Poor Conditions at Rental at 1317 S Cabrillo Ave in Venice – Can I Sue My Landlord?
A rental property located at 1317 S. Cabrillo Ave, Venice, CA. 90291 owned by Sergio Vargas and Robert Ramirez is under the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP). The two-unit property has been found to have health and safety concerns that affect habitability, resulting in the city placing it in REAP.
What does this mean for tenants? What can tenants do if they have been forced to live in unhabitable conditions in their rental property? Can tenants sue? If you have found yourself asking these questions, we recommend that you seek legal assistance with the experts here at our law firm as soon as possible.
Here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group, our legal team is more than ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to understand your rights under California law and the legal options available to you. To speak with our tenant rights lawyers, contact us today.
About the Property
The two-unit property is located at 1317 S. Cabrillo Ave. Venice, CA. 90291 and is owned by Sergio Vargas and Robert Ramirez; the property is associated with APN 4238004007. The property is valued at over $2 million. The landlord, however, has reportedly failed to keep the property in a habitable condition, resulting in the property being in REAP.
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What is REAP? – Understanding the Rental Escrow Account Program
REAP exists to address and resolve the many habitability issued found in rental properties in Los Angeles. REAP helps in the reduction of blight, preserving the city’s affordable housing stock, and protects tenants from substandard living conditions. The program ultimately encourages owners to make the repairs to their properties to return them to safe conditions. While properties are in REAP, tenants get a significant rent discount which they can either pay directly to their landlords or into the account set up by the program.
Of course, many landlords depend on their rental income to get by – to pay their mortgages, to make repairs, etc. So, getting their properties back in good standing and out of the program becomes a priority for them, as it is the only way to access their full rental income again.
Tenants forced to Live in Poor Conditions
Simple issues are not enough for properties to be put in REAP. In other words, the property must have had significant safe, health, and habitability issues for it to be put on REAP. This means that you, as a tenant, likely lived in conditions that put you and your family at risk because the property did not meet habitable conditions under state law.
So, what makes a property inhabitable? This is an important question, but we must first address the things that make a property habitable. Under California’s Civil Code 1941.1, landlords must ensure that their rentals have all of the following:
A roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors that keep the weather out of the property
Sturdy walls/floors (including stairs and railings when appropriate)
A locking mailbox (in apartment buildings)
Appropriate trash bins
Access to hot water
A functional heater
No toxins (including asbestos, mold, lead, etc.)
No vermin, insects, or pests, in general (including mice, rats, roaches, bed bugs, etc.)
Even just one issue from this list is enough to make a property inhabitable.
Case Law Relevant to Housing
There are many important cases relevant to housing legislation.
For example, a 1974 case (Green v. Superior Court), established the implied warranty of habitability. In other words, even if the warranty of habitability was not stated in the landlord-tenant agreement or lease agreement, it was implied, and the landlord is still responsible for keeping the property in habitable condition.
Just a few years later, a 1981 case (Knight v. Hallsthammar), made it clear that tenants have the right to withhold rent or even make repairs themselves when landlords fail to address issued of habitability. It also established that tenants are entitled to a rent reduction if landlords fail to correct hazardous conditions on the property.
The truth is that tenants have many rights – and these cases, and many others, prove it. The problem is that most tenants simply do not know their rights and do not have access to the information that they need to fight for their rights whenever their landlords fail to keep their rental properties habitable.
Do I Have the Right to Sue for the Uninhabitable Conditions of My Rental Unit?
Yes – you could have the right to sue. If your landlord failed to keep their rental property habitable and was aware of the different issues on the property, you have the right to hold your landlord accountable. Without a doubt, certain conditions on the property could lead to physical, mental, and emotional harm to you and your family. Again, you may have the right to sue for the poor conditions of your rental unit. Depending on the details surrounding your case, you could be awarded compensation. This could include reimbursement for any out-of-pocket repair costs, for relocation, or for medical expenses, just to name a few examples. Case values can vary significantly but can range anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million or even more.
Contact the Downtown L.A. Law Group
The experts here at our law firm are ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to sue your landlord for the uninhabitable conditions in your rental unit. Whether your unit is covered in lead-based paint, has mold, or is infested with bugs, for instance, you could have a case. Here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group, our legal team has decades of experience handling all sorts of claims, and we are ready to fight for your rights as a tenant. To make the legal process as simply as possible for those looking for legal help, our team offers free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During these free legal services, our expert tenant right attorneys will be available to answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and provide you with all the information that you need to begin or continue your claim. To benefit from our free legal services, contact us today.
We offer a Zero-Fee guarantee, meaning that our clients will never have to worry about paying upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. In addition, we work on contingency; this means you will never be required to pay any legal costs unless you win your claims.
For more information about the legal options available to you for the unhabitable conditions at your rental unit at 1317 S. Cabrillo Ave. Venice, CA. 90291, contact us today.
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