Written by attorney Jingming Cai

When Is A Rental Unit In California Uninhabitable?

California law requires that landlords deliver habitable rental units to each tenant and repair any problems that make a unit unfit to live in during the lease. Rental units must also substantially comply with any standards of building and housing codes that might materially affect the health or safety of a tenant.

What makes a rental unit unfit to live in? Here are some conditions which could make a rental unit unlivable and require landlord repair.

Lead hazards

Structural hazards

Lack of effective waterproofing, plumbing, gas or heating facilities

Lack of electric systems, including lighting and wiring

Rental units must also have the following, among other things:

Working toilet, sink and bathtub or shower

Kitchen sink not made of absorbent material

Fire or emergency exits

Deadbolt locks

Smoke detectors in multi-unit buildings

For more information about habitability conditions and requirements for rental units see the section titled “Dealing With Problems" in the California Tenants Book published by the State’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

Schein & Cai handles real estate disputes, including arbitration and litigation arising out of real estate transactions, agent and broker relationships and landlord/tenant matters.

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