I?ve had a similar experience once with mice and a rental, so I had a
good idea of where to start looking to see what rights your Girlfriend
has against the termite onslaught and cheap landlord. Here we go.
There?s a thing called Landlord/Tenant laws which govern rental
properties and the rights of those involved with them. I did a google
search for ?los angeles landlord tenant laws? (minus the quotes) and
came up with: http://www.hud.gov/local/ca/renting/tenantrights.cfm
I clicked the first link and got moved here:
Here?s a PDF version of the Landlord/Tenant book.
You want to start at page 35 ?Dealing With Problems?
?There are many kinds of defects that could make a rental unit
unlivable. The implied warranty of habitability requires landlords to
maintain their rental units in a condition fit for the ?occupation of
human beings.? ?A rental unit may be considered uninhabitable
(unlivable) if it contains a lead hazard that endangers the occupants
or the public, or is a substandard building because, for example, a
structural hazard, inadequate sanitation, or a nuisance endangers the
health, life, safety, property, or welfare of the occupants or the
The termites, in my opinion endanger her property (infestation).
Have your GF start by getting a written statement from the
Exterminator stating how the problem needs to be solved. Take pictures
of the termites everywhere and the living conditions of the apt.
Document anything she?s had to dispose of due to termite infestation.
Q. Is a landlord obligated to make repairs in a rental unit?
A. The California Civil Code, section 1941, makes a landlord
responsible for maintaining a rental unit in livable condition, unless
the tenant caused the damage.
Q. What is a livable (tenantable) condition?
A. A rental unity is NOT livable if it substantially lacks any of the following:
- Roof, walls and windows that do not leak
- Working plumbing or gas facilities
- Water supply of hot and cold running water connected to a sewage disposal system
- Heating system that works
- Electrical lighting and wiring in working order
- Building and grounds kept clean, sanitary, and free from garbage,
rodents, and vermin
- Adequate number of garbage cans or dumpsters in good repair
- Floors, stairways and railing in good repair
Q. What can a tenant do if their unit is unlivable?
A. California Civil Code, section 1942, gives a tenant two options.
But first a tenant must meet certain requirements. First, the landlord
must be given notice of the needed repairs. It is recommended to do
this in writing. Second, the landlord must be given a reasonable time
to make the repairs. Usually 30 days, sometimes less, sometimes more.
Once these requirements are met the tenant may:
Repair and Deduct: Make the necessary repairs and deduct the cost from
the rent. The cost cannot exceed one month?s rent and the tenant can
only use this method twice a year.
Move Out: A tenant can move out and no longer be liable for rent or
any other conditions of the rental agreement. Other options include:
contact local code enforcement offices; contact the health department;
make the needed repairs and sue the landlord in small claims court for
the cost of repairs.
Caution to Tenants: You should contact the Fair Housing Council or a
private attorney BEFORE using any of the above methods to insure you
protect yourself and your tenancy.
So, once your GF has met the requirements of:
1. Notify the landlord of the needed repairs. Do so in a letter you
keep a copy of, delivered by certified mail. A paper trail is key.
2. Give the landlord 30 to 45 days to make the repairs.
During those 30 to 45 days if nothing happens?
Fair Housing Foundation
4401 Crenshaw Blvd # 317
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Fair Employment & Housing Department
611 W 6th St # 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90017
http://www.ci.la.ca.us/lahd/ (Los Angeles Housing Dept) Click Contact
LAHD on the left
http://www.hud.gov/local/ca/homeownership/legalaid.cfm (Legal assistance)
http://consumer-affairs.co.la.ca.us/ (La County of Consumer Affairs)
She may be entitled to back rent as well. Speak with a lawyer. Trust
me, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If this answer requires further explanation, please request
clarification before rating it, and I'll be happy to look into this
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