Perhaps, but you should review the terms of your lease with a real estate attorney. If this place is as you say, the lawyer will give you some real alternatives; either to withhold rent or completely vacate premises and/or to sue for damages. No one at this forum can give you conclusive advice without looking at the lease and knowing CA law when units are basically uninhabitable. Go see a real estate attorney immediately.
Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thanks.
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties in the state of Pennsylvania. He phone number is 215-735-2336 and his email address is listed below.
Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.
There is a right to "repair-and-deduct". The better approach would probably for you to hire a professional pest control service to take care of the roach problem immediately. This cost is probably going to be less than a full month's rent. You can withhold the cost of the pest controll service, not the full amount of the rent,.
The safest thing to do in this situation is not to withhold the entire rent. You should first write to the landlord to let him know you intend to exercise your right to deduct and withhold, meaning you will go ahead and hire an exterminator (if he chooses not to do it or simply ignore you) within a certain time and deduct that expense from your next month's rent. It is never proper to withhold the full amount of the rent when less is appropriate.
Althernately, you may opt for the procedures in Civil Code 1942.4. Notify the local code enforcemement to come out and inspect the unit. If they agree with you, they will issue a Notice to Correct or Abate and the landlord fails to compy with it in 35 days (without good cause), in that instance, you may withhold the full amount.