I am active duty military, just moved to SoCal. We rented a place mostly sight unseen due to time and distance constraints. The house is great and the land lord is some what attentive. However, many things he says are outside of this budget. The toilets continuously run (he pays for water), the sinks get clogged extremely easy (not allowing for easy daily cleaning), the a/c unit doesn't cool/heat the upstairs (the two bedrooms upstairs are at the whim of the daily heat). He has installed a portable a/c in my daughter's room to regulate the heat so she can sleep. However, the other room and bathroom still run approx 80+ degrees during the day. At night, we hear mice or other vermin in the walls. This causes my dog to be extremely restless and constantly barking at the walls when the vermin are active. In addition, there is evidence of water intrusion and water damage throughout the house. This, coupled with a lingering smell, leads us to believe there may be a mold issue.
Bottom line, is this: Do I have any way to get these issues corrected expeditiously. If he can't afford to fix the issues, do I have a case to negotiate a new rental rate as many claimed amenities are not up to par for the rental price. As a rental owner myself, I would not allow for this in my property.
Any recommendations would be very helpful.
Ask to be released from the lease. Unfortunately taking the unit sight unseen places you in a position without leverage. Basically agreed to take it as is.
You could try to free up the drains yourself, heat and cool are probably within code, Try to get in the attic space and set some rat poison.
Wait till the lease is up and move.
I don't know about the rest of the stuff,
but here's a heads up if they "demouse the house".
The carcasses and dying rodents will probably be full of poison (they typically eat a bait) and if your dogs get out and eat one of them or the bait, it's bye bye doggy.
They have commercial bait boxes that are supposed to hold the dead rodents, but not everyone uses those.
Good Luck with solving these problems!
Check with your local building department to get a handle on what are the municipality's mandatory repairs and responsibilites of the property owner.
If it is a single family house, the mice / pest control MIGHT be on you, depending on what the lease says. Then check with your landlord tenant laws--you might be able to use part of your rent to do the repairs the owner chooses not to do and have that amount credited to your rent. BUT, do not do that unless/until you have documentation that it is proper to do so, and you have informed the owner of the property.
Most of these things you won't be able to force him to fix..... the issues sucks but its not a code or safety/habitability issue.
Pests....depends on your lease and time frame. Certain leases state that the landlord only covers pest control for the first 30-60 days etc and then its on the tenants, since by that time they are likely the reason why the pests are there....i.e they attract pests due to hygiene etc.
HVAC...... that level is not a code issue, so you wont be able to force anything. Depending on the building, layout and system, sometimes those issues are hard to combat no mater what.
Running toilets....annoying but cant force a fix...... often easy DIY fix
Sinks not draining...... pull the trap and clean them out...pretty easy to do yourself....if you are lucky, then that will fix you issue....if not its further downstream and you will need a plumber.
Water intrusion......best you can do is frame the conversation around the fact that the issue is destroying his property and investment and it's going to cost him more $$ in the long run if he doesn't deal with it now....appeal to his desire to make $$ on this place.....
Sucks but sometimes you have to just band aid the issue as best you can and/or fix them yourself until your lease is up and you move. Landlords will rarely negotiate a lower rent due to these issues.....
While it sucks, the toilet and sink are something you can easily fix and won't cost much. For the mice, put out some mouse traps, but you will need to check them. Depending on how water is getting in, check to see gutters are clean and the downspout drains away from the house.
If you aren't on a lease, look to find a new place to live.
call your local magistrate or official that handles evictions. Ask if you can make the repairs and deduct these from the rent owed. You can do this in my area. Confirm with the magistrate or a local attorney and keep receipts if they say you can do this.
In my area, tenants can pay their rent to the city or county (can't remember) if the landlord isn't maintaining the proper living standards in their property. The agency will hold it in escrow until the landlord can show that they've fixed the issues. Slow sinks and toilet issues likely won't be a good enough justification to put rents in escrow, but water intrusion and pest issues might be.
So like @John Underwood said, check with the right people to see if you can do something like that to put some pressure on the landlord. Just be sure to track everything and do it by the book.