Given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it’s probable that many of the amenities in your apartment building are temporarily unavailable. You’re not wrong for hoping to obtain a rebate for the amenities you’re unable to use while you’re quarantined, but you may not be entitled to it.
Read on to learn whether you can obtain money back for the amenities you’re unable to use while the country experiences the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check Your Lease Agreement
It’s common for lessors to write a provision in their lease agreements that states renters are unable to recover funds for any duration of time in which the amenities are closed for any given reason.
So, for example, if the pool and jacuzzi at your apartment complex are closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll most likely be unable to recover any portion of your rent due to the closures.
In order to learn whether your building owner will cover portions of your rent due to amenity closures, you should check the “Services and Facilities” section of your lease.
If there is a provision written into your lease, it may read something along the lines of, “All facilities provided by Owner are provided as a gratuity and are not a part of the Residential Lease Contract, and that Owner reserves the right to change or limit the hours of any such facilities, or to eliminate them completely without prior notice to Residents and that any such action by Owner shall not constitute a claim by Residents of any breach of Residential Lease Contract by Owner, nor be a basis for any reduction in rent or early termination of the Residential Lease Contract.”
Basically, what that means is, you are not entitled to a rent reduction if the amenities are closed for any reason. This is allowed because there are no laws in California that state otherwise.
Even though you may pay a higher price than some of the neighboring apartment building tenants because your building has a pool and a jacuzzi and the others don’t, you aren’t automatically entitled to a rent reduction if the pool and jacuzzi don’t work. If your lease agreement doesn’t specifically state that you are paying extra for certain amenities, you cannot get a rent reduction for those amenities.
You Can Still Try
Your landlord may grant you the reduction you seek if you can build a strong argument for it. Your argument will be especially strong if you’re able to prove that your rent is a great deal higher than that for similar apartments in the area that are in buildings that don’t have the same amenities.
If you’re a Bay Area renter who has been unlawfully evicted, discriminated against, or harassed, our attorneys at Tenant Law Group are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office for a case evaluation right away.
Call our San Francisco attorneys today at (415) 915-7445 to speak with an accomplished attorney about your case.