California law requires you to wait a "reasonable" amount of time after sending your landlord repair request before taking matters into your own hands. Although that's a pretty typical legal term, it's frustratingly vague as a renter trying to get something fixed.
If you’re dealing with an emergency—like a hole in your apartment roof when rain is on the forecast, or a broken lock on your front door—then a reasonable amount of time to wait for a repair is probably closer to 24 hours.
For anything less pressing, your best bet is to wait 30 days before you hire a contractor yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. State law says that's often considered a reasonable amount of time.
This lengthy time frame is why it's so important for you to use certified mail when you send your landlord a written request for repairs. It creates a clear start date for the 30-day period—and your landlord won't be able to claim that they never saw the request.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.