Habitability Claims

Photo of an Apartment Complex
The attorneys at Hosp, Gilbert & Bergsten are experienced in representing landlords and property management companies relating to building and health code issues in rental properties.

California law provides that every lease for the rental of residential property implies an obligation on the landlord’s part to provide safe and functional plumbing and heating, water and sewage services, electricity, ventilation, weatherproofing, locks, safe floors and stairways, adequate garbage containers, and to keep the building and grounds free of garbage, unsanitary conditions, and vermin.

The existence of any one or more of these conditions could give the tenant the right to repair the condition and deduct the expense from the rent, to claim a defense to eviction or unlawful detainer,
or to declare constructive eviction. Examples of situations that could support a claim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability include:

  • Leaking ceilings or roofs
  • Inadequate water pressure
  • Cockroaches, mice, or rats
  • Defective or inadequate electrical outlets or wiring
  • Missing or defective locks on doors or windows
  • Structural unsoundness in floors, stairways, or porches

The rights and obligations of both landlord and the tenant are very sensitive to the facts of the given case, so nobody should unilaterally withhold rent or consider the lease void without sound legal advice.

The habitability attorneys at Hosp, Gilbert & Bergsten are familiar with the state laws, the local ordinances of many Los Angeles County communities, and the procedural rules that relate to building code and safety issues in rental properties. Contact us for more information about habitability issues.

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