How a tenant can force a landlord to make repairs
As a tenant you have the right to a safe and healthy dwelling. Your landlord has a right to keep your rental unit in a condition fit for human occupancy and up to code, such as effective weather proofing, plumbing, water supply, electrical lighting, and many other items.
Unfortunately many landlords ignore your requests to make these basic repairs because they want to maximize their profits.
And often landlords will try to evict a complaining tenant. And once a landlord begins the eviction process it is too late for a tenant to complain.
Therefore, it is your responsibility to insist on your rights before it is too late.
If you have any or all of the following you need to act fast:
- leaking plumbing
- leaking ceilings
- broken or missing windows
- broken or missing window screens
- broken windows
- infestation of cockroaches or other vermin
- lack of heat
- lack of or insufficient hot water
- defective electrical wiring
- missing or defective window/door locks.
First you have to write a letter to the landlord or manager complaining of the condition and give the landlord a reasonable time (usually 10-14 days) to fix the condition.
If the landlord still refuses to make the necessary repairs then you have to complain to the proper governmental agency. If you live in a rent control unit in the City of Los Angeles then you can make a complaint with the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD).
If you live in cities other than Los Angeles then you should contact the local housing department to make a complaint.
You can also make a health related complaint with Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health.
It is very important that you make the proper complaints in writing. Many times tenants make the mistake of refusing to pay the rent because they have uninhabitable conditions in their premises yet they have not made any written complaints. Courts will not consider your complaints if you have not given the landlord an opportunity to fix the condition in writing.
Practice Area: Tenant Law