I live in Placer County, Ca. Its is hot, and my A/C unit is not functioning. I called the emergency maintenance number for the Woodstream Townhome complex, and the maintenance person is refusing to come out and make any repairs, claiming the management will not pay him for that. A/C was advertised for the unit. It is Memorial day weekend, and I don't expect any action on the part of management any time soon.
Can I withhold a portion of the rent until repairs are made? Can I pay an outside technician to preform the repairs immediately, deduct the cost from the rent and provide the LL with a copy off the receipt?
You need to allow your landlord a reasonable period of time to make repairs. You cannot repair and deduct without following the required procedures which require more time than a long weekend. For more information see this CA legal guide: California Tenants at: www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf
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No, the landlord is not required nor obligated to make "immediate" repairs to an air conditioning unit. You cannot use the repair and deduct, nor the withholding rent methods. This is because under current California law, specifically Civil Code section 1941.1, A/C is not considered one of the items which render a rental dwelling uninhabitable. Therefore, unless your lease or rental agreement obligates the landlord to make immediate repairs, you must afford the landlord a reasonable period of time to make repairs.
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 for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
I generally agree with my colleagues here. However, as I mentioned in Mr. Chen's response, there may be local ordinances that COULD suspercede State Law and require that A/C be considered for a habitability claim. This would be the case if A/C were required in ALL dwellings due to the extreme heat.
Now as minor children are involved, contact a repair person. Notify the management that you are doing so. Then, if no response from management, pay for the repairs and then deduct from your monthly rent. However, before doing ANY of this, contact a local attorney who knows about landlord-tenant laws to direct you further.
Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 www.smallclaimsappeals.com [email protected] This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.
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