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  1. #1

    Default Does it Violate Your Lease to Report Problems to a Housing Inspector

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    Hello everyone,

    Bare with me as this is a long story.

    It started off when I went to visit my girlfriends apartment, she had been complaining about the condition of the apartment, and how it was just in total neglect of repair. Multiple electrical plugs did not work and some had pieces of plugs broken inside of them from the last tenant. Kitchen plugs were not protected by GFCI nor was the breaker. Bathroom light fixtures were hanging off the wall with wiring exposed. Thermostat is broken and the ceiling tiles next to the AC unit were falling apart and not sealed correctly. Other things to add; the old tenant that didn't leave quietly still has stuff in the apartment and it caused the move-in date of the current tenants to be postponed. In fact the old tenant left the day they moved in. So there was no proper time to look through the apartment and nothing was cleaned or repaired before hand.

    Naturally as I get tired of hearing about it, I tend to do something about it. So, I wrote to the health and safety department within the city the apartment is located.

    The inspector actually came out and looked into the case and from what I understand was not pleased with the landlords up-keep of the apartment. They contacted the landlord and now the landlord is furious not only at my girlfriend but has threatened me with attorneys if I continue to tell my girlfriend what is not up to code in the apartment and needs to be fixed. The landlord harshly speaking out to me with her maintenance guy, said I had no legal right to make those reports to the health and safety department as I am not a tenant. In doing so by reporting those claims to the department the landlord has said that the tenant has broken a section in her lease which says:

    "Tenants agrees to inspect the apartment and notify ********** staff of any needed repairs or existing damages within 48 hours of move-in date."

    In another section it states that:

    "I acknowledge that if i have a maintenance issue I have to submit an email if I fail to do so my request may no be taken into consideration ____SIGN____"
    Lessor repair section.

    "lessor shall keep the following in good repair: Roof, exterior walls, foundation, sewer, plumbing, heating, wiring , AC, driveways, and sidewalks, except when such repairs are necessitated by misuse or negligence of Tenant, its agents, employees or invitees, and all other maintenance responsibilities by law. We consider holes in the walls misuse and abuse and we do not allow this."

    If I might add that the tenant did not file the form to have an inspector come out, it was done by the guest. As I (the guest) was having a good yelling with the Landlord, I mentioned how the average tenant is never going to know what needs to be up to standard before she moves in and that just in this particular case someone the tenant does know has knowledge on the matter.

    My questions for you (the community) is:

    Did I have the right to make the complaint to the city to have an inspector come out (not in terms of morals but legal)?

    Should the landlord have taken care of all possible health and safety code violations before even thinking about moving someone new in to this apartment room?

    What sort of legal trouble could the landlord be in with the department of health and safety, assuming the inspector only saw the tenants apartment? And, if the inspector saw the entire exterior of the complex leading to the tenants apartment (which includes stair-wells that are not lit and can be pitch black, elevators that have no permits, broken lighting, broken internal roofing, and exterior catwalks of the building that are slanted and not level walking surfaces.

    What would be a good-step to take in order to have this apartment up to standard and how it should have been upon initial move-in without having a landlord trying to evict the tenant?

    Should there be any reimbursement with the apartment?

    and of course as anything else comes to mind I will be sure post it

    Thank you all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,173

    Default Re: Does it Violate Your Lease to Report Problems to a Housing Inspector

    "the landlord is furious not only at my girlfriend but has threatened me with attorneys if I continue to tell my girlfriend what is not up to code in the apartment and needs to be fixed. The landlord harshly speaking out to me with her maintenance guy, said I had no legal right to make those reports to the health and safety department as I am not a tenant. In doing so by reporting those claims to the department the landlord has said that the tenant has broken a section in her lease"

    The landlord is full of baloney on all counts and any legal action he takes can be easily defended.

    Did I have the right to make the complaint to the city to have an inspector come out (not in terms of morals but legal)?

    Yes. Absolutely.

    Should the landlord have taken care of all possible health and safety code violations before even thinking about moving someone new in to this apartment room?

    Of course. But I don't see what good a "shoulda, woulda, coulda question does at this point.

    What sort of legal trouble could the landlord be in with the department of health and safety

    Beats me. That's a question best put to the department of health and safety or you can google the codes and penalties.

    What would be a good-step to take in order to have this apartment up to standard and how it should have been upon initial move-in without having a landlord trying to evict the tenant?

    Kind of a meaningless question.

    The landlord can TRY to evict any time he wants to. "Steps" won't stop him. Whether he succeeds or not depends on the circumstances. Doubtful that he would succeed under these.

    As for the "steps," any defects should be reported in writing to the landlord as soon as they are discovered. Laying a paper trail are always the best steps.


    Should there be any reimbursement with the apartment?


    No.

    and of course as anything else comes to mind I will be sure post it

    Before you do that I suggest you and your GF study the CA landlord tenant statute (starts at 1940) and the guide that follows:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/ca...ebody=&hits=20

    http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/l...k/catenant.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    OH10
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    17,019

    Default Re: Does it Violate Your Lease to Report Problems to a Housing Inspector

    He does not need to evict. You proved to an inspector the apartment was uninhabitable. LL might require she leave until it is safe which may take 6 months or more. Renting is sometimes a double edged sword.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does it Violate Your Lease to Report Problems to a Housing Inspector

    Quote Quoting devilsadvocate3
    View Post
    They contacted the landlord and now the landlord is furious not only at my girlfriend but has threatened me with attorneys if I continue to tell my girlfriend what is not up to code in the apartment and needs to be fixed.
    Given that the unit has been inspected, that's really now the role of the housing inspector; but no, they have no basis to sue you for pointing out actual problems with the apartment.
    Quote Quoting devilsadvocate3
    In doing so by reporting those claims to the department the landlord has said that the tenant has broken a section in her lease which says:
    He's very obviously wrong. Leaving aside the fact that these issues existed when they rented the unit to your girlfriend, such that they are known issues, that's not what the clause says. Further, any lease provision that prohibited a tenant from reporting housing defects to the appropriate housing authorities would be void. See Civil Code Sec. 1942.5.
    Quote Quoting devilsadvocate3
    If I might add that the tenant did not file the form to have an inspector come out, it was done by the guest.
    The tenant is best protected when the tenant makes her own complaint.
    Quote Quoting devilsadvocate3
    What sort of legal trouble could the landlord be in with the department of health and safety, assuming the inspector only saw the tenants apartment?
    If the landlord is ordered to make repairs, the landlord will be expected to make the repairs. If the landlord does not do so, additional consequences or penalties can result.

    I'm not going to speculate over a possible rent abatement action for conditions in an apartment that I have never seen.

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