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CA- Early Termination Lease w/ Civil Code 1942 Quiet Enjoyment

Discussion in 'Living in, Use of the Premises' started by specialboy, Sep 22, 2010.

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  1. specialboy

    specialboy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have done some research but am currently a medical student w/o much time to do much more before my test on friday so I'll give some background then ask the question. we had been with the current landlord for 1 year prior and reluctantly resigned a lease with him beacuse the previous lease term terminated during our boards exam (equiv to your Bar exam). But there was a trend of inattentive and unprofessional behavior last year as well.

    we are trying to proceed with an early termination of our lease under civil code 1942 based upon the following:

    1) Lack of Quiet enjoyment: Have request verbally and had included in new lease as addendum for blinds to be placed in appartment. windows are at ground level facing a frequently used walkway allowing everyone to look inside. Have been after the landlord to install the blinds and the addendum states for them to be installed by sept 1...they still are not there!

    2) Lease stipulates entitled use of parking space adjacent to unit but the space is not designated and now with influx of tenants into complex said parking no longer available.

    3) Influx of new tenantscreated large parking issue such that a) cars commonly block thiers and neighbors garages for lack of parking spaces b) cars commonly park in locations the fire department have deem hazardous as they prevent access to emergency vehicles.

    4) Gang activity directly outside of gated community and cars frequently broken into less than 10-20 ft from entrance to complex.

    5) Bad faith: Issues currently with landlord as not a trustworthy individual (currently under investigation for fraud issues) and has repeatedly claimed to not recieve rent checks sent to him via post. One such parcel recently was deposited into an account some 7 months later with alterations to the checks. Currently this event is being investigated by our banks and the authorities. So far we have been told that the bank where the checks were deposited was the same used by our landlord. Highly suspicious of landlord.

    I think that i have accurately justified the use of civil code 1942 to terminate the lease and I have already sent the landlord an email concerning these issues and his response has been non-plus- nonspecific dates for repair-per usual- and defered ability to address these issues to another entity the HOA which still has no bearing on our lease terms. according to other landlords in our townhouse complex he like to brag about taking advantage of students and feel that that has been what he has been trying to do the entire time.


    So now my question: Are we required to give notice 30 days in advance for our termination as stated in the lease or does the Civil code allow us to make our exit by october 1st? we would prefere to leave by october first so that we wouldnt have to give him any more money and make a clean break. we plan to doccument well the condition and have a walkthrough before we release the occupancy.

    Any other tips?

    thanks
    specialboy
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Hi diddle diddle, I'm gonna play my fiddle.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  3. specialboy

    specialboy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    does the fact that the lease stipulates several conditions that the landlord has failed to provide have bearing on our ability to break the lease with grounds ie the installment of blinds by sept 1 and provision for garunteed parking.

    How about the safety issue of the a) gang/crime activity out front b) recent warning form the fire department concerning access for emergency vehicles (our complex burned down some 10 yrs ago)

    thanks army judge
    specialboy
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Mary had a little lamb.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  5. specialboy

    specialboy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was told by my previous counsel that although he would be unhappy with the situation it was unlikely that in our situation the landlord would pursue us in court given that we have fairly good documentation of the events and correspondence.

    Granted that does assume that he or his own counsel believes our justification doesnt merit our termination of lease or that he is unhappy enough to pursue us.

    I feel fairly confident that a judge would find in our favor and so did our counsel. Also that our landlord, according to another landlord, has a history of strong-arming unsure and naive student tenants (in addition to his current legal issues) i do not believe that he would do much other that to bluff a lawsuit in order to scare us back into the unit or to pay the remaining lease. He has tried to strong arm/scare us before into other issues which i later found our to be not our responsibility.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  7. specialboy

    specialboy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    hey i'm not looking for hostility or sarcasm i was looking for some honest responses to my questions because I am a medical student not a lawyer. With our intense curriculum and 100+ hours of working tin the hospital and studying we havent had the time or energy after 36hrs straight on call to deal with smaller issues which have now accumulated until they were unbearable.

    I appreciate your input if constructive but if you are gonna attack me I would prefer if you didnt respond to my thread as i could use useful information.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Once upon a time, in land far, far away...
     
  9. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    This is not a good enough reason to break a lease. Install your own or put up a shade and deduct it from the rent if it is the landlord's responsibility.

    Does the lease specifically entitle you to a parking space? I don't know what it says. I'm not sure this alone allows you to break the lease entirely, especially without notice to the landlord.

    Not sure how this affects you so much that you can break your lease.

    Is this the landlord's fault?

    What kinds of alterations? If the landlord claims not to receive checks, send them with proof of mailing. Doesn't cost much at all.

    What exactly makes the premises untenantable?

    California Civil Code Section 1942

    (a) If within a reasonable time after written or oral notice
    to the landlord or his agent, as defined in subdivision (a) of
    Section 1962, of dilapidations rendering the premises untenantable which the landlord ought to repair, the landlord neglects to do so, the tenant may repair the same himself where the cost of such repairs does not require an expenditure more than one month's rent of the premises and deduct the expenses of such repairs from the rent when due, or the tenant may vacate the premises, in which case the tenant shall be discharged from further payment of rent, or performance of
    other conditions as of the date of vacating the premises. This remedy shall not be available to the tenant more than twice in any 12-month period.
    (b) For the purposes of this section, if a tenant acts to repair
    and deduct after the 30th day following notice, he is presumed to have acted after a reasonable time. The presumption established by this subdivision is a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence and shall not be construed to prevent a tenant from repairing and deducting after a shorter notice if all the circumstances require shorter notice.
    (c) The tenant's remedy under subdivision (a) shall not be
    available if the condition was caused by the violation of Section
    1929 or 1941.2.
    (d) The remedy provided by this section is in addition to any
    other remedy provided by this chapter, the rental agreement, or other applicable statutory or common law.
     
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  10. specialboy

    specialboy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have sent notice to the landlord numerous times concerning these issues: his response generally has been I'm working on it. As far as the parking his says that that is not in his control and that he cant do anything about it, it is up to the HOA.

    The wording of the lease states that "tenant shall be entitled to use 1 parking space for the parking of motor vehicles" which has not been possible since a block of new leases filled the empty units.

    also we had him include in the lease as an addendum " Landlord shall provide window treatments within sixty days of this lease execution barring any unforeseen setbacks". As of sept 1, the 60 days have past.

    The influx of new tenants and more cars have provided a fire hazard according to the fire department who issued a warning a few months ago.

    Also the cars are often blocking access to our own garage.

    Found out recently a number of tenants in the complex are drug dealers and the community around the complex is heavey with gang and crime activity.

    do you still think that we have cause or is this not a clear cut as we had thought.

    thank you for your input

    specialboy
     

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