Everyone California tenant has the right to live in a clean and safe apartment, but sometimes landlords neglect housing issues that compromise their tenant’s safety and health. Insects inside the home, especially voracious bed bugs, can quickly infest furniture and clothing if they are not exterminated. Cockroach infestations left untreated by a professional pest control operator can multiply throughout an entire building in a few short months. Even small repairs that keep being neglected such as a leaky faucet, can quickly landslide into a bigger problem if it is not fixed. Most landlords will respond to their tenant’s requests for repairs, but unfortunately not all landlords are so responsible. If you have repeatedly called and complained to your landlord to no avail, it may be time to resort to using a lawyer.
What is a Legal Letter to Landlord?
A legal letter to landlord is the first step in the legal process for ensuring that your landlord is held responsible for your living conditions. Our legal letter will outline the basis for your demands and any violations of California law. The letter goes out on our firm’s letterhead, letting your landlord know you’ve sought the services of an attorney. Often, unresponsive landlords who ignore tenant requests quickly change their tune once they receive a legal letter outlining potential legal action. In many cases, once a legal letter is sent, tenants will quickly see the landlord take action to address any problems or issues with the property. In the rare case that a legal letter does not spur the landlord to action, it can act as basic documentation for a future lawsuit.
What Issues Does the Letter Address?
The letter outlines any issues you, as a tenant, may be having with your rental unit. Every letter is written based on a private consultation wherein any potential or current problems you have with your residence are discussed. Issues that are addressed in the letter include hazards to your safety and security such as:
- Pest Infestations (Cockroach, Rodents, Mice, Bed Bugs, Fleas, Rats)
- Unwillingness to make needed repairs
- Unsafe building conditions, such as broken windows, missing stair rails or faulty doors, unsafe common areas
The letter can also address other issues concerning unlawful behavior from your landlord such as:
- Illegal rent increases
- Illegal entries
- Failure to return security deposit.
Why Write a Letter?
It is recommended that tenants handle problems housing issues in writing. A letter provides documentation that the tenant tried to resolve this issue with the landlord. A phone call does not provide such documentation, since the landlord could easily deny that the phone call took place. Tenants should always keep any and all correspondence sent or received from the landlord. Furthermore, it is best to send letters via registered, certified, or overnight mail in order to obtain proof of mailing.
Can My Landlord Retaliate Against Me?
It is against the law for a landlord to retaliate against their tenant for sending a legal letter complaining about their living conditions and threatening to pursue legal action if the problems are not resolved. In many cases, once a landlord receives a legal letter he or she will start fixing the problem to prevent a future lawsuit. Your landlord has no right to evict you, raise your rent, or attempt any kind of retaliation against you for sending a legal letter. If your landlord attempts to retaliate against you, contact us and we will advise you of your rights and what your options are.