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When Does a Tenant Need a Lawyer?

As a tenant in San Francisco, you have certain rights, and your landlord has certain duties and responsibilities. While it is possible that throughout your rental history an issue will pop up between you and one of your landlords that makes living at your current place uncomfortable, invoking the help of a lawyer is not always necessary. Indeed, the majority of landlord-tenant issues are minor enough to be settled with a conversation, and perhaps some amicable negotiation.

In some cases, though, a tenant should think seriously about hiring a tenant lawyer knowledgeable in San Francisco landlord-tenant law. You may need a lawyer when:

Your Landlord Is Refusing to Make Repairs

Your right to live in habitable conditions is protected by San Francisco Housing Code, San Francisco Health Code, and California Civil Code. In order to ensure that a home is habitable, a landlord is required to ensure that the premises is outfitted with adequate weatherproofing, a safe source of heat, running water (hot and cold), maintained stairways, and more, including ensuring that the property is generally free of rodents and other pests.

If you notice something in your rental unit that is in need of repair, you have the right to request that your landlord fix it. If repairs are not made, you should speak with an attorney, especially if the issue is dangerous.

You Believe You’re Being Discriminated Against

It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against you on the basis of a number of characteristics, including your race, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, ancestry, or other characteristics that are not directly related to your responsibilities as a tenant. If a landlord refuses to rent to you, harasses you, cancels your rental agreement, or takes any other number of actions based on a characteristic of yours, you may have a discrimination case, and should speak with an attorney.

You’re Being Evicted

If you are being evicted and believe that the eviction is unlawful, consulting with an attorney can protect your rights. If you are covered under rent control in San Francisco, a legitimate reason for eviction is limited to just 16 different causes. Even then, an eviction must follow a legal procedure, which includes an eviction notice.

You’ve Suffered Personal Injury or Illness

If you have suffered a personal injury or illness by virtue of something within your rental unit or on the rental property, you may have a civil claim against the landlord if the accident/injury/illness would not have occurred but for landlord negligence. For example, if you suffer a burn injury from an outlet that is defective in your unit, and the landlord knew of the defect but failed to repair it within a reasonable amount of time, they could be liable for damages.

Contact Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C. Today

At Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., we have been protecting tenants’ rights throughout San Francisco for years, and have successfully handled many landlord-tenant issues, including those involving a lack of heat, mold, discrimination, harassment, wrongful eviction, and more. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 415-835-6777, or send us a message online.

Landlord-Tenant Law