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Old 04-24-2011, 04:33 PM
 
3 posts, read 8,081 times
Reputation: 10

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I've been living in this place for about three years. For over a year, I've told the nephew of the landlord, who lives on the property and is officially the property manager, that we have a visible hole in the roof which is viewable through the fan in the bathroom. This hole is causing water damage in the bathroom ceiling and walls, as well as filling the attic with mold. Also, since we've moved in, I've had issues with my bathroom sink... it leaks and gets clogged often. They've sent a plummer out to fix it, but it's still leaking every time he leaves, and when he unclogs the sink, it only lasts for a week or two. All I use the sink for is brushing my teeth and washing my hands after the bathroom, nothing major that would cause a clog.
I plan on not paying next month's rent, saving up the money and moving to a new place. I'm going to send my landlord the following letter:

Quote:
The purpose of this letter is to inform the recipient of our intent to invoke our tenant’s rights of rent withholding remedy and abandonment remedy.
According to the rent withholding remedy, by law, a tenant is allowed to withhold (stop paying) some or all of the rent if the landlord does not fix serious defects that violate the implied warranty of habitability(Green v. Superior Court (1974) 10 Cal.3d 616 [111 Cal.Rptr. 704]). The defects must be substantial—they must be serious ones that threaten the tenant’s health or safety. This includes plumbing blockages, which have plagued our secondary bathroom for months.
The abandonment remedy states that a tenant can abandon (move out of) a defective rental unit. In order to use the abandonment remedy, the rental unit must have substandard conditions that affect the tenant’s health and safety, and that substantially breach the implied warranty of habitability (California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 3:115-3:116, 3:126). The tenant is not responsible for paying further rent once he or she has abandoned the rental unit (Civil Code Section 1942).
Existing issues which are not pursuant to the implied warranty of habitability include holes in roof which have caused water damage and mold, bathroom sinks which have caused water damage and mold, windows what won’t close and an unworking furnace which translate. Holes in the roof and broken bathroom sinks have been reported to the property management for an amount of time greater than one calendar year. Agreement to an unworking furnace was made upon rental of the unit, however, coupled with windows that won’t close, it creates substandard living conditions that deviate from guidelines specified by the warranty of habitability.
Is this legit?
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,564 posts, read 36,473,016 times
Reputation: 13177
If I were you, I would substitute the word "abandon" or "abandonment" for the term "constructive eviction". I would also omit the reference to "agreement to an unworking furnace".

Have you read the Green case? The issue and rule of the Green case is that a landlord cannot evict a tenant in retaliation for a tenant bringing a warranty of habitability suit against the landlord. If you are going to cite cases in your letter, you better read the cases and understand them first.

A few tweaks to the letter and it should be fine.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,140 posts, read 11,041,171 times
Reputation: 12381
NOLO Books has a helpful book on Landlord-tenant law in California. You can order it from their website.
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