Building a good relationship with your landlord will be helpful if any problems arise during your tenancy. Both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities. Knowing these will assist you with your living arrangement. If you encounter a problem, it is best to confront it in a direct, mature fashion. You need to know your rights, and don't be shy about informing your landlord of them.
A lease is designed to protect both you and your landlord. Make sure you read the lease thoroughly. You are bound to any terms in the lease.
Based on California Civil Code 1941, a landlord is obligated to provide the following:
- Effective protection against the elements (i.e. roof and walls that do not leak);
- Plumbing facilities which function properly, including hot and cold running water and sewage disposal;
- Working heating facilities;
- Properly maintained electrical wiring;
- Sanitary building and grounds free from debris, filth, rodents, cockroaches, etc.;
- Adequate garbage receptacles;
- Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair;
- Reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) to enter your apartment unless there is an emergency.
The landlord has a reasonable time to correct any of these deficiencies. A reasonable time may differ depending on the problem. For your protection, you should make all complaints in writing and keep a copy for your records.
The tenant must:
- Keep the premises clean and undamaged;
- Dispose of garbage and trash properly (unless the landlord has agreed to do this);
- Use all electrical, gas, and plumbing fixtures properly and keep them as clean as their condition permits;
- Keep any person on the premises with permission from willfully damaging the premises or the facilities;
- Use each room only for the purpose for which it was intended;
- Inform landlord of all roommate changes.
How to handle problems:
If you have abided by all the responsibilities as a tenant and the landlord continues to disregard problems with the property, you can stay and endure, move out, or seek advice from our office. You can also contact the Fair Housing Council at (619) 444-5700 or toll free (800) 954-0441.
We suggest that you inspect the dwelling carefully before moving in. If it is not in perfect condition, document with photos as you do a walkthrough with the landlord. Use the Moving in Checklist to help in your documentation process. If you find any unsafe or unhealthful conditions, it is in your best interest to look for someplace else rather than trying to have conditions corrected after you move in. For more comprehensive information from the State of California, click on this link - California Tenant/Landlord rights and responsibilities.
If you would like legal advice for landlord or roommate conflicts from experts at UCSD, try UCSD Student Legal Services.