California law requires every residential landlord in the state to maintain their residential rental properties in a habitable, or livable, condition, and that includes ensuring the property is up to code and devoid of bug infestations, toxic mold contaminations and other health hazards. It is the right of California tenants to live in a safe, clean and sanitary rental property properly maintained by the landlord or property owner, and this protection cannot be waived by the tenant or landlord, even if it says so in the residential lease or rental agreement. Too often though, slumlords in Orange County take advantage of tenants who they know have nowhere else to go, believing that they are too afraid of being evicted or otherwise retaliated against if they complain. If you and your loved ones are suffering wrongful treatment at the hands of a slum landlord in Orange County, contact our knowledgeable fair housing attorneys at DAG Law Firm today to discuss your legal options.
Affordable Orange County Slum Landlord Attorney
There are any number of issues that may arise during the course of a landlord-tenant relationship, and many of these issues can be handled without the aid of an attorney. However, in the case of a manipulative slumlord refusing to take the proper steps to ensure a tenant’s rental property is kept reasonably clean and safe, the tenant often requires professional legal help to protect his or her right to a habitable dwelling. Tenants are not always clear on their rights under the law, and a shortage of decent affordable housing in Orange County means many tenants dealing with negligent landlords, or slumlords, have nowhere else to go and are forced to remain in their rental property despite the existence of toxic mold, bug infestations and other issues that make it unfit for human habitation. Our tenants’ rights attorneys at DAG Law Firm are committed to holding California slumlords accountable for their negligence and will represent your case to the best of their ability.
Damages Resulting from Toxic Mold and Other Unsanitary Housing Issues
California’s “implied warranty of habitability” law is inherent in every residential lease agreement and requires that landlords maintain their rental property in a condition that is fit for the occupation of human beings. A “slumlord” or “slum landlord” is an owner or manager of a rental property that does a poor job of abiding by this law and continues to gets away with it. Unfortunately, when a rental property is by law considered uninhabitable and there are people living in it, serious health problems can result. For example, exposure to “toxic mold,” a term referring to molds that produce mycotoxins, can result in severe neurological problems and even death in some cases. Toxic mold can grow anywhere in your home there is excessive moisture, which means any areas with chronic leaks or significant water damage. Some common issues that may allow you to file a claim for damages against your landlord include:
- Toxic mold contamination
- Bug infestations
- Plumbing that doesn’t work
- Floors, stairways or railings in disrepair
- No heat or water
- Improper ventilation
- Gas or sewage leak
- Gas leaks that cause carbon monoxide poisoning
- Chronic leaks and collapsing ceilings
- Electric wiring that is not up to code
- Lead-based paint that is peeling or chipping
Even if the issue with your rental property doesn’t put you at risk for physical injury, you may still be able to sue for damages. Bed bugs, for example, aren’t known to transmit any diseases and don’t necessarily pose a serious health hazard, but the emotional and financial harm resulting from a bed bug infestation can be severe and long-lasting.
Your Right to Sue Your Landlord
According to the law, California rental properties must be habitable when a tenant moves in, which means the apartment or house must comply with building codes, must not put the tenant’s safety at risk, must not be in disrepair, and must be free of any bug infestation or toxic mold contamination. The very definition of a slumlord is an unscrupulous landlord who cares little about the health and safety of tenants and refuses to spend money on repairs to maintain habitable rental properties, and that makes many landlords in Orange County slumlords. If your landlord refuses to properly maintain your rental home or apartment, it is your right as a tenant in California to withhold rent, move out without notice, notify state or local health inspectors, “repair and deduct” the cost of repairs from your rent, or sue your landlord if he or she fails to address problems or health hazards, such as toxic mold contamination. Even if your landlord included in your rental agreement a clause that releases him or her from liability for toxic mold and other habitability issues, you may be able to seek compensation for damages.
Seeking Compensation for Slumlord Injuries
As a tenant in California, you have the right to demand a standard of living that is adequate for the health and safety of yourself and your family. If a problem exists at the time you are due to move in to your rental, you can either refuse to move in and demand your security deposit be refunded, or request that your landlord fix the problem before you move in. If the problem occurs after you move in, it is your duty to notify the landlord about the problem and request that it be taken care of in a timely manner. If the landlord refuses to fix the problem, or ignores your request altogether, you have the right to move out or take other action against the landlord, including suing for damages. It is against the law for any landlord in California to evict or otherwise retaliate against a tenant for requesting repairs or for withholding rent or exercising his or her right to “repair and deduct.” If you are living in an unsafe or poorly maintained apartment in Orange County and your slum landlord refuses to make repairs or otherwise ensure your apartment is habitable, you may be able to seek compensation for the following losses:
- Rent paid while living in an uninhabitable dwelling
- Moving expenses
- Cost of a hotel stay
- Medical expenses associated with toxic mold
- Breach of warranty of habitability
- Breach of contract
- Emotional trauma
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
If your rental home or apartment has been in violation of California’s “implied warranty of habitability law” for the entire time you’ve lived there, you may be entitled to all rent paid during the course of your lease, plus other damages.
Free Slum Landlord Consultation in Orange County
Your Orange County landlord is legally obligated to maintain the habitability of your rental property from the day you move in to the day you move out, regardless of what your lease says and regardless of his or her financial ability to do so, and if your landlord breaches this legal duty by failing to address toxic mold or other potential health hazards, you may be able to file a claim for damages. Our knowledgeable attorneys at DAG Law Firm are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of tenants in Orange County and throughout Southern California, and will fight to defend your civil right to safe and habitable housing. Contact our legal team today to find out how you can pursue financial compensation for your losses.