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

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

"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".

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    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 provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area.


  2. 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 general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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