Moved into an apartment in Santa Monica, California, signed lease, buy new mattress and place it on floor. Buy new bed frame a week later and lift mattress to find termites burrowing into mattress and moving in and out back into the floor. I decided to vacate and took photos and provided evidence. I was only in the property for 10 days by the time I left.
The landlord claimed to dispute this claim as upon "inspection" couldn't find the issue till I provided photos.
They said they would give me full deposit back and let me out of lease as an "informal settlement".
I moved the rest of my things out and left the infested mattress which I told them would be the case. No issues raised. I left a cabinet and told them I can collect it. No response on that. I've cooperated on every account.
Then I said I would accept the informal offer if they also included compensation for the new mattress worth $249. They did not respond for a while. I asked again.
They rejected the "counter offer" and are now telling me they will provide "final accounting", which sounds like they are going to try take from my security deposit.
What I Know
Now I'm not lawyer, but I've done my home work:
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/landlords-obligations-termites-48037.html and other sources suggest that this is a health and safety issue in California and that they are indeed breaking the law. It would also seem they should have informed me of infestations if they knew about them, and also if they didn't then their inspections aren't good enough. They also told me they'd send the "maintenance guy" around to spray for termite. I'm also aware this needs to be handled by a professional in pests.
What I'd Like To Know
- Can they try to claim damages and deduct from my deposit?
- Am I at all in the wrong here?
- Am I able to claim compensation for the mattress?
- What about the damages to my business due to the time wasted dealing with this?
- What about personal expenses and damages? I'm now homeless and it's costing me money and time.
- Have they got any leg to stand on here? Or are they out of order to try claim damages?
- Is it illegal for them to try lease the place out knowing there is an issue without getting a professional in?
- The place is technically uninhabitable, surely this trumps all?
- Offering an informal settlement, then revoking it seems rather brash, is this poor conduct?
I'd appreciate any advice on this as I am a foreigner and still getting to grips with my rights here.