In virtually every state in the nation, tenants are legally entitled to a safe and livable residences. In the area of law, this is referred to as the implied warranty of habitability. The state of California is no exception to this rule.
This mandatory warranty covers basic and important things such as:
- Roof that keeps the weather out
- Regular access to hot water
- A working heater
- Sturdy floors and walls
- Absence of significant danger from toxins such as lead, asbestos, and mold
- Absence of vermin or insects, such as rats, mice and cockroaches
When a California landlord refuses to provide these basic requirements or fails to make repairs when necessary, the implied warranty of habitability has been breached. A tenant may have the right to sue the landlord in these situations
For a discussion of your legal rights and what you should do next, call (800) 576-4620 to talk to our tenant rights lawyer of HBK Lawyers APC. We represent clients throughout Los Angeles County and Riverside County.
Summary of the Implied Warranty of Habitability
Whether a California landlord knows this or not, they have the legal obligation to provide tenants with a livable place by the simple virtue of holding the premises out for rent. The implied warranty of habitability became law in the early 1970s and every state except Arkansas has incorporated this into their laws either by legislation or through court decisions.
A basic summary of the implied warranty of habitability requires that a California landlord:
- Keep the building’s floors, walls, stairs, and roofs safe and intact
- Maintain all common areas, including stairways and hallways, to be safe and clean
- Keep plumbing, sanitary, electrical, heating, ventilation, elevator, and air conditioning systems operating safely
- Provide trash receptacles for tenants and arrange routine trash pickup
- Supply reasonable amounts of cold and hot water at reasonable times
- Exterminate infestations of rodents and other pests
- Manage known hazards, including asbestos, lead paint, and mold so they do not pose an increased danger
Significance of an Implied Warranty Breach
It is important to understand that the aforementioned list describes issues that are major and not minor. Of note, a defect is considered “minor” not because of the cost of repair but because it does not render the property uninhabitable. A “major” issue is one that makes the property unlivable.
In short, California’s implied warranty of habitability requires a landlord to keep the premises in a condition fit for the occupation of human beings. Landlords must substantially comply with housing and building codes/standards that materially affect a tenant’s safety and health. If your California landlord does not provide adequate heat or hot water regularly or fails to get rid of an insect infestation or rodent infestation, for example, then the implied warranty of habitability has been breached. On the other hand, if a tenant causes the unlivable, unclean, or unsafe condition by damaging the property, it is not the landlord’s responsibility to repair fix any arising issues.
Understanding your legal rights to a livable place in California will help you motivate your landlord to comply with the law. California residential tenants have several legal options to enforce these rights, but knowing the right method to enforce them can be a challenge. If you believe your landlord has breached the implied warranty of habitability under California law, contact HBK Lawyers, APC to get a clear perspective of your rights. We provide free consultations to clients throughout Los Angeles County and Riverside County.
To arrange a consultation with our tenant rights lawyer in Los Angeles, call (800) 576-4620 now.
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