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How to recognize a breach of ‘Implied Warranty of Habitability’

Know when you have a right to a habitability case against your landlord

Every renter in the State of California has a right to live in a unit that has met certain standards, described in policy as the ‘implied warranty of habitability’, codified as Cal. Civil Code 1941.1. There are certain definitions by which this is met, and here I will go into those details. If your landlord is not meeting these requirements, that gives you reason to get into a landlord-tenant legal dispute and may be eligible to collect money for damages while paying rent in an uninhabitable unit. Many of our cases fall into habitability concerns, and there is a step by step process by which to address this.

The history of this law goes back to the Green v. Superior Court case of 1974, during which California’s established the landlords are legally required to keep their rental properties in habitable condition. These standards follow mostly safety and health standards. This is defined as follows. CCC 1941.1 states that:

  • It must maintain effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls including windows and doors (for example to prevent flooding).

  • Plumbing and gas facilities must be maintained in good working order.

  • The unit should have hot and cold running water that is connected to proper fixtures and connected to a sewage system.

  • Electrical lighting including affiliated wiring and electrical equipment must be in good working order.

  • The surrounding building and grounds of the property in the landlord’s control must be kept free from ‘debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin’.

  • The landlord must provide adequate receptacles for tenants to dispose of garbage that are clean and in good repair.

  • All floors, stairways and railings must be in good repair.

  • If a unit is in a residential hotel, there must be a locking mail receptacle.

  • The landlord cannot use these requirements to forego the tenant from any kind of assistance program, or from repairs or replacement.

If you think that your unit qualifies for one of these, you should contact us and we can help you take the next steps. Cases of a breach of habitability are especially important when served an unlawful detainer due to non-payment of rent, as you are only required to pay rent for a unit that is habitable. The only exception to the CCC 1941.1 law is if the renter signed that they would pay for repairs in the lease agreement, which you should watch out for. If you have any further questions or think your unit falls under habitability concerns, feel free to reach out to our firm.

Aziz Yellin LLP

(408) 600-0726

This article is merely informational and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Use of any information from this article is for general information only and does not represent personal legal or tax advice, either express or implied. Readers are encouraged to consult Aziz Legal, or another attorney, for any specific legal matters.


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