Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

I'am a landlord and my tenant reported a water leak under the kitchen floor. I immediately called a contractor out to investigate and make repairs. The contractor had to cut out a section of floor to get to the pipe and repair it. Upon repairing the pipe the contractor pointed out additional water damage and some mold (apparently it had been slowly leaking for months before it was visible, and the tenants waited for for three weeks after they notice the leak before informing me).

I spoke to my insurance company and called out another contractor to dry under the house and investigate and remove the mold/mildew. The contractor said there was no dangerous mold and no airborne spores. I had them go ahead with remediation anyway to be safe.

This resulted in the tenant not being able to use her kitchen for almost two weeks, due to the torn up floors. During this time I asked her to find out what is covered under her renters insurance such as for a hotels if she wanted to stay somewhere else. I offered to cover her deductible if she wanted to stay in a hotel. I even offered to pay to board her dogs.

She never called her insurance and after two weeks I offered to adjust her rent, discounting the daily rental amount by 50% for the time that she couldn't use the kitchen and had to put up with the repair work. She says that this is insufficient and that she wants the entire month rent free.

Am I obligated to reduce the rent further, or to waive the rent for the entire month? I feel that I have been more than accommodating and have gone out of my way to make the repairs quickly, and with the least amount of disruption to her.

Asked on 6/28/13, 10:10 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services
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That should all be covered in your lease. Generally only partial rent abatement is owed for a partially unusable unit.

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6/28/13, 11:37 am

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