Sometimes, enough is enough. We've been contacting our landlord about a laundry list of issues with both our own unit and the overall structural integrity of our building for months on end. Phone calls and hand written letters have gone ignored. We've reached a breaking point after hearing from a friend that our landlord has been too busy to address tenants' issues because he's been preoccupied attending Sotheby's art and jewelry auctions. All the while, right outside our window, a large roof trim beam is about to fall off from negligence, complete with threatening exposed rusty nails.
The Los Angeles Housing Department Code Enforcement Division is specifically setup to aid renters with issues of substandard and unsanitary conditions in residential buildings and dwelling units that render living conditions into an unfit or unsafe state for human occupancy and habitation. In other words, they'll get your landlord's ass in gear.
We've used their online Property Violation Report feature before (our management saw it fit to leave construction supplies, trash and an empty refrigerator surrounding our units for months on end), and it worked like a charm. A week after submitting the complaint, our landlord had to clean up the dangerous mess, or face hefty fines. Sometimes push comes to shove, because I don't want myself or any of my neighbors with a 4'beam falling on our heads. The violation report system is extremely easy, and your complaints remain anonymous (you can also call the Code Enforcement Complaint Line weekdays between 9:00 am-4:00 pm at (866) 557-RENT):
There is no fee for filing a complaint. You cannot be evicted for filing a complaint. Complaints by phone can be left anonymously but must include the property address, unit number (if the violation exists inside the unit), nature of the complaint and a contact phone number for the inspector to arrange to meet you for an inspection.
If you reside in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, call (877) 966-CODE to file a code complaint, as the County, like incorporated cities such as Burbank, Inglewood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and the City of West Hollywood, have their own code enforcement agencies. Please see the White Pages in your local phone book under City or County Government Offices for your Department of Building & Safety or Public Works.