How can I prevent a possible retaliation claim yet also issue a rent increase and notice to vacate that I intended for a while?
A tenant in a SD bldg sent me a text message asking if I would offer a rent concession for missing 5 days of hot water while we fixed plumbing. I havenít acknowledged receipt of the message yet. I have planned for months to increase his rent with a 60 day notice (by about 50% to bring it up to market) and ask him to leave in 90 days so I can renovate his unit. I also planned to send the same notices to another tenant simultaneously. I already renovated 2 other units in the bldg (one vacant) and filled them with new tenants at higher, market rates.
Q1: how can I reduce risk that tenant might prevail on a claim that I retaliated by applying a rent increase and request to vacate shortly after receiving his request for rent concession? Will giving him the rent increase and notice to vacate at the same time as I do for the other tenant be enough? Q2: would it be safer to offer a rent concession before or after issuing the combined notice of rent increase and to vacate? Q3: What would a court deem as an ample rent concession for the missed hot water?
2 Answer from Attorneys
If your question is how you should do something that is illegal without getting sued, I would start with not posting questions about how you should get away with that on a publicly available web site. Do you think the tenant should pay for the five days when you didn't fulfill your obligations to provide a habitable dwelling? Technically, she could have hired someone else to fix the issue and then deduct what it cost her from the rent. It's called the repair and deduct method.
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