Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Repair and Deduct rule

I just leased a nice 3 bed and 2 bath home. My walk-

through is an addendum to my lease. I noted some defects on my list, ie kitchen and bath draws that have no guides and would fall out when opened and cupboard doors that are hanging on one hinge. After

giving my front money and signing my lease, I waited for the repairs to be made, when no one contacted me

for 3 weeks, I asked that the repairs be made and was told that they would not be fixed, that the list I prepared on my walk-through was just an acceptance of the condition of the property and not a repair list.

I am very upset with condition as I want to proud of my place when I have guests and not be embarressed

by cabinet doors and draws falling out. I don't know if this situation qualifies for ''Repair and Deduct''.

Could I pay for the repairs and then sue my landlord for the cost, and do you think I have grounds to win.

Thank you very much

Don Hanks

Asked on 7/18/01, 9:18 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Repair and Deduct rule

The landlord's position appears to be correct. First, "repair and deduct" applies to factors affecting 'tenantability' (habitability) as defined in the Civil Code, and the items you mentioned aren't on the short list.

Further, the landlord is probably right that the purpose of the walk-through was to identify pre-existing defects for purposes of apportioning liability upon the termination of your tenancy, and not to serve as a promise to repair.

Often a smart landlord will make these repairs anyway since they are a good investment and may reduce the landlord's potential exposure to lawsuits from tenant injury. However, there does not seem to be an obligation to do so.

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Answered on 7/19/01, 2:03 pm

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