Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

Reside in CA

Rental Agreement(lease) states that upon move in we would have AC and a Heater. We moved in during the summer months and live on the top floor, so it would become unbearable from the heat. Our AC leaked extremely bad all over the carpet in the hallway. (We believe it is in fact a swamp cooler) We notified our leasing office several time (via phone) to have them come and fix the problem. They had to have come at least once a week for 2 months, and every time they said it was fixed, but it wasn't. Then they blamed the building shifting, well it has been 6 months and they still have not fixed the AC. Since it has been raining we have not been calling them about the AC not working, but the lease said we have a working AC.

I want to know what I can do so they either fix the issue, or be reimbursed for loss of AC (which the AC unit was the main reason for choosing this place to live)

Asked on 12/29/10, 1:46 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Make sure that you send your landlord a letter, keeping a copy of the letter for yourself, setting forth (1) that you rented the apartment because they advertised AC (hopefully you kept a copy of the advertisement so that you can show a judge what you relied on in renting the property); (2) set forth all of the unsuccessful attempts by the landlord to repair the AC; and (3) that given the landlord's continued failure to repair the AC that you feel that the value of the property is greatly diminished, and that you want to renegotiate the price of the apartment, of renegotiation is not permitted, or that you will move out by _________ (an agreed-upon date).

If the result is a reduction in rent or that you will move out by a certain date, make sure that any agreement that you obtain with the landlord is reduced to writing and the agreement is signed by both the landlord and yourself. Most leases contain a clause that any modifications or changes to the lease must be in writing (and signed by the parties to the lease agreement, including the landlord) or they will be deemed to be invalid. Thus, never rely on modifications or changes to a lease given to you by a landlord unless the modifications or changes to the lease are in writing and the writing is signed by the landlord.

Never rely on a modification or a change to the lease until the landlord signs an agreement to the contrary!

If you need help, please feel free to contact me at 619-991-0548.

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Answered on 1/06/11, 9:18 am

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