Your Rental House or Apartment: Is it up to Code?
At the Legal Service Center, we use the power of the law to protect tenants who are dealing with habitability or tenantability issues.
The Supreme Court of California has recognized that every tenancy has an implied warranty of habitability. The warranty of habitability requires that landlords maintain a rental property in a condition that is fit for human occupancy. Landlords are responsible for complying with building and housing code standards which materially affect health and safety. California has identified standard characteristics that are required for a rental unit.
Habitability / Tenantability
Is the rental property that you are living in suitable to be lived in by human beings according to California law? — Does the property lack waterproofing, proper heating, or safe tenant conditions according to the California Civil Code?
Landlords are responsible – for maintaining habitable living conditions in their rental properties. According to California law, landlords are responsible for making repairs to the property that could otherwise affect the health or safety of tenants. In short, rental properties must be habitable, and it is the landlord’s duty to maintain it.
If you are a tenant and you think that the property you are renting is unlivable according to the building or health and safety codes, please call us at (855) 775-5400 to make an appointment.
The Law Protects Tenants
California law requires that owners of rental properties provide their tenants with a healthy and safe home (regardless of whether it is an apartment, house, or even a converted garage unit).
Unfortunately, some landlords simply take your rent money without maintaining their rentals in a safe and habitable condition. Their properties are unsafe, unclean, not “habitable,” and the tenants find themselves at the mercy of a “slumlord” who refuses to make necessary repairs despite repeated complaints.
Families and Children Who Suffer in Slum Conditions
If you or your loved ones including innocent children are forced to live with mice, rats, cockroaches, spiders, lack of heat, no hot water, broken windows, peeling paint, lead paint, roof leaks, rainwater leaks, plumbing leaks, mold, holes in walls and ceilings – you need help.
Unhealthy and unsafe living conditions – can and do affect a families’ emotional physical health. Family members who live in cold, drafty premises, with no heat, hot water, toxic mold, and subject to vermin and insect infestations experience symptoms such as colds, flus, infections, weakened immune systems, asthma, skin rashes and other serious health problems.
What Makes a Rental Unit Uninhabitable?
There are many factors that make rental property uninhabitable according to the California Civil Codes 1941 and 1941.1. The following are some examples of what may classify a house, apartment, or other rental property as uninhabitable:
- Leaking roof, rainwater, moisture
- Leaking non-weather-tight windows & doors
- Broken or faulty heating
- Problems with gas supply
- Broken or faulty plumbing
- Inadequate hot water
- Absence of toilet, shower, and/or bathtub
- Problems with electricity / electrical wiring
- Absence of working smoke detectors
- Failure to maintain sanitary buildings
- Rats, Mice, Rodents, roaches.
- Mold & Toxic Mold
- Absence of adequate trash containers
- Absence of deadbolt locks on main entrance door
- Absence of locks on each window
- Many more
Obviously, the tenant also has responsibilities as a renter, which include: proper use of gas, electrical, and plumbing fixtures, keeping your home or apartment clean and sanitary, proper disposal of trash, proper maintenance when you break or damage the property. If, however the properties deficiencies are the responsibility of the landlord; out of your control and you find yourself living in a rental unit that is uninhabitable, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your landlord to recover damages.
A Strong Defense Against Eviction Actions
If you have received a 3-Day Notice to vacate, an uninhabitable unit could be used as strong defense to counter an eviction action. Legal Service Center is experienced in finding strong legal defenses to defend eviction proceedings when there are serious habitability issues.
To make an appointment with the Legal Service Center, call (855) 775-5400. Whether you are dealing with a landlord who fails to maintain habitable property; fails to meet housing or apartment maintenance requirements, or is attempting to evict you though you suffer in deplorable living conditions, we can help.