In California, landlords have a duty to ensure that residences are “fit for human occupancy,” and that any necessary repairs are taken care of. Despite these laws, however, it is not uncommon for tenants to walk into an uninhabitable apartment for which they have already signed the contract and paid. If you find yourself in a situation like this, contact the landlord-tenant attorneys at Willoughby Brod and seek out the help you need to regain habitable living quarters.
What an Uninhabitable Residence Looks Like
Just because something is broken or malfunctioning in your apartment does not mean that it is uninhabitable. However, California law does assign a broad spectrum of responsibilities to landlords when it comes to ensuring that a property is habitable, including the following:
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls;
- Plumbing and gas facilities compliant with law in effect at the time of installation;
- A water supply compliant with applicable law that is capable of producing hot and cold running water;
- Heating facilities compliant with applicable law at the time of installation;
- Electrical lighting compliant with applicable law at the time of installation;
- Building, grounds, and appurtenances kept sanitary and free from debris and vermin at the time of rent or lease;
- An adequate number of receptacles for garbage;
- Well-maintained floors, stairways, and railings; and
- Locks conforming to code.
The law also requires landlords to ensure that all of the above are well-maintained for you and that any necessary repairs are taken care of, unless one of the following is true:
- You fail to keep the area of the property which you occupy clean and sanitary
- You fail to dispose of all garbage from your unit in the proper manner
- You fail to properly use all electrical, gas, and plumbing fixtures
- You fail to ensure that no one who enters the premise with your permission causes damage to any part of the unit or its facilities
- You fail to occupy the premise as it was designed to be used, with separate portions for living, sleeping, cooking, etc.
What to do if Your Residence is Uninhabitable
The first thing you should do if you determine your residence to be uninhabitable under California law is to contact your landlord and request repairs. If your landlord ignores your request or refuses to make the necessary repairs, you can order the repairs yourself and subtract the cost from your rent. Alternatively, you can also choose to vacate the premises and find somewhere else to live without being held accountable for your current contract. Remember, however, that landlords are typically given a 30-day grace period to make the necessary repairs. If you are dealing with a particularly uncooperative and unreasonable landlord, it can be helpful to hire an experienced landlord-tenant attorney to represent your rights.
Contact a Santa Rosa or San Francisco Landlord-Tenant Attorney Today
If you believe your residence may be uninhabitable under California law, contact an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer in San Francisco today to learn how you can be compensated for your injuries. The attorneys at Willoughby Brod have helped numerous San Francisco tenants obtain full recovery for their injuries from living in an uninhabitable residence. Contact us today at (800) 427-7020 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation.
(image courtesy of Scott Webb)