After signing a 1yr lease for an apartment that was promised “ready to move in”, but, in reality wasn’t. Since taking possession, I encountered an ant infestation, “red” water spewing from the tub faucet, no deadbolt, no heat, no fire alarms/detectors and CO2 detectors, broken windows, etc. Some of the issues were taken care of after shaking heaven and earth. Yet, others have been deemed as “normal” by the LL. The LL told me that the place was legal and up to code; it wasn’t. The LL brought an “inspector” who profusely refused to properly identify himself and tried to impersonate a city inspector.l; ‘til this day I do not know who he was, but, he pranced my whole unit. Now, the LL said he was going to bring an “architect” to check out my unit. When I asked for this “architect’s” Information, the LL said it was the same “inspector” and he required his permission to give out his info; I didn’t feel comfortable, so, I called the real inspector from SFDBI. The real inspector has noted that the unit is ilegal and there are some building code violations. After the real inspector left, the LL told me that he would like to break the lease and give “some” money to move out. Is this legal?
Assuming (as is likely) that the unit is subject to the SF rent control ordinance, the landlord can only evict you for one of the specified good causes, and cannot lawfully engage in buyout negotiations without complying with the buyout provisions of the ordinance.
If the unit is illegal, you don't owe rent, and most courts agree that you can't be evicted for non-payment of rent. North 7th Street associates v. Constante 92016) 7 Cal.App.5th Supp. 1.
You may well also be entitled to at least a partial rent refund and damages under various legal theories, including habitability, fraud, nuisance, violations of Civil Code Section 1942.4 and Business and Professions Code Section 17200, violations of Sections 37.9(f), 37.10B, and 37.11A of the rent control ordinance, etc.
You should seek help from a local landlord-tenant attorney. Many offer free initial consultations.
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