By Kurtis Ming

NORTH HIGHLANDS (CBS13) – A couple says the amenities promised in the ad for Sierra Village Apartments in North Highlands included two pools and a gym.

“I was like that’s nice, two pools, a gym,” Tracy Holmes remembers thinking before moving in.

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Now, the pool closest to their apartment is now filled in with dirt. The gym recently closed for maintenance and the basketball court has a broken backboard with shattered glass on the ground.

“All of our amenities are closed,” said Holmes.

Holmes and her girlfriend Brittany Welch-Reed are unhappy with the response they’re getting from management.

“They just act like you’re some bummy resident they don’t have to listen to,” said Welch-Reed.

So what can they do?

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Read the California Tenant Guide here

California law allows tenants to withhold rent if a problem threatens your health or safety like plumbing blockages; lack of any heat, or continued presence of rats, mice, and cockroaches. However, this only applies if you didn’t cause the problem, and after giving the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix it.  But closed swimming pools, gyms or basketball courts are not specifically listed as reasons to withhold rent.

Sacramento Real Estate Attorney Mitch Abdallah says the complex has a duty to repair the items. He says if renters don’t have access to amenities like a pool that was promised when moving in, it’s violating a contract and they should get a discount or be able to break their lease.

But the apartment complex sees it differently, “This is something the owner provides, free of charge to the residents but can sometimes be closed when there are safety concerns as in any community,” manager Tasha Galindo said in an email. “We strive to fix issues as immediately as possible however, not all vendors can accommodate an immediate response.”

We looked at the lease, it doesn’t explicitly promise any amenities but does list rules if people use them.

Management said the second pool was filled with dirt, “as it was not being utilized efficiently.  In effort [sic] to be more green, we are conserving water and electricity.  We are in the planning stages of making this a family gathering area.  Our new advertisements do indicate a single pool/spa.”

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After we got involved, the gym reopened, the basketball court was cleaned up with a new backboard, and they assured us the remaining pool will re-open during the warm season.  Before moving in, you may want to ask what would happen to your rent if certain amenities are shut down during your lease.