Question from g, What are the rights of a tenant-at-will in California dealing with mold issues and potential eviction?
Answer from AI:
As a tenant-at-will in California, you have certain rights and protections under state law. These include the right to a habitable living environment and protection against retaliatory eviction.
Right to a Habitable Living Environment
Under California Civil Code Section 1941.1, landlords are required to maintain rental properties in a condition fit for human habitation. This includes providing effective waterproofing and weather protection, plumbing and gas facilities in good working order, and maintaining the property free from nuisances, including mold.
If your landlord fails to address the mold issue, you may have several options:
- Repair and Deduct: If the landlord does not fix serious defects that violate the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant may have the option to repair the problem and deduct the cost from the rent. However, this option should be used cautiously and in accordance with the law.
- Withhold Rent: In some cases, tenants may withhold rent until the landlord makes necessary repairs. This is a risky option and should only be considered after consulting with a legal professional.
- Report to Local Health Department: If the landlord does not address the mold issue, you can report the problem to your local health department.
Protection Against Retaliatory Eviction
Under California Civil Code Section 1942.5, landlords cannot retaliate against tenants who exercise their rights. If you are served with a notice to vacate after reporting a mold issue, it could be considered retaliatory eviction, which is illegal.
Furthermore, if you have lived in the dwelling for more than a year, California law requires that the landlord provide a 60-day notice to vacate, even for tenants-at-will.
Consult with a Legal Professional
These are general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. It’s important to consult with a legal professional for personalized advice. Legal aid organizations in California may be able to provide free or low-cost assistance.
For more information, you can refer to the California Courts’ Self-Help Center and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ guide for landlords and tenants.