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Repair Requests - What You Need to Know [landlords AND tenants]

If you’re a landlord – Normally if you explain your policy to your tenants at the lease signing, there aren’t any problems. However, sometimes grey areas arise. Check out our top strategies to find solutions and clarity with tenants:

  1. Reset expectations together. Sit down or get on the phone and reexamine the lease, go over what is covered and what is not. You might also schedule a walk through together.

  2. Ask vendors if they suspect claims are illegitimate. If a claim is due to noncompliance of the rental agreement, the tenant needs to pay for the repair.

  3. The nuts and bolts – your baseline responsibility is to keep the home up to code. If the tenant is asking for wild repairs, keep this your baseline in mind as you choose how to move forward.

If you’re a tenant – California tenants are legally entitled to a rental space that is up to code, meets structural, health and safety standards and is in good condition. If your landlord fails to uphold this or refuses to make repairs, it’s important to know your legal rights.

“According to state laws (Civil Code § 1941.1 and § 1941.3), at minimum every rental must have:

  • effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors

  • functioning plumbing, heating, and electrical facilities, including hot and cold running water and a working toilet and kitchen sink

  • clean and sanitary building and grounds (that is, free of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin), with adequate trash receptacles

  • well-maintained floors, stairways, and railings

  • deadbolt locks on certain doors and windows

  • no lead paint hazards, and

  • no nuisances, a catchall provision referring to something that is dangerous to human life, detrimental to health, or morally offensive and obnoxious, such as allowing drug dealing on the premises.

Other laws that cover a California tenant’s right to a fit and habitable dwelling include H&S §17920.3 (also known the State Housing Law) and the Uniform Housing Code, an industry code that is adopted by the state legislature and counties and cities. In addition, local governments have their own city or county building and housing codes (different from industry codes) that regulate structural aspects of buildings and establish minimum requirements for light, ventilation, heating, and the like. In most urban areas of California, local codes are more thorough than the state’s general housing law.”

Also remember, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to keep the space clean, sanitary and not willfully destroy, deface or damage the space!

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