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3 options to consider if your landlord is not making repairs

As a renter in California, you deserve a habitable rental unit. Your landlord has legal responsibilities for making necessary repairs and maintenance. If your apartment is unhealthy or unsafe and your landlord refuses to resolve the issue, you probably feel angry and are wondering what you should do.

Thankfully, California laws provide you with various actions to take against a negligent landlord. Here are the remedies you should consider if you are dealing with an unresponsive landlord. 

1. Withhold rent

You may be able to stop paying a portion or full amount of your rent if your landlord is not fixing severe defects. According to the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, here are some apartment defects that may justify withholding rent:

  • Lack of heat in multiple rooms
  • Consistent infestations of mice, rats or cockroaches
  • A collapsing ceiling
  • Exposed and faulty wires
  • A dangerous stove that was illegally installed
  • Plumbing blockages

In order to take the rent-withholding route, there must be severe health or safety violations. Before you stop paying rent, read about your other options below and consult with an attorney.

2. Repair and deduct

If the conditions in your apartment are not as serious as the ones listed above, you may have the ability to deduct a certain amount from your rent to recover repairs. Some conditions that may lead you to take this step include no hot water, a gas leak or a leaking roof when it is raining.

3. File a lawsuit

Another option is for you to sue your landlord. You can pursue a lawsuit without even trying other remedies first. If your landlord fails to resolve serious habitability defects in a timely manner, you may be able to take him or her to court. However, you must meet certain standards for your situation to warrant a lawsuit, such as getting a housing inspector to investigate the habitability issues.

Before you move forward with any of these actions, make sure you talk to a lawyer to figure out your best option.

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