What is the right to Repair and Deduct? Landlords and Tenants should be aware that tenants have a right to repair and deduct from rent if their are defects in the premises related to tenantability. The defect must not have been caused by the tenant. The amount withheld must be less than one months rent. The remedy can be used no more than twice in 12 months. Before having the repair done the tenant must give the landlord reasonable notice (30 days is presumed to be reasonable by law). See California Civil Code Sec. 1942.
Should Tenants Move Out for Repairs? California Health and Safety Code sec. 17980.7(d)(3)(A) If the tenant is forced to move during the period of the repairs or a court orders repairs based on the danger to health and safety, the landlord must: 1. Provide the tenant with comparable temporary housing nearby and pay any deferential in rent up to four months; 2. Pay the tenant's moving expenses, including packing and unpacking costs; 3. Insure the tenant's belongings in transit or pay the replacement value of items lost or damaged; 4. Pay the tenant's new utility connection charges; 5. Give the tenant the first chance to move back in once repairs are completed.
What is the Implied Warranty of Habitability? A tenant may also refuse to pay rent if the premises are not fit for human habitation. The minimum requirements of a habitable dwelling are set forth in California Civil Code Sec. 1941.1. To justify rent withholding the defects must be serious enough to threaten the health and safety of the tenant and the tenant must give the landlord reasonable notice. The tenant may withhold that amount that related to the percentage reduction in the value of the premises because of the defect. A tenant has the burden of convincing a judge that withholding rent is reasonable unless a health or building inspection department has insisted on repairs. See California Civil Code Sec. 1942.3 and 1942.4. In addition to attorney fees and costs, a tenant may be entitled to special damages of between $100 and $5000 dollars.
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