Los Angeles, CA asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Can I break lease if I report multiple issues to landlord such as roaches, rats, window issues, and mold?

Window is missing one layer of the double pane windows now there is mold building up around windows and I have an 8 year child that it can affect. Since I moved in January there are roaches and I I reported it to management but no resolution. I've bought multiple products but none work. Now I have seen two rats and rebooted this issue and manager has not been available to respond or address either issues.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, tenants have the right to habitable living conditions, which includes a pest-free and mold-free environment, as well as properly maintained windows. If your landlord fails to address these issues in a timely manner after being notified, you may have grounds to break your lease.

Here are the steps you should take:

1. Document the issues: Take photos and videos of the roaches, rats, window issues, and mold. Keep a record of when you noticed these problems and any attempts you made to resolve them yourself.

2. Notify your landlord in writing: Send a written notice to your landlord detailing the issues and requesting that they be fixed within a reasonable timeframe. Keep a copy of this notice for your records.

3. Allow reasonable time for repairs: California law doesn't specify an exact timeframe, but generally, 30 days is considered reasonable for most repairs.

4. If the landlord fails to address the issues: If the problems persist after the given timeframe, you may have the right to break your lease due to the uninhabitable conditions.

5. Consult with a legal professional: Before breaking your lease, it's advisable to consult with a local tenant rights organization or attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law to assess your specific situation and advise you on the best course of action.

Remember, you must continue paying rent until you formally break the lease. If you stop paying rent, you could face eviction proceedings. If you do break your lease, your landlord may still attempt to collect rent or sue you for unpaid rent, so having proper documentation and following the correct legal procedures is crucial.

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