A tenant’s rights in a landlord dispute

“Home sweet home” can take on a number of different meanings, depending on the resident. It is for this reason that countless tenants experience issues with their landlords, ranging from rent price disagreements to maintenance repair. Although there is no single answer to such problems, there are a number of routes California residents can take when struggling with a landlord.

The Balance raises a major question that often circulates among tenants with landlord issues: can tenants withhold rent if a landlord does not meet certain standards? According to the state’s landlord tenant laws, the answer to this question is yes. If a landlord refuses to meet health and safety standards, tenants may decide to address the matter themselves. The first step in this process requires tenants to supply landlords with a notice regarding the specific issue. In California, there are a wide range of standards landlords must maintain, including adequate roofing, plumbing and gas, proper waste disposal, working heating and rodent-free interior and exterior. The Balance continues by noting that tenants may give landlords notice of withholding rent orally or in written form. If a landlord does not respond to this notice, a tenant may decide to take legal action.

A dripping faucet or insufficient waste disposal may seem insignificant to a landlord, but for the tenants living in such conditions, matters can be serious. The California Department of Consumer Affairs lists the detailed steps tenants can take when dealing with difficult landlords. The CDCA encourages all tenants to keep copies of any letters or notices sent to landlords; from there, tenants may look to the booklet provided by the department to best deal with conflicts. Above all else, the CDCA urges those experiencing landlord-tenant problems to communicate with all of those involved to the best of their abilities–doing so can prevent small issues from becoming larger, time-consuming ones.

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