California law requires that all apartments and rental homes be safe and habitable. Unfortunately, many landlords and slumlords in large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland neglect their rental units.
Abusive and negligent landlords allow their tenants to live in grossly substandard living conditions for two reasons. One, they simply don’t care about their tenants or their children. Two, they don’t want to spend the money to make their properties habitable and safe.
That’s the definition of a slumlord – and we hate slumlords.
Slum landlords take advantage of tenants living in depressed neighborhoods by ignoring their tenants, by pushing tenants around, and by threatening tenants with eviction or worse. Some slumlords even threaten their tenants with deportation. That type of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and, frankly, makes our blood boil. A slum housing lawyer in Los Angeles can help you understand your legal rights and file a claim against your negligent landlord on your behalf.
What is Slum Housing?
At its core, slum housing is property that is uninhabitable because it poses a safety risk to the tenants or their children. Additionally, if a property is missing a fundamental feature, such as heat or running water, the law may classify it as slum housing.
What Are the Landlord’s Obligations Under California Law?
Landlords must provide habitable living quarters for tenants in exchange for the rent the tenants pay each month. Typically, tenants are responsible for making minor repairs, such as changing light bulbs and taking general care of the property. Landlords, on the other hand, are in charge of making major repairs, such as addressing leaky faucets, faulty wiring, and other more substantial issues.
Landlords should make major repairs in a timely and effective manner and replace any inoperable or defective appliances (such as the water heater or dryer). When landlords fail to meet their obligations to properly keep up the properties and address tenants’ concerns, they may be legally liable for the damages they cause. Housing lawyers can help tenants determine if they are the victim of slumlord housing in LA and pursue compensation for what they have gone through.
How Do You Know If a Property Is Slum Housing?
California law requires landlords to upkeep properties and ensure they are habitable and tenantable. The landlord may be legally liable if a building or unit fails to meet the legal requirements.
Slum housing can apply to a variety of conditions that a landlord is responsible for addressing. Under California law, a property or unit may be slum housing if it does not have the following:
• Weather protection or waterproofing;
• Plumbing, heating, electrical wiring, and air conditioning that meets the regulations in effect when it was first installed and remains operable;
• Hot and cold running water that the tenant can control; and
• Walls, floors, stairs, and other structures in safe and good working order.
Other conditions may also qualify a property as slum housing. Things like cockroach or other bug infestations, lack of running water or hot water, serious plumbing issues, and other unsanitary conditions are a hazard to the health of you and your family. A tenant’s rights attorney in Los Angeles can help – learn more on our site and reach out for a free case review.
How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Slum Housing Legal Claim?
The “implied warranty of habitability” is part of every residential lease whether you rent a house in South Central, a home in Oakland, or an apartment in San Francisco.
The law mandates that every landlord take steps to meet basic minimum standards of health and safety from the time the tenant moves into their rental home to the day they move out.
If your rental unit has any of the following defects, you may have a valid claim against your landlord:
• Cockroach, bedbug, or rodent infestation
• No running water, or a lack of hot water
• No heat due to broken or missing furnace or heater
• Plumbing or water leaks of any kind
• Scalding hot water from showers, bathtubs, and kitchen faucets
• Deteriorated ceilings and walls
• Peeling or deteriorated lead-based paint
• Sewage leaks
• Mold or damp living conditions
• Broken or clogged up sinks
• Holes in the walls
• Broken or damaged windows or doors
• Defective stairs or railings
• Defective electrical outlets or wiring
• Unclean or unsanitary common areas
• Overflowing trash bins
Can I Be Evicted for Complaining to or Suing My Landlord?
Absolutely not. No landlord is allowed to trample on or ignore your rights. A landlord cannot retaliate against a tenant for asking for repairs, mobilizing other tenants in an apartment building to ask for repairs, complaining to the housing or health department, or taking steps to sue a landlord.
This is where we come in. Riley | Ersoff LLP is the most trusted and the most successful law firm in California when it comes to making landlords pay for their negligent and abusive conduct. Unlike most housing lawyers, we love suing landlords.
Suing landlords is what we do, and we do it better than anyone. We’ve recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of tenants who have been forgotten and harmed by slumlords. Call us. We are here to help.
How Can an Attorney Help?
If you are living in a slum housing environment, it can be exhausting and overwhelming. The thought of filing a legal claim against your landlord may sound intimidating, but a slum housing lawyer in Los Angeles can help you and your loved ones reclaim your agency and advocate for your best interests.
Services That an Attorney Provides
An attorney can help protect you against illegal practices that landlords use to keep tenants quiet, like threatening to evict them. You deserve better than to live in slum housing and to be subjected to intimidation tactics to keep you and your family living in fear. A tenant lawyer in Los Angeles provides the following vital services to people living in slum housing:
• Performs legal research to determine the tenant’s legal rights,
• Investigates the legal claim to determine what occurred,
• Takes steps to help protect the tenant against retaliatory actions,
• Files a legal claim on behalf of the tenant,
• Writes demand letters to pressure the landlord to cease engaging in illegal practices,
• Negotiates fair settlement on behalf of tenants, and
• Communicates with the landlord on behalf of the tenant.
These are just some ways an attorney can help alleviate your burden and create a path for you and your family to secure safe housing and fair compensation. The most important role of a tenant attorney is to serve as an advocate and give tenants peace of mind in knowing that someone is on their side, fighting for them.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
A tenant’s rights attorney in Los Angeles can help ensure you have a valid case and that your claim will hold up under stern review. Unlike the slumlords, your attorney fights for you. With Riley | Ersoff LLP, you’ll be able to explain your case and talk to a housing lawyer at no cost. If the tenant attorney takes your case, they’ll walk you through the process and handle any negotiations along the way. They’ll also take your case to trial if that is the best course of action. So if you’re seeking an accomplished lawyer that sues landlords, look no further and call us today for a no-obligation consultation.
CONTACT THE TOP LOS ANGELES TENANT LAWYERS TODAY
If you believe your apartment or rental home may be uninhabitable, you should contact a qualified tenant’s rights attorney to discuss your legal options.
The tenant’s rights attorneys at Riley | Ersoff LLP have represented hundreds of tenants and achieved millions of dollars in damages awards. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success and will fight aggressively to protect your rights throughout the entire process.
Below are some examples of the victories our lawyers at Riley | Ersoff LLP, have achieved for our clients:
- $3,600,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING AND LEAD POISONING
- $2,750,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING
- $1,750,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING
- $1,450,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING
- $850,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING
- $800,000.00 IN DAMAGES FROM SLUM HOUSING
If you believe your apartment or rental home is uninhabitable or if you have been subject to slum housing conditions, don’t continue to suffer. Contact an attorney at the Riley | Ersoff LLP today. We provide free consultations to answer any questions you may have and to help you determine your legal rights and options. Call our offices or fill out a form online today!
Community Led Approaches to Combating Slum Housing in California
In California, several community-led approaches have been utilized to address slum housing conditions. Here are some examples:
- Tenant organizing and advocacy: Community organizations and tenant unions play a crucial role in empowering residents and advocating for their rights. They provide support and resources to tenants living in slum housing, helping them organize, raise awareness about their living conditions, and collectively demand improvements. These organizations often collaborate with legal aid groups to assist tenants facing eviction or housing-related legal issues. See example here.
- Community land trusts: Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations that acquire and hold land for the benefit of the community. CLTs can acquire blighted or vacant properties in slum areas, rehabilitate them, and provide affordable housing options. By involving community members in the decision-making process and ensuring long-term affordability, CLTs contribute to sustainable housing solutions. See example here.
- Tenant cooperatives: Tenant cooperatives involve residents collectively owning and managing their housing units. In slum areas, residents can form cooperatives to acquire and rehabilitate their buildings, transforming them into safe and habitable housing. Cooperatives provide residents with greater control over their living conditions, affordability, and decision-making processes. See example here.
- Community development corporations: Community development corporations (CDCs) are nonprofit organizations focused on revitalizing low-income communities. CDCs in California work towards creating affordable housing, organizing community resources, and providing housing counseling services. They often partner with local governments, private entities, and community members to develop comprehensive strategies for slum housing improvement. See example here.
- California Tenants Guide
- Fair Housing: Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department
- Phyllis W. Cheng, California Fair Housing and Public Accommodations, § 1:1, 2, 6, 7, 9 (December 2018)
- Lead Poisoning: Mayo Clinic
- California Code of Regulations: Lead-Based Paint Hazards
- Daniel J. Penovsky, Childhood Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Litigation. 66 Am Jur Trials 47 (1998).
- California Civil Code Section 1941.1-1941.5