The term “slumlord” or “slum landlord” refers to an unscrupulous landlord who attempts to maximize profit by avoiding spending money on property maintenance and who has no concern for the habitability of his property or the safety of his tenants. California tenants have certain rights under state housing laws and as a resident of a San Diego rental property, you should never have to deal with an oppressive landlord or unhealthy, unsanitary living conditions. Having a decent place to live is your civil right, and any violation of that right by a slum landlord should be punished accordingly. If you have suffered damages as a result of unsafe or unsanitary conditions in your San Diego rental home or apartment, including exposure to toxic mold, or if you are living in fear of being evicted because you complained about an inhabitable living environment, contact our San Diego tenant lawyers at DAG Law Firm today for qualified legal help.
Affordable San Diego Slumlord Attorney
Landlords in California are required to follow specific state laws when it comes to renting property to tenants, and these laws dictate how much money they can collect as a security deposit and how much notice they must give a tenant who has not paid rent before pursuing eviction, among other regulations. There is also a legal doctrine in California called the “implied warranty of habitability,” which requires landlords to keep their rental premises habitable, or livable. Unfortunately, it is the inherent nature of slumlords to do everything they can to take advantage of tenants who are afraid to complain about unsanitary or unsafe living conditions or attempt to retaliate against those who do complain. The most valuable tool you can equip yourself with in the event of a San Diego slumlord dispute is an attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights as a tenant and who is familiar with California housing laws, particularly those that apply to the duties of your landlord to maintain a habitable living environment.
Damages Resulting from Toxic Mold and Other Unsuitable Housing Issues
There are any number of injuries San Diego tenants may suffer while living in an unsanitary or unsafe dwelling, including exposure to toxic mold. Mold can grow indoors or outdoors, wherever there is excessive moisture, and exposure to mold can lead to aggravating symptoms like wheezing, stuffy nose, itchy skin, and red or itchy eyes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with asthma or allergies to mold may have more severe reactions, including fever and shortness of breath, and prolonged exposure to high levels of toxic mold can lead to neurological problems or even death. If your home has toxic mold or other issues that pose a serious health risk for you and your family, your landlord is responsible for addressing the problem in a timely manner. If he or she refuses to fix the toxic mold issue, you may be able to sue your landlord for damages. Some possible damages resulting from this type of slum landlord situation may include:
- Costly medical bills
- Lasting injuries
- The cost of staying in a hotel
- Being forced to leave your home because of an eviction
- The stress of finding a new place to live
- Moving expenses
- Children having to change schools
- Damage to your credit
- Psychological stress
- Lost wages from time off work
If your landlord has failed to properly respond to concerns you’ve expressed about mold exposure in your home, you can contact your local housing authority or board of health, though many people choose to contact an attorney to discuss their legal rights and learn how they can sue their landlord for their injuries and other losses. In the case of toxic mold, it may be safer to move to another rental and sue your landlord for damages, rather than staying to fight and risking your health and the well-being of your loved ones.
Your Right to Sue Your Slum Landlord
San Diego tenants have certain rights under California law, but they must take action to protect them. The most important thing is to understand what the law in California says about your situation as a tenant, and how the law will be applied to your case if you end up going to court. Under California Civil Code § 1941.1 and § 1941.3, for example, a rental in San Diego must have, at minimum:
- Well-maintained stairways, floors and railings;
- No lead paint hazards;
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of the roof and exterior walls;
- Functioning heating, plumbing and electricity;
- Deadbolt locks on certain doors and windows;
- Clean and sanitary building and grounds; and
- No nuisances that are obnoxious or morally offensive or that put the tenant’s life or health at risk.
There are other state housing laws in California that deal with the right of tenants to live in a habitable dwelling, and some cities have their own building and housing codes that establish minimum requirements for rental properties. Some slumlords may try to manipulate tenants who complain about unhealthy living conditions by evicting them or threatening eviction, but you should know that it is against the law for California landlords to retaliate against tenants who stand up for their right to a habitable dwelling.
Seeking Compensation for Slumlord Damages
Just because you rent doesn’t mean your right to decent, safe and secure housing is any less important than someone who owns their home. All tenants in California are entitled to rental property that is in good repair and that meets basic health, safety and structural standards, and if a landlord fails to comply, the tenant may have the right to withhold rent, deduct the cost of repairs from their rent, move without notice, call state or local building health inspectors, or sue the landlord for damages. While state laws appear to come down on the side of the tenant in most tenant-landlord disputes in San Diego, tenants are vulnerable too. That’s why it’s so important to enlist the help of a knowledgeable San Diego tenant attorney who can help you seek financial compensation from your landlord in the form of a lawsuit.
Free Slum Landlord Consultation in San Diego
Defending yourself against unlawful eviction or filing a lawsuit for damages related to an inhabitable living environment takes more than some quick research and a passing familiarity with California housing laws. Tenants who go to court unprepared may find themselves without a safe and secure home for their family and with significant expenses on top of that. If your landlord’s negligence in failing to maintain a decent rental property has caused you harm, or if your landlord in San Diego is attempting to evict you because you have asserted your right to suitable housing, contact our experienced tenant attorneys at DAG Law Firm today to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to sue your landlord, and our lawyers can help.