WHAT IS HABITABILITY?

California Civil Code Sections 1941 and 1942 define a landlord’s responsibilities for repairs. Section 1941.1 requires landlords to provide the following:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection of the roof and outside walls, and unbroken doors and windows.
  • Plumbing, electricity, and gas facilities in good working order.
  • A reasonable amount of hot and cold running water, and a sewage disposal system.
  • Adequate and safe heating facilities.
  • Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conforms to the applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
  • Floors, stairways and railing, maintained in good repair.
  • An adequate number of containers for garbage and rubbish.
  • Buildings and grounds which are free of rubbish, garbage, rodents, and other pests.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I RENTED A UNIT THAT I WAS TOLD INCLUDES SWIMMING POOL FACILITIES, BUT HAVE FOUND THAT THE POOL IS UNDER REPAIR OR IS OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE?

Even though items such as pools and laundry facilities are not considered a habitability issue, they are considered amenities, if the landlord/manager promised they would be available then they are required to maintain them in a good working condition. Remind your landlord of their promise if you find that such amenities are not in working order once you move in.

AM I ENTITLED TO HEAT?

Heat is a habitability issue and you are entitled to heat when it gets cold. Speak with your landlord if you feel the habitability of your unit is not being adequately addressed.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE IF MY APARTMENT IS VANDALIZED OR BROKEN INTO?

If the unit is secured with locks, (i.e.: dead bolts on doors and locking devices on windows), your landlord has met his/her obligations for security. Therefore you are responsible for covering the damages incurred at a break-in. Most leases require renter’s insurance to cover the expenses of vandalism or a break-in.

WHAT CAN I DO IF WHEN I GO TO MOVE-IN AND THE PLACE IS NOT IN GOOD CONDITION?

If the rental does not meet your satisfaction do not move-in. Once you turn that key, set your stuff down and start sleeping there, you have accepted the rental “as is”. The Community Housing Office recommends that you call your landlord immediately and return the key if necessary to get your needs met. Once you accept the unit “as is” your landlord has little incentive to fix things or make changes.