How to shave a bit off your rent

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Photo by AlishaV/ Flickr/ CreativeCommons

Photo by AlishaV/ Flickr/ CreativeCommons

Do you deserve restitution for the broken elevator in your apartment building that has forced you to take the stairs?  According to Los Angeles Housing Department, you might.

Since 1982, a four-page document entitled “Reduction in Housing Services” has been buried deep within the LAHD’s records, and it might offer some slight relief to renters in our troubled economy – if you are lucky and specific.

For example, if your elevator has been broken for a while, you may be legally entitled to a rent reduction of (approximately) $50 to $100 dollars each month. Did the landscapers stop showing up to mow the lawn outside your building? That may save you $10 to $20 bucks. Had your storage space reduced? Save up to $380 dollars per month.

Under a subsection of a subsection, the document outlines numerous conditions under which a tenant may ask their landlord for a reduction in their monthly rental price. It covers services from air conditioning, to laundry, to the lack of an on-site property manager.

Section 410.03 reads, “A tenant rents an apartment with the appurtenant housing services available at the time of renting the apartment. Landlords who reduce housing services without a corresponding reduction in rent effectuate an increase in rent.”

In essence, this little known document says that, if you were promised a specific housing service upon signing your lease, only to have that service revoked, you get to pay less rent. It’s simple in theory, but probably more difficult in practice. But it never hurts to ask, so below are the specific cases that may qualify.

  • A/C $50-100
  • Clothes Dryer/Washer-coin $20
  • Clothes Dryer/Washer-unit $30-50
  • Door screens $10-20
  • Elevator service $50-100
  • Furnishings (for a furnished unit only) $200-500
  • Gardening/Landscape $10-20
  • Gates/Fences (security) $10-20
  • Kitchen facilities $200-400
  • Mailbox $20-30
  • Manager (on-site) $20-30
  • Parking $60-200
  • Pool $10-50
  • Fitness Center $10-65
  • Recreational Facilities $10-20
  • Refrigerator $80-100
  • Storage $60-380
  • Sun shades (porch/balcony) $2-5
  • Yards, Patios, Balconies or Play Areas $10-120