Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

reason for tenant not to pay rent

Tenant has not paid rent for 6 weeks.

Two years ago we put in an expensive

new garbage disposal. They broke it. I

put in another new one. Can they not

pay rent even though they broke it? If

so, for how long?

Asked on 10/03/07, 12:13 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: reason for tenant not to pay rent

Civil Code section 1942 allows tenants to perform repairs themselves and withhold a limited amount of rent to reimburse themselves for the cost.

However, 1942 applies only to the rrepair of "dilapidations" that render the premises "untenantable," and requires the tenant to give prior written notice and to allow the landlord a reasonable opportunity to do the repairs himself.

Unless the breakage of the disposal renders the sink drain non-functional, I would say the matter does not come under 1942 and the tenant has no right to withhold rent.

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10/03/07, 12:36 pm
Ryan P. McClure The Law Offices of Ryan P. McClure
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Re: reason for tenant not to pay rent

I agree with Mr. Whipple's analysis and would conclude that the tenant probably has no right to withdold rent.

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10/03/07, 12:47 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen
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Re: reason for tenant not to pay rent

Make sure to document all communications with this tenant. Obviously, this tenant is taking advantage of the situation and could become a "problem" if you start eviction proceedings. I agree that a garbage disposal problem does not make the property untenantable unless the sink backs up and causes sanitary problems. You might serve them with a three-day notice for payment of the rent or quit if you want to escalate the situation.

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10/03/07, 4:18 pm
Larry Rothman Larry Rothman & Associates
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Re: reason for tenant not to pay rent

Your tenant will still have to pay rent. Please contact us and we can assist you with a 3 day notice and unlawful detainer.

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10/05/07, 9:30 am

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