Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

Can I break my apartment lease due to roaches? I have reported it to the manager several times, nothing is helping. I have 8 months left on my lease.

Asked on 7/15/13, 10:00 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mark Saltzman, MBA, JD Law Offices of Mark E. Saltzman
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In extreme circumstances, you can break a residential lease due to the landlord's breaching the "implied warranty of habitability." I suggest that you make sure that your requests to the landlord are in writing. If the landlord does not take action within a reasonable time and the infestation is posing a serious health risk, you can hire your own exterminator to do the work and deduct the cost from your next rent payment This is called the "repair and deduct" remedy. Alternatively, sometimes the problem can be so serious that you are forced to move out. This is called a constructive eviction.

There are restrictions on the "repair and deduct" remedy and the "constructive eviction" issue. Before you actually do one of them (or another remedy), check with an attorney or the California Dept. of Consumer Affairs website, at

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf

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7/15/13, 12:29 pm

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