When Does a Rental Property Become “Uninhabitable?”
Are you unhappy with your current living situation? Do you feel like your living situation might be considered “inhabitable,” but you’re not entirely sure? If so, we at Authority Property Management would like to help provide you with as much information as possible to give you a greater understanding as to whether or not your rental house or apartment really is “uninhabitable.”
While Californian’s law has no strict definition for deeming a rental house or apartment “uninhabitable,” there are some guidelines that can help to determine whether or not your living space really is unlivable.
For example, ugly paint or worn out carpet is not considered unlivable. It is considered a preference. However, peeling paint and torn carpet could be considered unlivable, depending on the circumstances. Things that could potentially cause health issues such as an infestation of cockroaches or rodents or the presence of mold can definitely deem a place uninhabitable. For rodents, a rental house or apartment is considered unlivable when two or more rats are present. A lack of safety and security on the landlord’s part can also make the place uninhabitable, such as missing padlocks on exterior doors, broken security gates, or missing locks on windows. Other health or safety issues that could make a living space uninhabitable would be a defective outlet or appliance or an inefficient heater or air conditioner.
So what do you do if after reading you feel like you are living with one or more of these issues your rental house or apartment could possibly be considered unlivable? First, you need to take pictures of and document all of the problems that are happening and all of the repairs that need to be made. Be sure to make as many notes as possible about what is wrong. Second, you need to ask your landlord to take care of those issues and repairs as soon as possible. If your landlord keeps putting off or does not take care of those issues, you have the right to leave. However, you will need to give 30 days notice to vacate the property. Write a letter to your landlord saying that you are leaving under Civil Code 1942 due to the listed conditions. In that letter, include a request for an immediate final walkthrough so that you can potentially get your security deposit back. Be prepared to bring in legal help if needed. Lastly, keep a copy of the letter, photos, and request for yourself. Keep it somewhere safe.
If you would like more information as to whether or not your rental house or apartment could be uninhabitable, feel free to call us at Authority Property Management. We are property managers in Redding who have over 20 years of experience doing property management in Redding and Shasta County. We would love to help you in any way we can! Give us a call at (530) 410-6085.
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