How Can I Get My Landlord To Consistently Heat My Apartment?

How Can I Get My Landlord To Consistently Heat My Apartment?

How Can I Get My Landlord To Consistently Heat My Apartment?

Like many renters in old buildings, I rely on steam heat as my only source of warmth. In my building – and I know it is this way in others – the heat is centrally controlled and goes on and off building-wide. This means I have no way to turn the heat on when it’s cold, or turn it off when it’s too hot. The wiring can’t handle space heaters, so I resort to opening my gas oven and turning it to 400 degrees on the colder days, which may be unorthodox (or even illegal?) but is surprisingly effective. During hotter days the heat will sometimes go on even though the room temperature is certainly well above 70 degrees, and I have no option but to sweat it out.

When I moved in I was told the heat needed to be on a certain number of hours each day. This contradicts what I read on the SF Rent Board website, which explains that the metric of adequate heat is by temperature and not just hours of heating. I’ve never been able to pinpoint the heating schedule in my building as it appears to vary, but it is off most mornings from 6-8am and for large chunks of most evenings – the times when I need it most.

Is there any action I can take to improve this situation? Even if I am unable to control my own heater, it would be helpful if I could at least convince the landlord to publish a heating schedule and maybe even get that schedule adjusted so that the heater is used in a more rational manner. While I would love more heat during those cold hours, I also fear an over-response resulting in more heat during warmer days. Is there any recourse against over-heating an apartment?

I believe the building was built in 1912 and is eight stories of mostly studios in downtown San Francisco.

Your question is certainly appropriate this week. As I write this response, I’m bundled up in my minus 40 squall jacket. And let me tell you, it ain’t easy typing with gloves on.

You should not have to heat your apartment with your oven. That’s the bottom line here. It’s dangerous, expensive and while it is not per se illegal, if you start a fire, you’re going to get blamed for it.

First let’s look at the law. San Francisco Housing Code §701(c)(1) provides the minimum heating requirement for apartments:

“[H]eat capable of maintaining a room temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade) at a point midway between the heating unit and the furthest wall and which point is three feet above the floor, shall be made available to each occupied habitable room for 13 hours between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.”

Clearly you can demonstrate that the boiler isn’t timed correctly if you are not receiving heat between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or in the evenings before 10 p.m. I recommend that you talk to other tenants in your building to see if they are experiencing the same problems. In this case there may be persuasion in numbers. You should write the landlord, en masse, pointing out that the boiler seems to be working, but that the timer does not conform to the law. Give the landlord some time to fix the problem. If the landlord does not respond or refuses to fix the timer, you should call a San Francisco Housing Inspector and make a complaint.

Regarding the heat in the summer, there may be people in the building, for example, elderly retired tenants, who need the heat. Of course almost everybody requires some heat in the summer in San Francisco, even Mark Twain. But seriously, as long as the heat is working the way it is supposed to, you should be able to open windows to cool down in the hotter months.

Recently, in a tenant lawyer list serve, a colleague mused that the San Francisco requirements are antiquated and don’t consider people who work at home, who are sick or who are retired and at home during the day, not to mention folks who work the nightshift. It’s a point well taken which deserves consideration politically. Although this might not be an issue if there were requirements to refurbish old buildings to make them more livable. Where the hell is the stimulus money to insulate residential buildings and provide efficient heating systems? Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s in Afghanistan and Lloyd (Goldman Sachs CEO doing God’s work) Blankfein’s pocket.

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How Do I Get Affordable Heat?

How Do I Get Affordable Heat?

How Do I Get Affordable Heat?

I live in an apartment that does not have adequate heating. The house doesn’t have gross violations; there isn’t mold, leaks, or gaping holes in the walls or windows. However, it is really drafty and the building is old so it does not keep out the cold.

There are wall heaters in each of the rooms, but they are electric, so we have to keep them on 24 hours a day to even come close to the 68F degrees law. Our PG&E bill is astronomical! It often doesn’t stay at 68 degrees during the day. When I complained to the property manager about it he said that they could come and put in more electric heaters, but this would only raise our PG&E bill even more.

Is there any law that requires landlords to provide affordable heating?

Ha, like the law that requires landlords to provide affordable housing?

First, thanks for checking the Tenants Union site, as you linked to above. The TU is a good place to go for in-depth tenant counseling. As we discussed, your question is a good one because there should be a law requiring landlords to provide affordable heating because affordable heating is also energy efficient heating.

That your property manager so readily offered to install more electric heaters gives me pause. How are they going to install them and wire them to the existing ones? I wonder if the heaters are legal in the first place.

When we corresponded, you mentioned that your unit had been remodeled a couple of years ago. I’m wondering if the landlords applied for the proper permits to install the heaters. You can go online to the Department of Building Inspection Online Permit and Complaint Tracking to check out building and electrical permits for your address. BTW, tenants should always use this site to check out complaints on a given address before they rent. This site is a great Cheese Ball detector.

As I discussed in a previous column, “Wet, Cold and Moldy,” California Civil Code §1941.1 requires that a dwelling unit be weather tight. You don’t have to demonstrate gaping holes, leaks or mold for a unit to be in violation. In San Francisco many old building are drafty because the old double hung windows are not sealing correctly. Often that occurs because the windows are rotten or the glazing has fallen out. Buildings are also drafty because they are not insulated. Unfortunately, there is no requirement for landlords to insulate before they can rent a unit for a modest $4,500 per month.

Because you have already informed the property manager about the problem, I think you should lodge a complaint with a housing inspector at the DBI and arrange an inspection of your unit to see if there are any housing code violations. Then you can file a petition at the Rent Board for a decrease in services based on the fact that your landlord violated the implied warranty of habitability in your lease.

Generally, in San Francisco, it’s not a good idea to rent an apartment in an old building that has electric heat unless it’s considerably cheaper than other comparable units. Electric wall or baseboard heaters are often indicative of Cheese Ball landlords too cheap to repair an old heating system that, once upon a time, actually worked.

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Wet, Cold, And Moldy

Wet, Cold, And Moldy

Wet, Cold, And Moldy

Wet cold and moldy.

I live in the Panhandle area in a 6-unit building. My apartment building has some serious temperature and mold issues.

Our common entryway has a broken skylight that leaks every time it rains. The first floor rug is now discolored and smells of mold. The landlord insists he’s “done as best he can” to fix the leak.

All of the units’ bedroom closets have huge mold problems on the walls. The landlord’s best response is to just to keep bleaching the walls. Other areas of each apartment have mold the landlords only “solutions” are to cover the areas over with paint or tile.

The building’s steam heat works inconsistently. The timer doesn’t seem to be working correctly. The windows don’t seal properly or have chunks of wood missing from the base. When tenants complain of the cold, the landlord’s only response to this is to apply cheap foam weather stripping (that’s since fallen off) to the windows.

For what we pay, we shouldn’t have heat or mold issues. So my question is, besides putting our own money into the building, can we as tenants do anything to turn our building around and into shape?

Dear Wet, Cold and Moldy in the Panhandle,

As I write this, the first big storm of the season has begun. It’s time for you and your fellow tenants to get proactive. I get the sense that everyone in the building is fed up and that you might be able to work together as a team. That’s great. Remember, there is safety in numbers.

The landlord says he’s “done as best as he can.” What is he–a four-year-old at a Berkeley T-Ball tournament? Shall we give him a trophy just for showing up? This is the type of landlord I like to call a Cheese Ball, a cheap buffoon who thinks he can own an apartment building, take all the tax deductions, collect the outrageous rent and not spend a dime to maintain it. Oh, he’ll bitch and moan about rent control and whine about all the labor he’s expended, but you must understand that this Cheese Ball wouldn’t maintain his property if he could charge $10,000.00 a month per unit and he would never pay a professional to fix anything. I can go on and on, but maybe I should answer your questions.

The landlord is breaching the implied warranty of habitability in your lease. The landlord has the duty, even if it is not in the lease, to provide you with a “habitable” unit. California Civil Code §1941.1provides a long list of characteristics of a unit that make it “untenantable” or uninhabitable.

Roof leaks and the problems caused by them, i.e. mold, cracked paint, and of course, water dripping inside are usually clear and substantial breaches. (Civil Code §1941.1[a]) The problems you describe indicate a more general roof problem than just the skylight. While mold and mildew occur frequently in bathrooms without roof leaks, the closets are a tip-off to me.

As a former housepainter, I know that you cannot just paint over mold and mildew; it grows through the paint. And even if you kill the mold, it will return if the roof has not been adequately repaired.

Windows that rattle and leak air and, as you indicated in the unpublished part of your letter, sills that are rotted off are also violations of Civil Code 1941.1(a). Cheap foam insulation doesn’t count as repair.

Finally inadequate heat is a violation of Civil Code 1941.1(d). San Francisco Housing Code §701(c) also requires that a permanent heating source be provided that is capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in all habitable rooms, excluding bathrooms and hallways. The Housing Code specifically requires this level of heat to be provided 13 hours a day, from 5 AM to 11 AM and also from 3 PM to 10 PM. See Rent Board Topic No. 257.

All right, now you know that it’s likely the landlord violated the law. What do you do about it? Normally I would suggest you write your landlord a letter outlining all of the problems and asked him to fix them in a short period of time, preferably not before the next ice age. BTW, if you haven’t already done so, begin to communicate with the landlord only in writing. Even if he can’t read, he will understand that your relationship has changed.

But in this case, Mr. Cheese Ball has already been notified. He’s done his best. Make a list of everything that seems questionable, call a housing inspector from the SF Department of Building Inspection and arrange a time for the inspector to visit all six units and all the common areas. Show the inspector everything. If the roof is accessible, cajole them to go up there or refer to another inspector who will. Also check to see if the building has complaints or violation from the past.

The DBI will issue a notice of violation (NOV) for the various issues and require the landlord to repair them in thirty days. You now have good evidence to use when you file a petition at the Rent Board to reduce your rent due to a substantial decrease housing services or suing the landlord in superior court for breach of the warranty of habitability.

You and all of your fellow tenants at the building should join the San Francisco Tenants Union. They can provide more specific counseling based on the facts of your situation.

Remember, you pay your rent in exchange for the landlord providing a service, nothing more or less. If he gets pissed off because you make him do his job, it’s his problem. Don’t let him make it yours. Good luck.

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Time To Get Medieval?

Time To Get Medieval?

Time To Get Medieval?

A few weeks ago, in one of my usual internet searches for local tenant news stories, I ran across an article that saddened and enraged me.

A three-month old baby in Louisiana died in her home from blood loss due to rat bites. There were holes in the walls and holes in the floor. Evidently, the landlord spent FEMA money earmarked to repair the house on something else, but the authorities were still trying to determine if they should file criminal charges against the parents! Judging by the comments I found on various websites, most people want to blame the tenants for this tragedy. “They should have been watching their kid.” Or this particularly vile response from an especially moronic Examiner reader: “It’s always someone else fault, isn’t it? Why not blame the landlord …? Yes, he may be a slumlord. His rental house is probably a dump. But it’s a matter of common sense and personal responsibility. Natalie’s parents must have had the option of moving out and finding a better place. Or taking it upon themselves to fix up the home.”

William Randolph Hearst would have been pleased with this commentator—another dupe so mired in her own petty, vindictive, little world that she will buy anything and crap on anyone less fortunate to make herself feel better. How about a little compassion?

I mentioned last week that many tenants opt to live in these hovels because they’re afraid they’ll be evicted if they complain or that they can’t afford to move.

Why not blame the landlord? It’s a good place to start. I don’t know if Natalie’s parents informed the landlord about the conditions in the house. I don’t know where his culpability began. All I know is that he must have known something. He freakin’ applied for FEMA money to repair the house! The news article notes that the landlord was unavailable for comment. If he won’t comment I will.

We don’t live in the middle ages. Or do we? As I have already noted, it wasn’t until 1970 that California codified what constituted a “tenantable” dwelling and finally in 1986 the California legislature passed the law allowing a tenant to avoid eviction for nonpayment of rent on an uninhabitable dwelling.

We do not live in the New York City tenements in 1881 when the New York Times graphically reported that a baby died from rat bites. Or do we? Note that the report stated that the family was “poor but cleanly” but the landlord who rented the dwelling to them was not mentioned at all.

What happens to landlords who are convicted of habitability crimes? Not much, it seems, just like medieval times. I did a quick search of the web to find articles about landlords who have been punished criminally in the United States.There a few instances when landlords have been sentenced to jail for code violations, but it is interesting to note that most of the articles that chronicle criminal sentences for landlords come from Great Britain and Canada, not here. Is there a health care comment in that? This example while rare is, unfortunately, typical: An Ohio landlord was sentenced to ninety days in jail for renting a trailer that he knew had faulty wiring. Five tenants died in a fire caused by that faulty wiring.

Or the Bronx landlord who was was finally sentenced to nine days in jail and fined $156,000 for failing to address 2,268 open violations at this building. Ninety days in jail when five people are dead? Nine days in jail for endangering the lives of hundreds of tenants? There are plenty of pot smokers in the United States spending far more time in jail. “Oh, Dave,” some of you more legal-minded folk out there are saying. “You’re a lawyer, you should know that you can’t charge people with crimes if you can’t prove their intent. That slumlord in Ohio didn’t intend to kill five people.”

Bad Landlord

Well, I say, that’s the problem when you apply medieval legal doctrine to modern problems—a conundrum unique to landlord tenant law.

In other words, we must change our core assumptions about the landlord tenant dynamic. Rather than relying on thousand year old common law to assess a landlord’s intent when he takes a tenant’s money, only to put the tenant in peril, we should pass laws to define that transaction as theft.

If a tenant dies during the commission of that theft, the landlord is guilty of murder, pure and simple. It is only a matter of writing laws to define the crime, just like we did when we mistakenly defined smoking marijuana as a crime. When tenants can get sick or die due to a landlord’s fraud, it is no mistake to define that as a crime.

Tenants need legislative protection from unscrupulous landlords and should be demanding it every minute of every day. Oh, you say, it will cost too much money to enforce new laws to curb murderous landlords. In California we spend $170,000,000 a year to to enforce marijuana laws. Don’t tell me we ain’t got the dough.

Finally if we, as a society, are going to insist upon maintaining our medieval, status quo assumptions about how landlords and tenants should interact, maybe we should consider bringing back medieval punishment for bad landlords—pillories.

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Time To Get Medieval?

Every Tenant Has One–An Implied Warranty of Habitability

Every Tenant Has One–An Implied Warranty of Habitability

No, not a rat or a rat-like landlord (although you may have both). Every tenant has an implied warranty of habitability. In last week’s post I listed several conditions in a unit that constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability. If you find an electrocuted rat in your kitchen stove, odds are that your landlord has breached the implied warranty of habitability in your lease. What if he won’t fix the problem? What can you do?

Believe or not, one of the most common strategies for tenants is to do nothing. Many tenants are willing to put up with significant breaches of the warranty of habitability like no heat or mice partying in the kitchen all night because the rent is cheap and they don’t want to make waves with the landlord. Besides, the Cheese Ball landlord won’t fix the problem correctly anyway. “Here’s a space heater and some rat traps and some buckets.” Or worse, the landlord’s “contractor” who will tear the place up for weeks on end only to leave a gaping hole in the bathroom. So tenants do nothing or repair some conditions themselves.

I understand the dilemma. As an ex-house painter, handyman, there are many repairs I can make myself. In a former tenancy I did that, until the back stairs separated from the house and raw sewage filled the garage twice in one week. I had to communicate more effectively. That tenants are still afraid of reprisal because they ask a landlord to do his job is a disgusting state of affairs, indicative of a system of law and enforcement hasn’t improved much over a thousand years. If you are a tenant you are still a villain.

Inform the landlord in writing.

If you are starting to feel raw at the backside from taking it from the landlord, start by complaining to the landlord in a letter. No phone calls. If you ever have to enforce your rights, the landlord will lie and say he was never informed. You can’t prove that you informed him with a phone call. Include photos of the offense if you can. You’re being helpful by including photos and you’re also implying that you are documenting the offenses and that he better get his ass over there pronto. Be polite. Nobody will read a letter that is over a page long so make it short and sweet. Remember to ask the landlord for a reduction in your rent for the time you had to put up the sewage, rats, leaks, mold, etc. Also ask for the value of any personal property that was damaged by the sewage, rats, leaks, mold, etc.

Don’t make any threats in the first letter unless you have been calling the landlord about the same problem. If you have already informed the landlord or if you are writing your second letter, tell the landlord that you will be calling the appropriate authorities if he doesn’t fix the problem immediately.

Call a housing inspector.

In San Francisco you can call a housing inspector from the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) or the Department of Public Health to report substandard conditions in your unit. You can arrange for a housing inspector to visit your unit. If they find violations of the housing or building codes they will issue a Notice of Violation (NOV). Usually the landlord will have 30 days to correct the defective conditions. NOVs are public records and copies are available at the DBI. You can also view complaint and permit details online.

In other counties, code enforcement is usually the purview of city government. You can find out how to request an inspection by checking your city’s website and searching for “code enforcement.” I have provided a list of links for selected cities on this site. NOVs make great evidence if you need to file a Rent Board petition or sue later.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs

If you have a small child and you have peeling paint and paint chips call your local Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program overseen by the California Department of Public Health. Don’t wait for the landlord to perform shoddy and unsafe repairs.

File a petition at the Rent Board.

If the landlord will not decrease your rent or replace your damaged belongings, gather your letters, photos and NOVs and, if you have one, file a petition at the Rent Board for decreases in services. You should check with your local Rent Board to find out what you need to do to file a petition. I will also be writing about that in a future post.

Repair and deduct from rent?

If the landlord refuses to correct the problem after receiving an NOV (believe me, many of them refuse despite the threat of fines) should you repair the problem yourself and deduct the cost from the rent? In fact Civil Code §1942 only requires that you notice the landlord of the substandard conditions and that you are presumed to have given the landlord sufficient notice after 30 days. However, you can only deduct an amount up to the value of one month’s rent. I rarely recommend this course of action because you could find yourself in an eviction action for nonpayment of rent which could be very expensive to defend. Never, ever just stop paying rent without consulting an attorney or discussing it with your local tenants union.

Move out?

If you or your loved ones are truly endangered by conditions in your unit, and you can prove it, sometimes the only alternative is to get out. This is called constructive eviction—even though the landlord hasn’t given you a notice to quit (move out) his negligence has forced you to move. The obvious example of constructive eviction is when the roof caves in after you warned the landlord about the leaks. You have no choice but to move. It is likely you will have to sue the landlord for your damages, so you must be certain that the landlord’s failure to repair caused the unsafe conditions that forced you to move. Consult an attorney about this, if it’s not obvious to you and everybody else that you simply must move.

Sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

If your damages are $7,500 or less (California) you can try to sue in small claims court. Marshall all of your evidence, then before you file check out Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court in California, by Ralph Warner for Nolo Press.

If you feel your case is worth more than $7,500 and that it will be worth the time and effort to sue the landlord in superior court, consult a lawyer. Sometimes it’s a good idea to join with other tenants in the building to make the case attractive to an attorney who will consider representing you all on a contingency basis. If you live in San Francisco join the San Francisco Tenants Union and get a copy of their list of lawyers who only represent tenants.

Call the district attorney?

Only if the conditions in your unit are bad, I mean criminally bad—violations up the wazoo with serious, life threatening injuries and rats the size of cows. Usually you have to be dead to warrant any attention from district attorneys because they have real criminals to catch, you know, like pot smokers.

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A Cave By Any Other Name

A Cave By Any Other Name

A Cave By Any Other Name

When my landlord voluntarily replaced the roof on my (his) building a couple of years ago I was blown away. It was the first time in nearly 30 years of my life as a tenant that this happened. It was the first time in my career as a tenant rights lawyer that I’d heard of such a thing. Usually when my clients complained about a leaking roof, the landlord’s response, after suggesting that the tenant empty the buckets more often, is to jab some tar in the hole. Every landlord has one…no, not a tar hole…an implied warranty of habitability.

The warranty of habitability, the landlord’s guarantee that he will provide you a unit with more amenities than a cave or a cardboard box, is implied in every lease, written or verbal. Unfortunately, many landlords think their properties should perform like an annuity—that the rent should just roll in, like interest, while the landlord does nothing to maintain them. After all, the lord already did the work; he bought the property. I can’t count the number of times tenants have told me when they request repairs that the landlord tells them they can fix it themselves. Or better yet, tries to charge them for repairs he has the legal duty to provide.

California Civil Code §1941.1 provides a list of minimum requirements for a habitable or tenantable dwelling. In other words, if the landlord doesn’t provide or fix the items listed in the code, he’s breaking the law. He is breaching the implied warranty of habitability in violation of your lease, whether it’s oral or written.

Roof leaks are one of the most common tenant complaints. For some reason landlords, especially the do-it-your-self types would rather spend thousands of dollars and countless hours smearing Blackjack on the roof rather than replacing it. These Cheese Balls spread more tar, one gallon at a time, than the Exxon Valdez. Any professional roofer will tell you that you can’t permanently fix a leaking roof in that manner. I had a client who successfully withheld rent for over two years because the landlord would not replace the roof and instead tried to dab it with tar. Don’t try this without legal representation.

Roof leaks are also a major cause of mold and mildew, but when you complain about the mold, the landlord invariably will tell you to open the window while you’re taking a shower. Which shower? The one from the ceiling in the living room? The health risks from certain kinds of mold are well documented.

Cracks in your ceiling and peeling paint are another indication of a roof leak. Peeling and chipping paint on the window frames can also indicate water leaks, if not from the roof, the windows and window frames. In old buildings, peeling paint can be a big problem because the paint chips contain lead. Though lead started to be removed from paint in the 1940s, only building built after 1978 are relatively free of it. The layers of paint from the past do not simply disappear. When the pail peels the old lead layers become exposed and introduce lead into your environment. Lead is especially harmful to children and can cause many health problems including brain damage.

Tenants often come to me complaining about a lack of heat. The heater goes out in the unit. The tenant informs the landlord and the landlord empathetically shrugs his shoulders and offers to provide the tenant a space heater rather than repair or (horror of horrors) installing a new heater. Never mind that your electricity bill jumps to $700.00 a month. There are actually some landlord lawyers who, with a straight face, will tell you that this is a viable alternative. It is not. Civil Code §1941.1(d) is clear that a unit is untenantable if it lacks “heating facilities that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.” Space heaters are not facilities and have never, ever conformed with applicable law.

Old buildings often have plumbing problems. When you inform the landlord that your apartment has a six inch layer of excrement on the floor because the plumbing backed up while you were away for the weekend, the first thing the landlord asks is, “Have you been flushing tampons down the toilet?” In one of our cases at trial, the landlord testified that the hardwood floors were damaged in the when the kitchen flooded. Of course, he blamed our clients because they had the audacity to put cooked spaghetti in the garbage disposal. The last time I checked most dwelling units are required to have functional indoor plumbing. Sewer backups and leaks are the landlord’s responsibility.

I spoke to a tenant recently who showed me an email in which the landlord stated that rats in the apartment was just a consequence of urban living. What? Like the bubonic plague? Yes, millions of rats live here, but they are not supposed to be able live with you. If you have breaches in the building like holes in the walls, rats come in. And you never get the adorable ones who’ll teach you how to cook like in the movie Ratatouille. You get the rats that carry disease and crap and pee all over the place. It is the landlord’s responsibility to remove them, period.

This ain’t Florida, thank god. You don’t just assume that cockroaches will be living in your apartment. Cockroaches also carry diseases. And they’re just plain disturbing. They are very difficult to eradicate, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to get rid of them.

What have I missed? Windows that rattle and leak cold air; unfinished repairs that leave exposed walls; smelly, frayed carpet installed in 1916; gas leaks; exposed electrical wiring; leaky faucets; landlord trash storage in the backyard; rotten decks; rotten stairs; rotten floors; rotten windows; rotten doors; no second fire exit; unsecure building; no locks; inadequate heat; failed steam valve spewing hot steam throughout the unit; bedbugs (yuck)…all of these and the many other issues I haven’t discussed can be violations of the implied warranty of habitability.

The whole point of the implied warranty of habitability is to prevent landlords charging you for what your ancient ancestors could do for free—live in a cave. What can you do to get what you’re paying for? Or make the landlord pay? I’ll give you some suggestions next week.

I want to thank Claudio Bluer of Austral Housing Inspections in Oakland, California for providing some of the photos for this post. Claudio has been serving the tenant community in the Bay Area for years, documenting habitability horrors and helping tenants win their cases against negligent landlords.

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