Fair Housing: Your Rights to Habitability

Stay Informed! Stay Safe!

You have the RIGHT as a tenant to insist the landlord guarantees certain features of the rental property in SAFE and SANITARY condition.

“The warranty of habitability”- the legal obligation requiring landlords to provide and maintain basic features in all rental housing throughout the state.  No excuses allowed.

What is considered “habitable”?

The California Civil Code Section 1941.1 requires that the landlord provide all of the following to any residential rental property:

  • keep basic structural elements of the building, including floors, stairs, walls, and roofs, safe and intact.
  • maintain all common areas, such as hallways and stairways, in a safe and clean condition.
  • keep electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems and elevators operating safely.
  • supply cold and hot water and heat in reasonable amounts at reasonable times.
  • provide trash receptacles and arrange for trash pick-up.
  • manage known environmental toxins such as lead paint dust and asbestos so that they don’t pose a significant danger.
  • exterminate infestations of rodents and other vermin

 A Consequence of Uninhabitable Living Conditions:

On June 16th, 2015 a balcony fell from the fourth floor of an apartment complex in Berkley, California.  This horrific tragedy resulted in the death of six students and seven others injured.  City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who represents that district, stated that he had received multiple complaints from building residents about habitability issues and that the tragedy could have been avoided with proper attention and maintenance.

What should I do if I am living in uninhabitable conditions?

If tenants are aware of defective or substandard conditions, you have the right to make the landlord fix it.  By doing so, tragedies such that as the one in Berkeley can be avoided.  The following are steps that you as a tenant can take in order to ensure that you are living in rightful and habitable conditions:

  • Effective and early communication is critical
  • Preserve and prepare your evidence
  • Contact CSA San Diego County– At CSA we ensure protection under Fair Housing Laws. Services include: Fair housing counseling and dispute mediation, educational fair housing seminars for tenants and landlords (English, Spanish and Arabic), services to tenants, landlords, and apartment managers, real estate and rental practice discrimination audits, and free rental housing handbooks in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

CSA San Diego County

131 Avocado Avenue

El Cajon, CA 92020

Phone: 619-444-5700

Toll Free: 1-800-954-0441

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise require telephone relay services, dial 711

Fax: 619-447-5761

info@c4sa.org

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