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Q: Getting out of a Lease in Los Angeles ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Getting out of a Lease in Los Angeles
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: terps-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 23 Oct 2006 10:59 PDT
Expires: 22 Nov 2006 09:59 PST
Question ID: 776090
Hello Everyone, I am currently a damsel in distress and need a night
in shining amour (yeah, I know that was a very odd metaphor being that
i am a guy and the question is for my girlfriend, but I tend to have a
flare for the dramatic, deal with it).

Anywhoo, my girlfriend just entered into a lease in Los Angeles
recently (mid-September), and after two days she noticed loose wings
all over her bedroom. When i looked under her bed i found that it was
covered in termites.

She then went to her landlord, who in turn hired a exterminator. The
exterminator informed my girlfriend that the termites have been in the
apartment for over five years and the only way to get rid of them is
to tent the whole place. You could even see a slope in the floor
caused by termites eating out the wood underneath.

 Unfortunately, the land lord is so cheap she was only willing to do a
local treatment, which the exterminator explained would do very little
and the termites would defiantly return. Well it has been about two
weeks since the exterminator did the treatment and the termites are
back. Her window sill looks like a little termite grave yard, and she
finds about ten new termites everyday, just hanging out on her floor.

She had to throw out her bed because it became infested, she  does not
want to waste money on furniture that will become infested so now she
doesn?t have any furniture and sleeps on the floor. She signed a 6
month lease and had to put down a hefty security deposit, and she
wants out.

To make a long story short, is there anyway that she can get out of
the lease, and still get her deposit back, either legally or by
threatening her landlord? (Mind you she is a great person, but she is
just in a terrible situation and the landlord is unwilling to do
anything, and she is basically holding her hostage).

Thank you all in advance.

(Go Terps)
Subject: Re: Getting out of a Lease in Los Angeles
Answered By: nenna-ga on 23 Oct 2006 14:16 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello terps-ga,

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:

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
(323) 295-1832

Fair Employment & Housing Department
611 W 6th St # 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 439-6799 (Los Angeles Housing Dept) Click Contact
LAHD on the left (Legal assistance) (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

Google Answers Researcher

Google Searches Used:
los angeles landlord tenant laws
terps-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
That might have been the most impressive answer i have ever recived to
any question i have ever asked.

Subject: Re: Getting out of a Lease in Los Angeles
From: steph53-ga on 23 Oct 2006 15:59 PDT
Years ago, I was renting an apt. that became infested with roaches. 

When it became clear that the landlords were not doing anything, I
contacted my local health department. They came over and looked at the
situation and told me to move out immediately.

They filed a report, and I got my last month's security deposit back
and had no problems whatsover.

Subject: Re: Getting out of a Lease in Los Angeles
From: nenna-ga on 24 Oct 2006 17:19 PDT
Thanks so much for the compliment, Terps-ga.


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