Do I need a lawyer to file a counterclaim against my landlord ?
Im renting a house in the country on 100acres of newly planted orange trees Fresno County . Agreed to pay $1400 month rent . Property was being managed by a local fruit grower . The owner of the property resides in Glendale , Ca . So any concerns would go through grower .
We had issues from the start with leaking pipes , gas leaks , and rodents . The manager did call in a second rate plumber who seemed to make the issues worse . He advised me to contact Amerigas who serviced our propane . The cost for repairs made to the propane tank appeared on our bill . He asked me to pay and deduct from rent .
Major insect Infestation - when I asked if he would call out pest control service he advised me to handle the costs and deduct from rent
Rusty smelly water in shower
- exsposed electrical wires and outlet plugs inoperative . Some of which I repaired myself .
Strangers ( farm labores)
Parking in my driveway and having their lunches in my yard startling my wife.
Three truck loads of manurer dumped in my drive way bringing lots of flys and horrible smell . Do I have case ?
2 attorney answers
I agree with my colleague's recommendation - you need local talent to help you with this one. However, if you are renting a legal residential unit, you are covered by California residential landlord tenant rules even if the rest of the property is used for ag purposes. If it isn't legal, you may have a claim to recover all your rent.
You should look at the big picture, which contains a bunch of issues. Whether they are worth the trouble to deal with them constructively depends on your long term goals. You may have some damages claims to make even if you want to move out. It may be that engaging an attorney or mediator to contact grower and Glendale owner would fix things.
Invest in a consultation. Someone needs to read your lease and ask you questions to really be helpful.
Generally speaking, this appears to be a commercial lease which do not carry the same protections under California law as residential leases as to the issues of rusty water or rodent infestations. On the other hand, you have the right to quiet enjoyment, and all of these items are disturbing your use of the property. You should take a copy of your lease and consult a real estate attorney near you as if any claim is to be filed, it should be filed in Fresno County where the property is located.
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