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Poor conditions, can we terminate our lease early? Quiet Enjoyment

Discussion in 'Living in, Use of the Premises' started by wassaii, Mar 5, 2004.

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  1. wassaii

    wassaii Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In case it's relevant, I am in Los Angeles, California.

    I am in an apartment on the first floor of a two-story apartment. Our apartment recently had the bathroom ceiling collapse, leaving tons of dry wall on the floor of our bathroom. The wood foundation, however, still remained. We called the management company the morning prior to the ceiling's collapse since we saw strain on the ceiling and water dripping. A person picked up and forwarded us to a voicemail machine, at which point we left a message. Six hours later the ceiling collapsed.

    Also, a week later, poor drainage in the courtyard area of our apartment caused the water to end up "draining" into our apartment, flooding our kitchen and one bedroom with water roughly 1.5 inches high.

    Prior to this, our on-site manager was always negligent in responding to our requests (broken heater, running toilet, gas leak....4 months later they're still broken). We even wrote a letter to the management company (who did not do anything about the broken fixtures). Since then, the manager has been fired and our ceiling has been fixed. I am just wondering, however, if I am entitled to terminate our lease early because of these conditions. If not, am I allowed to sue? I have pictures and video clips of the collapsed ceiling (negligent management and possible threat to life) and the flooding (with some electronics floating around in it). Thanks for your help, I greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. NYClex

    NYClex New Member

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    wow, sounds like you have a good reason to pack up and leave. I guess L.A. probably has a "housing authority" or something like that, a city department, very often they have an office where they can help you handle exactly these things. These people know the local law. I would suggest you find out if there is something like that and go there.

    If you want to leave, approach the landlord and see what he says. If he balks at letting you go, you might bring the whole case to a lawyer.
     
  3. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    You would likely not have to sue to break the lease as it appears that the landlord breached your lease. Every tenant has rights under the lease (e.g. the quiet enjoyment of the property leased) and it would seem that the landlord has breached the lease covenants. It would seem likely that you could terminate the lease due to 'constructive eviction' -- that the landlord's breaches of the lease are the equivalent of a forced eviction -- that is the argument I would make.

    I might write a letter prior to leaving, list all the problems, state in advance when you are leaving due to their inability to remedy hazardous living conditions and you were forced to move out and look elsewhere. I'd send such a notice certified return receipt.

     

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