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Should I terminate lease or try to re-rent my unit?

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I am in CA, and currently renting a place from a sibling (my mistake #1), and it was for a year lease. The rent is market rate, so we didn't get any family discount or anything like that. We have a formal agreement in place. I ended up replacing some broken fixtures (they paid for them, I installed them), and we've been there for about six months. There have been some minor issues like the toilet running more than it should, but the biggest one is a roof leak. I have two young kids at home and the rainy season is upon us. The ceiling has a dark brown tarish looking spots and the landlord said there's a leak. The roof is supposed to be covered by the HOA, so the landlord put some plastic bins in the attic to catch water in the mean time. It's been over a month since we reported the issue and it hasn't been fixed yet, as they are waiting to see if the HOA will cover it. IMO they should fix it first, then seek reimbursement later, if that's something the HOA will even cover.

We are in the process of closing a home and I told the landlord I was intending to move out. The only response I got was an acknowledgement and that I was responsible for rent for the duration of the lease, if they can't find a renter in the meantime. Rents have been going down a bit in the area and it would be hard IMO for them to re-rent to someone else. They also hate the thought of strangers living in their home, hence renting the property to me, so I don't know how much effort they will put (I know they are required to put _some_ effort in order to charge me rent). I know I am liable for the rent per the contract, but they should also be liable for maintaining the property.

I was pretty shocked as we used to be close when we were younger, but I suppose money changes people. They already own the property and carrying costs are less than half of what I pay in rent. I tried calling the landlord but they are ignoring my calls. I got one of our parents involved to see if they can help diffuse the situation, but in case that doesn't work, what should I do?

I initially planned to try hard to re-rent the place, but given the landlord's response, they want to play hard ball, so I guess that's what I have to do. I was thinking about just terminating the lease due to the roof leak, then moving out and ending it there. Any further compensation they'd want we'd essentially go to small claims/court. Thoughts?

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rated:
I know it probably sounds like your relative is being a jerk by not fixing the roof, but I'm pretty sure that he probably can't just fix it if the HOA is responsible for the outside of the unit (painting, landscaping, roof, etc.). The HOA will want to control everything that is done to the outside. That said, your relative should be on the HOA like a june bug on a light bulb about this.

As to breaking the lease, you need to check your California civil codes but a quick Google brought this up: ~~All landlords are legally required to offer livable or habitable premises when they originally rent a unit in California, and to maintain it in that condition throughout the rental term. Sounds like you may have legal standing to move.

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Sibling = Landlord. Document the requests for fixing the leaking roof/check local laws and move out if the place is not habitable.

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MrSamsung said:   I am in CA, and currently renting a place from a sibling (my mistake #1), and it was for a year lease. The rent is market rate, so we didn't get any family discount or anything like that. We have a formal agreement in place. I ended up replacing some broken fixtures (they paid for them, I installed them), and we've been there for about six months. There have been some minor issues like the toilet running more than it should, but the biggest one is a roof leak. I have two young kids at home and the rainy season is upon us. The ceiling has a dark brown tarish looking spots and the landlord said there's a leak. The roof is supposed to be covered by the HOA, so the landlord put some plastic bins in the attic to catch water in the mean time. It's been over a month since we reported the issue and it hasn't been fixed yet, as they are waiting to see if the HOA will cover it. IMO they should fix it first, then seek reimbursement later, if that's something the HOA will even cover.

We are in the process of closing a home and I told the landlord I was intending to move out. The only response I got was an acknowledgement and that I was responsible for rent for the duration of the lease, if they can't find a renter in the meantime. Rents have been going down a bit in the area and it would be hard IMO for them to re-rent to someone else. They also hate the thought of strangers living in their home, hence renting the property to me, so I don't know how much effort they will put (I know they are required to put _some_ effort in order to charge me rent). I know I am liable for the rent per the contract, but they should also be liable for maintaining the property.

I was pretty shocked as we used to be close when we were younger, but I suppose money changes people. They already own the property and carrying costs are less than half of what I pay in rent. I tried calling the landlord but they are ignoring my calls. I got one of our parents involved to see if they can help diffuse the situation, but in case that doesn't work, what should I do?

I initially planned to try hard to re-rent the place, but given the landlord's response, they want to play hard ball, so I guess that's what I have to do. I was thinking about just terminating the lease due to the roof leak, then moving out and ending it there. Any further compensation they'd want we'd essentially go to small claims/court. Thoughts?

  General advice:
Treat your LL and deal with him/her professionally as you would with any LL (as if they were not your sibling). It may not be easy but please do. Dont mix family interaction with LL interaction --- you are dealing with the same person but he is wearing two hats. For example, things like "They already own the property and carrying costs are less than half of what I pay in rent" is irrelevant. By the same token, dont get your parents involved to "diffuse the situation".

Make sure the leak issue is documented in writing --- your complaint, LL response, dates etc. Has it actually leaked now or is it just that it would leak when it rains? Without an actual leak, it would be hard to justify breaking a lease.

When there is an actual leak, I believe this could be a habitability issue depending on the nature/level of leak.

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Your sibling set the tone / precedent by staing you'll owe them the remainder of the lease if they can't re-rent it.
Yeah I agree with the others. You've got cause to terminate the lease due to habitability. I wouldn't pay them anything as far as rent after you move out.


But... how is this going to play out in your family? If you refuse to pay your sibling the rent then will this cause problems with other family members? Can / should your parents mediate?

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jerosen said:   Your sibling set the tone / precedent by staing you'll owe them the remainder of the lease if they can't re-rent it.
Yeah I agree with the others. You've got cause to terminate the lease due to habitability. I wouldn't pay them anything as far as rent after you move out.


But... how is this going to play out in your family? If you refuse to pay your sibling the rent then will this cause problems with other family members? Can / should your parents mediate?

There are a bunch of other issues with the place, but the roof leak is the biggest one. The kitchen sink lets out a noxious smell, the toilet runs constantly, the neighbors play loud music until 10-11pm (they apparently knew about this, and didn't tell me until I moved all my stuff in). The ceiling hasn't actually dripped water, but gets cold/wet during the rain and has a tar-like substance on the surface. My son and I are both highly allergic to things and don't want to risk it.

I couldn't sleep last night because I feel like I will no longer talk to this sibling ever again. I honestly never thought this would happen, but here we are. I felt very sick to my stomach because I did so much work to help them out (fixing a bunch of minor things at our current place, and even their place since they live close), and they want to play hard ball now. I'm really hoping this is just a temporary thing and they will get over it, but I do want to protect myself and my family.

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Your sibling ever see what a Mold restoration does to a home? Have HOA Call for a inspection. Maybe get it for yourself if health issues

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OP drop every tick-tack issue like the toilet, the fixtures you installed, etc. and focus only on the safety/health issue that is the roof leak. Bringing up a laundry list of small things doesn't make your argument better; it makes it weaker.

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Agreed. I will be taking more pictures of the ceiling tonight. It's raining this weekend, and I have no doubts it will get worse. I've given them over a month to resolve this, which is more than a reasonable amount of time. I may end up getting a mold inspection done depending on how bad it gets. We all got sick a couple of weeks ago. Not sure if it was due to the ceiling or what, but it was a heck of a coincidence.

rated:
Yea the storm this weekend will be a big one. You'll be able to get some good photos then. Document and communicate via text or email so you have records.

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