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New Contributor
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎04-24-2008

CA landlord tenant law

[ Edited ]
The below letter is one I am in the process of writing to our landlord. We moved in on July 1st. Can we break the lease because of any of the below reasons? He has known about all these items, since he lived in this home for 6 year prior to us moving in.

Upon moving into your home at (removed) CA we were a little shocked to find several items wrong with the home, and items needing repair. Upon verbal agreement there was a trade negotiated . A water filtering unit for some work completed.

The following was completed to make the home habitable:
The tub was fixed to drain properly (parts paid for out of pocket by us)
2 (out of the 3 in the home) toilets were fixed (parts paid for out of pocket, by us)
Screens were put on the homes windows (they were here, but not installed), one was missing and Todd manufactured one to work on that window
Several sprinkler in the back yard were fixed to work properly (some still needs repair, as we requested parts from you on 9/2/08)
Dish washer was de-calcified to work better (it still does not work, but it is an improvement)
Step built from kitchen to room with french doors for safety reasons (the drop from the kitchen to this room was very unsafe)

Our verbal agreement has been fulfilled.

However, there are still several things that are wrong with the home, that need immediate attention.

The electrical box in the entryway coat closet does not have the cover on it. It is very unsafe, and we are afraid to put items in the closet.
The carpet in the room with French doors is ripped, and we are worried Mary will trip.
The plate glass window in the dining area is cracked, and has been for some time. This is scary for us, and very unsafe, we were unaware this was not going to be fixed prior to move in.
The shower in the kitchen bathroom does not work, and sprays water everywhere.
Outlet covers were missing on several outlets, which are a safety hazard. (we did install the outlet covers that were here, but have used all the existing unused covers, and there are still uncovered outlets)
The patio in the back yard is very uneven, due to missing/rotted wood.
The roof leaks (per Terry), and we are worried that it won’t get fixed prior to Winter. The roof leaking leads us to believe there is possibly mold/mildew in the walls.
No GFI in the bathrooms. ( I am not sure if this is code in Butte County, but it is in most.)
Water heater does not work. The only way to get hot water to any faucets is to turn on the re-circ pump.
Water Heater flue is rusted and in very unsafe condition (pointed out by Terry upon move in)

Several of the above mentioned items were not mentioned prior to move in, and we discovered/were informed of these items upon moving in, with the expectation of said items being taken care of.

Having visited the home only twice before move in, there is only so many items one can take in. Only recognizing the possible hazard these items could cause after living in the home.

Message Edited by quirkypixie on 09-08-2008 01:46 PM
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 32,865
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: CA landlord tenant law

VA has a similar law. If you can prove that there are hazardous situations, you must give the landlord 30 days to fix or the lease is cancelled. Can't speak to Cali. Seems like there was a discussion in here recently...
New Contributor
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎04-24-2008

Re: CA landlord tenant law

I was hoping for CA specific law (not that others aren't welcome). I think my question is, would the 30 days start from the time we moved in (and he knew about said items then, after verbally discussing them with us) or after I send the above letter?
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 32,865
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: CA landlord tenant law

Start here. Also gives references to the statute:
My example was for VA only. Cali may have a different law or procedure.
New Contributor
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎04-24-2008

Re: CA landlord tenant law

I read it all, but it doesn't answer my question (at least to my eyes, I could be wrong)

So, since he did know about said items (he personally pointed them out), and was aware of them at the time of us moving in, do I just send the letter and start the 30 days, or just give notice, since above items have not been addressed?
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,060
Registered: ‎02-13-2008

Re: CA landlord tenant law

This should explain your rights....I didn't read it thoroughly but I hope it answers your question!
Mortgage Lenders Mid-Score 778 I AM A HOMEOWNER!!!!! 30 Year 5% Fixed Rate, closed on 3/18/09
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎03-18-2008

Re: CA landlord tenant law

I don't know what applies in Butte County, but around here (Bay Area), in general you can only break a lease without penalty if the defects found represent either an immediate threat to your wellbeing (broken lock on the front door) or if it makes the property uninhabitable. By uninhabitable, I understand that to include things like inoperative furnaces and water heaters. I don't think things like torn carpet, absent GFCIs, or dry rot on the patio apply.

Have you actually informed the landlord of the problems in the latter part of your letter? I don't think you can break the lease without giving the landlord an opportunity to rectify the major problems. Even so, he may not be obligated to fix all of the problems that you have detected.

A couple complications in your situation is that it sounds like you didn't do a thorough walk-through of the property before signing the lease. A lot of these problems should have been easily discovered with an inspection. Your landlord could argue that none of these problems were present until after you moved in. Also, you made only a verbal agreement regarding the fixes that were already done. In cases like this, a verbal agreement is only as good as the paper it's written on.

In the Bay Area, there is an organization called Project Sentinel that assists persons in situations like yours. They don't serve Butte County, but they might be able to direct you to an appropriate resource.

Project Sentinel

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