What Are California Renters' Rights Regarding Mold
Like most places, California has a set of laws outlining the rights and responsibilities of both parties in a landlord and tenant relationship. These exist to keep either party from taking advantage of the other. In many cases, these laws only seem to matter when someone's been wronged, and not knowing them can make it hard to get what you're owed.
This applies to a lot of issues, mold problems being one of them. DoNotPay is here to educate you on so that you aren't blindsided by problems and can enforce your rights.
California Landlord-Tenant Laws
As we said, California law outlines various things that landlords and tenants must do or abide by while in a rental agreement. California is what's known as a "tenant-friendly" state, meaning these laws generally favor tenants. Here are some of the major points of these laws that you should know:
- Landlords must ensure that a tenant's dwelling is safe and habitable during their stay there.
- In the event of major damage, landlords or their maintenance staff are required to fix those problems.
- Landlords must provide water, gas lines, plumbing, phone connections, garbage removal, and similar.
- Landlords must disclose if the dwelling has been contaminated by hazardous materials.
- In the event of a minor issue, tenants are generally required to handle it themselves.
- Tenants are not allowed to use their dwelling for anything but residential needs unless otherwise stated in the lease.
What Are My Rights as a Tenant in California?
As we mentioned before, California's rental laws tend to work more for the renters than the landlords. This means good news for you as a tenant. In addition to the state's expansive rent control laws, various other things can benefit you when renting in California. Some of these stipulations include:
- Landlords are prohibited from threatening eviction as retaliation against a renter.
- To evict a tenant, a landlord must give cause and ample notice.
- Landlords are required to give a full day's notice before entering a tenant's home (emergencies excluded).
- If a maintenance request has been submitted and not completed within 30 days, renters can withhold their rent until it is completed.
- If a landlord does not complete a maintenance request or deal with another hazard (such as mold problems) within a reasonable amount of time, renters are permitted to do the work themselves and bill the landlord for the costs.
How to Withhold Rent in California
As we covered before, California renters are within their right to withhold rent if a landlord does not respond to hazards or repairs in a timely fashion (30 days as stipulated by law). Mold is covered in this, meaning that a in your apartment does not have to be paid until the mold is dealt with.
If you find yourself in this situation, inform your landlord in writing that you're exercising your right to withhold rent until the mold or other issue is rectified. Remember to cancel any pending automatic payments while you're at it, otherwise, you'll still get charged.
How to Ask Your Landlord for Repairs on Your Own
If your landlord has been informed of your mold problem and won't take care of it, you can escalate things. Submitting a formal repair request is the first step before getting more serious.
While you can do all of this on your own, it can be a scary and risky process if the landlord tries to retaliate, which is why it's always good to have DoNotPay in your corner to back you up. If you're confident you can do it on your own, though, here are the steps you can take throughout this process:
- Formally submit a maintenance request. Even if you've done this before, whether it's verbally or through the landlord's notification system, send a second via your email. Many landlords use a request system that does not allow renters to see their message history, which only works in their favor if you need to prove your correspondence.
- If your mold has not been dealt with in 30 days after this formal request, send another email stating that you're legally withholding your rent until the issue is resolved. You can also file a complaint with a relevant authority at this stage.
- If the threat of withholding rent has not caused your landlord to fix the problem, or if they try to retaliate against you, get in contact with a lawyer specializing in landlord and tenant law. Mold is a major health hazard, meaning that a landlord knowingly ignoring the problem for extended periods could violate the law.
- Work with your lawyer to identify any offenses committed and, after collecting evidence, file a case in small claims court.
- On your court date, appear and make your case against the landlord.
How to Request Repairs With DoNotPay
If a landlord is refusing to respond to your maintenance request, you can get DoNotPay to make your request a bit more forceful. To get things started, follow these four quick steps:
- Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.
- Select which issue applies to you.
- Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.
- Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.
And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.
DoNotPay Can Help With Lots of Rental Issues, Not Just Mold
DoNotPay does a lot more than just help you solve issues with mold in your apartment. Our app lets you get restitution for all sorts of issues. If your landlord is trying to keep your deposit, delay returning your deposit, or even threatening to evict you, DNP will help you out however we can, up to and including taking them to court. We can also help you with other issues, like kicking out bad roommates.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay isn't just here to teach you about . We offer users a variety of services they can use to fix the problems in their life, including:
From fixing your mold situation to finding you extra cash to everything in between, DNP does right by our users. Try the app today to get started!