California Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

California Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Last Updated: February 19, 2023

California legally requires landlords to meet certain “habitability” requirements for all rental properties. This means that they’re responsible for providing a property that meets specific health and safety standards and for fixing issues that violate them.

California Implied Warranty of Habitability

In California, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain a safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.

Examples of clear habitability violations include:

  • Exposed electrical wiring.
  • A pipe leaking human waste.
  • A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.

However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like peeling carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities in California

Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements.

Item Has To Provide? Has To Fix / Replace?
Air Conditioning / Heating Heating Only Yes
Hot Water Yes Yes
Kitchen Appliances No No
Washer & Dryer No No
Smoke/CO Detectors Yes Yes
Window Coverings No No
Light Fixtures Yes Yes
Landscaping No No
Garbage Removal Yes Yes
Garbage Pickup No Only If Provided
Mold N/A Yes
Pest Control No N/A
Pest Infestations N/A Yes
Water Leaks N/A Yes
Clogs N/A Yes

Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in California

California landlords have a responsibility to provide and maintain adequate heating. They don’t have to provide air conditioning, but they do have to maintain any provided air conditioners whose failure might cause improper ventilation of the property.

Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in California?

California landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless heating equipment won’t work otherwise or it prevents ventilation of the property.

Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in California

California landlords must provide and maintain working plumbing. At minimum, there has to be at least one of each following feature in working order on the property:

  • Kitchen sink
  • Bathroom sink
  • Bathtub / shower
  • Toilet

Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in California?

California landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties.

Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in California?

California landlords must fix clogs as well as any other issue that prevents plumbing from being in good and safe working order.

Are Landlords in California Responsible for Fixing Leaks?

California landlords have to fix leaks and any other issue that causes dampness around the rental property.

Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in California

California landlords have no specific responsibility to provide or maintain kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator.

Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in California

California landlords must make electrical service available in properties they rent. The landlord has to fix issues with appliances or wiring that could impact health and safety.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in California?

California landlords must provide and maintain required light fixtures (usually one light per room). This includes replacing light bulbs, unless the renter’s lack of ordinary care caused the issue.

Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in California

California landlords must provide and maintain garbage containers. It’s the renter’s primary responsibility to remove garbage from the rental property. This means the renter may have to arrange and pay for garbage services, even though the landlord has to provide garbage containers upon move-in.

Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in California

California landlords have no specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they create a hazard to health, safety, or habitability.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in California

California landlords are responsible for most mold issues. They don’t have to conduct regular testing for mold. However, if there’s any mold in an area where it’s not expected to grow, the landlord has to fix it.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in California

California landlords are responsible for exterminating pest infestations, although they aren’t required to inspect regularly for pests such as roaches, mice, bed bugs, or ants. If the renter’s neglect caused the issue, the renter may have to pay for pest removal service.

Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in California

California landlords are not responsible for providing or maintaining blinds, screens, or other window coverings. However, a landlord is responsible for fixing broken windows, and maintaining window locks on ground-level and second-floor windows.

Landlord Responsibilities for Doors & Locks in California

California landlords are responsible for providing a main door with a working deadbolt. All other exterior doors also have to be in working order. However, it’s the renter’s responsibility to notice any issues with the locks; the landlord doesn’t have any duty to verify their good working order.

Landlord’s Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in California

California landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining safety devices like smoke alarms and required carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in California?

California landlords are responsible for maintaining provided appliances like smoke alarms and CO detectors, including testing and battery replacement.

Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in California

California landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer.

Renter’s Rights for Repairs in California

Renters in California have the right to repairs for code violations and issues impacting health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, renters must give the landlord notice verbally or in writing.

After receiving notice, the landlord has 30 days to repair the issue, unless there’s a documentable reason, like an emergency, that justifies a different period of time.

If the landlord fails to repair, the renter can take any of the following actions:

  • Repair and deduct from rent.
  • Sue to collect damages or force repairs.
  • Cancel the rental agreement.

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