If you feel like you’re paying outrageous rent just to live in unacceptable conditions, you may be right. Are you often without hot water or any running water at all? Do dangerous conditions exist inside or even outside of your dwelling? Are the maintenance requests you have made being ignored?
Renter’s rights are often violated – in California and all across the nation. Current factors within the rental landscape – like difficulty in finding vacancies and the steep cost of rent – tend to discourage tenants from demanding their rights. It’s easy to feel fortunate to even have a roof over your head so you grit your teeth and put up with whatever is dished out. Don’t think your landlord doesn’t know that.
Landlord Mentality Matters
The median rent in California’s top 50 metro areas is $1,849, 15.5% higher than it was just one year ago. If you have a negligent landlord, it’s likely that they are using the math to their benefit, regardless of whether they have increased your rent or not. They are aware of the fact that you’re less likely to seek action for their failure to comply to rental standards since you’d pay so much to live elsewhere.
When a landlord has this type of mentality, he functions on a greedy, selfish level – looking out only for his own interest. He or she is commonly referred to as a “slumlord”.
7 Most Common Tenants Rights Violations
Here are the seven renter’s rights violations you are most likely to encounter:
- Your rental residence must be habitable. The state of California is clear and concise about the fact that renters have the right to live in a clean and habitable dwelling and that it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure the building is up to standard. This includes the doors and windows being in good repair, the roof holding water from leaking in, and vermin and pests being controlled. It also denotes that running water is available. with both hot and cold options. Slumlords think nothing of providing substandard conditions. Sanitation provisions, reliable energy, and clean water supply are usually lacking, Law enforcement is often needed but not easily accessible. If you are living in an inhabitable place, your first step should be to make a verbal complaint to your landlord.
- Complaints Should Receive Timely Responses. By not responding to your complaint in a timely manner, a landlord is basically writing you off. While it is expected, even demanded, of you to pay your rent on time, when the table is turned, it’s “different”. It is important, however, that you don’t stop paying your rent because then you are in violation of your lease. Technically, it is illegal of your landlord to accept your rent for a building that is uninhabitable but if he does, it will only strengthen your case. By taking the necessary legal actions with the assistance of a Tenant’s Right Attorney, you stand a good chance of recovering the money you paid for rent while the property was in disrepair.
- You have the right to third party intervention if your landlord does not comply in a reasonable length of time. It is not acceptable for your landlord not to respond to your complaint in a timely manner. Following a verbal complaint, a dated formal letter should be written and a copy of it retained as proof. Include photos with timestamps if possible. If you still don’t receive a response, you can file a complaint with the Housing Authority and request an inspection.
- You have the right to sue if your landlord doesn’t comply with the city’s 60-day notice. A 60-day notice by the city to the landlord demanding him or her to remedy the problem is the general outcome of a tenant’s legitimate complain. If that notice goes ignored, you can take your landlord to court to recover the rent you paid while living in an uninhabitable place. You will want to hire a Los Angeles Tennant’s Rights Lawyer to advise you of the Tenant Bill of Rights and to represent you in your case.
- You still maintain your rights if you are living in an illegally converted unit. Even if you knowingly pay rent on a dwelling that is not legal and your landlord accepts the payment, you have protections and rights. Warehouses, shed, and even illegal tiny homes and campers are covered. It is always a good idea to write the address of your unit on each check when you pay rent so you have proof your landlord knew the exact whereabouts of your rental.
- Your landlord must give you a notice before entering your residence. Whether your landlord was snooping, letting the maintenance man in, or making a repair, you have the right to be notified 24 hours before he or she goes into your unit. Furthermore, your consent is required. Otherwise, it is a violation of privacy. Illegal entry is one of the most common complaints tenants have against their landlords.
- There are legal limits on rent increases. Stipulations apply where the amount and frequency of the raising of your rent, especially if you live in rent controlled housing in California where only one increase per year is allowed. Even places that are not under rent control have regulations regarding rent. Your rent cannot be raised during a lease unless otherwise stated within the lease. Even if your lease is up or if it allows for an increase, a 30-day notice is required. Be sure to discuss excessive or frequent rent increases with an attorney.
It’s true that rent prices are outrageous, and rental properties are hard to find but don’t let that override the fact that as a renter, you have tenant rights. If you feel your renter’s rights are being violated, it’s time to hire a Tenant’s Rights Attorney in Los Angeles like Jacob O. Partiyeli.