Can I refuse to pay rent and still get my deposit back if I have been given a 60 day notice to vacate a property due to it being an illegal unit?

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Can I refuse to pay rent and still get my deposit back if I have been given a 60 day notice to vacate a property due to it being an illegal unit?

I have been living in a “granny flat” located on the lower level of a 2-story house for about 1 year now. When I moved in, everything seemed legit and I have seperate entrance to my house and I am only connected to the people upstairs by a floor/celing relationship. I come home the other day to a 60-day notice to move out for the reason of “city requirements”. I am confused because I always pay my rent on time and after some research come to find out this unit is illegal. However, the landlord has been renting it out for 15 years. I never would have moved here if I knew.

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I would check with an attorney in your area as to the law.  In some states - like New York - the home must be a multiple dwelling in order for the tenant to be able to stop paying rent on an illegal apartment.  Good luck.


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