obligation to pay rent. (Code of Civil Procedure §1174.2; Civil Code §§1941–1942.5; Green v. Superior Court (1974) 10 Cal.3d 616, 631–632; Fairchild v. Park (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 919, 927–928.)

    A breach of the warranty of habitability is available as an affirmative defense for a tenant in an unlawful detainer action for nonpayment of rent. Note, however, it is not available in an unlawful detainer action based on a 30-day notice to quit. (Code of Civil Procedure §1174.2; Knight v. Hallsthammar (1981) 29 Cal.3d 46, 57.)

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more

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