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Does my landlord have to properly clean and check for health hazards after a sewer leak under house?

Napa, CA |

my family has been getting sick constantly since our pipes under the house broke an sewage leaked for GOD knows how long. My landlords son came to glue a cap on the pipes and put 1 thing of bleach an 1 bag of cat litter on the soil and called it good. I want to know it is safe for my kids hear. Besides the 100 other things wrong with this house this is my main concern.Oh after the "repair" was done he gave us a 90 day notice. He was mad we had to stay in a hotel,and it was coming off next months rent.

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Attorney answers 1


It sounds like your landlord may have violated the warranty of habitability, which provides in pertinent part, "The lessor of a building intended for the occupation of human beings must, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, put it into a condition fit for such occupation, and repair all subsequent dilapidations thereof, which render it untenantable."

In California, you have a right to demand that all repair work where the value of the labor and materials exceeds $500 be performed by a licensed contractor. Without knowing more about your particular fact situation, I cannot opine as to whether or not the damage/repair job should have cost $500. Do you know whether the son is a licensed contractor? You might also want to bring in an outside hazardous spill remediation company to get an estimate of what a proper cleanup and repair would cost.

What was the basis of the 90-day notice? Typically 90-day notices are used in Section 8 or other government-supported housing, or after a trustee sale (foreclosure).

How long do you have left on the 90-day notice? You may have time to send a demand letter highlighting those things that you want done, including remediation and repairs by a licensed contractor.

Have you been injured by the leak, or by any other dilapidations? You haven't specified what the nature of the illness was, but you may also have a claim for personal injuries.

How long did you have to stay in the hotel? There is a non-profit, Fair Housing Napa Valley that can provide more information, and Legal Aid Napa Valley also represents tenants. The Napa County Bar Association also has a link on their website to landlord/tenant practitioners.



i am on sec 8 ,his son is not a licensed anything he's @ age 20. when i told my kids doctor my kids were exposed to sewer gas he asked specifically witch gases and i could not tell him because there has been no one hear to test my house or tell me that its safe to be hear except my landlord over the phone. He , himself has not even seen or been in the same county as me or the property this whole time.

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