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Tenant urged to sue negligent landlord over 'unsafe and hazardous' living conditions: 'I was in danger this whole time'

"I'm worried … "

Gas leak in apartment

Photo Credit: iStock

A renter in San Francisco posted on Reddit after experiencing a nightmare scenario: a gas leak in their apartment that they say their landlord told them to ignore.

As the California Department of Real Estate explains, landlords are responsible for maintaining safe and livable conditions in their properties, including repairing gas leaks. If a landlord fails to meet that standard, a tenant could arrange repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent, or even sue the landlord for any damages.

Yet many landlords choose to ignore or downplay dangerous gas leaks, which is what this Redditor says their landlord did for several months.

The user says that the problem began more than a year before their post. "We started smelling a faint gas smell in our apartment," the Redditor said. "We let our landlord know, and his repair guy came by, couldn't smell the gas or identify a leak, and then left."

Even when a later visit turned up a leaky valve, the landlord told the tenant it was no big deal because the leak was too small to be dangerous.

That was why the tenant didn't want to make a fuss when they kept smelling gas after the valve was replaced. "We notified him again intermittently and he would come by, not notice a smell, and then leave, telling us not to worry about it."

The Redditor says the issue came to a head when they left on vacation and came back to an overpowering gas smell. A professional from their gas company declared the heater "unsafe and hazardous" and cut off the fuel to it.

Despite the obvious danger, the landlord's response was still lackluster. "We have notified the landlord of [the gas company's] notice and he said 'I will wait for them to reach out,''' the Redditor said.

Looking back, the Redditor says they feel stupid. "Now I'm wondering if the headaches and fatigue I was attributing to allergies were actually due to the gas. I'm worried that I was in danger this whole time, and he didn't take our concerns seriously." That's a real possibility given the serious health risks of gas exposure — not to mention its impact on the environment

One potential way to avoid these risks is by switching to electric appliances, including more energy-efficient systems like induction cooktops, heat pumps, and even an electric vehicle, which can save you money while also serving as a better choice for our planet. But since that's not a financial possibility for everyone, there are also ways to keep yourself safe while dealing with gas appliances. 

Redditors sounded off in the comments about the neglectful landlord. 

"Um, yeah, the headaches, nausea, fatigue were you being poisoned," said one commenter.

Another user said, "You can sue the f**k out of your LL for letting you reside in an unsafe environment."

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