I rent a home in california, in 100 degree + temps. My air condition unit stopped working over 14 days ago and the landlord has not fixed it. Can I with hold rent until it is repaired and do I need to pay back all rent once it is fixed?

Viktoriya S. ∙ September 24, 2019

If the air conditioner was provided by the Landlord and stoped working through no fault of the tenant, landlord is responsible for repairs. First, you should provide a written notice to a landlord about the problem. Second, you should give a landlord a reasonable time up to 30 days to fix the air conditioning unit (reasonable time could be shorter if the weather is very hot). Next, if landlord refuses to repair, you have the option to repair yourself and deduct the repairs from the future rent ( the cost cannot exceed one month's rent). Put all communication in writing, especially your intent to repair and deduct. Another remedy, such as withholding the rent until the unit is fixed, is available for you in Ca. However, using this remedy may present some risks because, according to CA law, the defect must be serious in order to justify withholding (unfortunately, broken air conditioner might not be the one of them.) Withholding the rent might trigger eviction and then the judge will decide whether the condition was a substantial defect that rendered premises inhabitable. To discuss this in details, I recommend you to schedule a consultation with your Legal Zoom provider law firm.

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