Broken Gate - does the landlord need to fix it?

girl_who_rentsJuly 5, 2007


I am renting a small house in Southern California. The house was origanally for sale when I moved in with a month to month lease. Since the real estate market has changed a bit, the owners decided to take the house off of the market and let it just be a rental property for now.

I mention this as the house was not really 'rent' ready. I had to clean and paint myself (which they reimbursed me for) but my question is in regards to the the back gate.

It is broken and is falling off of it's hinges. You can barely open or close it. I mentioned this to the property manager and he told me that the owner does not want to fix it and that I should just avoid using it. Well, my question is: it is a gate and is part of the property to be used as a gate, shouldn't it be functioning? Isn't that the landlord's responsiblilty??

Thanks so much for your opinions and responses!

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I think, as a month-to-month renter, if in fact that gate is not something vital to your use of the property (i.e. the only protection you have against intruders - not likely, or the only way to get to work) it shouldn't concern you. It is the property of the landlord and not directly a part of your living quarters as such, and while it would have to be fixed I think if you were to buy the place, you did rent with the problem in place and may just have to live with it even if it looks tacky.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 6:21PM
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What surprises me about your post is that you moved into a place with a month to month agreement knowing that it was up for sale and that you may be ordered to move with only 28 days notice when the sale goes through. On top of all of that you put in your own time and hard work improving the place for them to sell.

Now, regarding the back gate issue........depending on where you live, the broken gate may violate some property code ordinance. Where I live the city property inspectors drive around just looking for little things like that to harrass owners with. They get real picky about things like rust on gutters, peeling paint, leaning fences, and other nambly-pambly things. Maybe you could tip them off?

Also, I know that where I live one has a certain amount of time after they move in to report broken items. After that it is too late. It is understood that one may not know from doing the walk through, that the thermostat on the oven is broke and not accurate, or that the doorbell sticks on rainy days, or the latch on the gate is broken, so there is a grace period to report needed repairs that one may not have noticed. When did you first report the gate being broke? Is it a saftey issue? Can prowlers come into the yard and near your doors and windows because of this?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 8:26PM
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This is just strictly out of curiosity.................when you did the painting and stuff to the house when you moved in, are you like me and just like to paint so that is why you went to the effort? :)

That is a shame about the gate, I was wondering could you fix it and then deduct it from the rent? Perhaps you could ask the property manager about that. Seems like that is the norm around this area for house rentals.........the tenant does the repairs but the cost is deducted of the next months rent.

Best of luck

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 11:40AM
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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for your responses!

I actually got some solid information on this issue and I wanted to post in case it can be valuable for someone else.

Since the back gate is the ONLY entrance and exit to the back of the property (there is a garage with an electric door opener - but is not designed to be an entrance and exit to the property), the landlord / owner is responsible for fixing it.

According to Civil Code Sec. 1941.2 - in the state of California - that landlord is responsible for a dilapidation and that is what this gate is (not to mention a safety issue)!

I am so happy! The gate is getting fixed now! It is good to know your rights, huh?

Thanks again for your help!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 11:48PM
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