This has been an on going thing since last july or so. the first maintenance man that came in told us there was mold and all he could do wash wash the walls down with bleach. He was either fired or quit, but they brought in; a new guy that insisted there was no mold. they replaced the wet dry wall and said it was only water damage. We had a city inspector come in and tell us there was mold and they still would not do the proper care for this. We finally held back dec. and jan. rent as we were told we could do if they were in default of our lease by not providing a habitual place to live. we went to court and the judge sided for them . we have to appeal because the judge openly admitted he wasn't knowledgeable about black mold and when the maintenance man was saying it was only water damage the judge agreed with him by saying oh like the water spots I have in my ceiling He did not look at any evidence we had which consisted of two certified tests that proved black mold plus the testimony of two witness He kind of intimidated the young man that was the defendant and he forgot everything he was going to say We have to appeal because they can't afford 3000.00in a judgement
If the mold, etc. was serious (not all mold is toxic, and cosmetic or minor defects don't violate the implied warranty of habitability), and there was still an outstanding notice of violation from the city, you may have had a good defense under several laws, including Civil Code Section 1941.7 and 1942.4, and Code of Civil Procedure Section 1174.2. However, you had to properly plead and prove your affirmative defenses, and if you didn't do so, and/or didn't have a court reporter, and also didn't at least request a statement of decision under Code of Civil Procedure Section 632, your chances on appeal seem doubtful.
I suggest you evaluate this carefully (and consult an attorney), because appeals can be expensive and complicated, most appeals fail, and if you lose on appeal, you will owe the landlord even more money.
If you can't afford to pay the judgment, it may make more sense to declare bankruptcy (although that is a pretty serious step, and should be weighed carefully).
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