Under California law, a landlord is legally responsible for maintaining rental units to comply with state and local building and health codes. This includes ensuring that the structure of the unit, as well as its interior and exterior, are maintained. However, tenants are responsible for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant or his/her family, guests, or pets. A rental unit may be considered uninhabitable under California State law if certain requirements are not met, including:
- Plumbing facilities, gas/heating facilities, and electrical system (lighting, wiring, and related equipment) must all be in good working order.The toilet and bathtub/shower must be in a room which is ventilated and allows privacy.
- Buildings and grounds must be free from garbage and rodents.
- Trash receptacles must be adequate and in good repair.
- Stairs, hallways, and exits must be kept litter-free.
- Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must exist in all units of multi-unit buildings, such as duplexes and apartment complexes. Apartment complexes also must have smoke detectors in common stairwells. To find acceptable devices in California, visit http://osfm.fire.ca.gov
It is the landlord’s duty to keep the rental unit habitable. However, California law also requires the tenant to fulfill certain requirements, including:
- Notifying the landlord when dead bolt locks and window locks or security devices don’t operate properly.
- Not destroying, damaging, or removing any part of the dwelling unit or premises.
- Using and operating gas, electrical, and plumbing fixtures properly.
- Disposing of trash and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner