We represent a wide variety of clients throughout Los Angeles County and surroundings areas in all types of residential litigation matters, including but not limited to landlord’s failure to fumigate leased apartments when infested with bed bugs, cockroaches, rodents, peeling paint, faulty plumbing install heaters, remediate mold, sewage,, leaks, holes in walls, security lapses, and electrical and plumbing issues etc.
LANDLORDS LIABILITY FOR INFESTED APARTMENTS AND BUILDINGS
Apartment building owners can be liable when they rent out a property, which has bed bugs. The main issue with this type of case is determining the source of the bed bugs. Apartment building operators will ultimately argue that the source of the bed bugs did not originate from the apartment building.
Landlords owe a duty to their tenants to ensure that the property is suitable for human occupancy or habitation. This “implied warranty of habitability” applies to all properties in California.
When landlords fail to properly maintain or repair their property they are in breach of this duty. This implied warranty requires that certain conditions be provided on the property, which generally cannot be waived. If you have been bitten by bed bugs in your apartment contact our offices for a free consultation.
HOW TO GET YOUR LANDLORD TO MAKE REPAIRS
If a landlord refuses to respond to a tenant's written request for repairs and maintenance, the tenant has remedies under California Law and most County and City Ordinances . The law actually protects a tenant that asserts rights against a landlord. In fact, Cal. Civil Code § 1942.5 creates extra protection for a tenant from eviction for 180 days after a repair request.
File a Lawsuit Against The Owner
Depending on the severity of the repair issues, a tenant may have claims against a landlord that can be litigated in Superior Court. For major, ongoing violations, such as infestation of bed bugs, cockroaches, no heat, mold, sewage and roof leaks, rodents, holes in walls, security lapses, and electrical and plumbing issues, an attorney may take a case on contingency. When a case is taken on contingency, the client does not pay until money is recovered. Damages in an affirmative lawsuit can include return of rent paid, payment for emotional suffering, and damages for physical harm.
Under California law, tenants may have the following and more causes of action against a landlord:
Negligence and Negligence Per Se
The landlord may be liable for physical injuries, including illness. If the landlord has violated a state or local statute and the violation has caused injury, the landlord is presumed to be liable under California law.. This means that a jury or judge must presume landlord liability. The landlord can overcome this presumption by showing that the landlord took steps to protect tenants beyond those required by state and local law. A claim for negligence must be brought two years from the date of injury. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1.
Breach of Contract – Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
Implied in every residential lease is a covenant of quiet enjoyment, guaranteeing that tenants will be able to peacefully enjoy their homes. Civil Code § 1927. Where a landlord has substantially interfered with a tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of a unit by failing to provide timely and proper repairs, and the tenant is under constant threat of eviction, the tenant can sue for back rent.
Breach of Warranty of Habitability
Implied in every residential lease is a warranty of habitability.. California Civil Code § 1941.1 provides the minimum requirements for a habitable residential unit: a) effective waterproofing; (b) unbroken windows and doors; © working plumbing and gas facilities; © hot and cold running water; (d) proper sewage system; (e) heat; (f) working electrical lighting and wiring; (g)clean grounds; (h)no rodents and vermin; (I) an adequate number of garbage cans; (j)floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair; and (k) a locking mail box.
To prove a claim for breach of warranty of habitability, a tenant must show: (1) an uninhabitable condition; (2) actual knowledge by landlord or constructive knowledge; and (3) damages. Stoiber v. Honeychuck, 101 Cal. App. 3d 903, 918-19 (1980). Constructive knowledge means that a landlord should have known or could have known about the issue with reasonable inspection.
Damages for breach of warranty of habitability include return of rent paid and attorney fees. The statute of limitations for breach of warranty of habitability is two years for an oral lease and four years for a written lease. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §§ 339 and 337. This means that a tenant can only claim a return on rent for two years back on an oral and four years back on a written lease.