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Habitability as a defense to a California eviction

Raising the issue of habitability as a defense to an eviction in California is the topic of this blog post.   This is one of the most powerful affirmative defenses that can be asserted by a tenant in California as the California Supreme Court has ruled that every residential rental agreement has an implied warranty of habitability that is independent of the tenant’s obligation to pay rent.

This means that a landlord of residential premises must put the premises in a condition fit for human occupancy and must repair all subsequent dilapidations that render the premises untenantable.  The landlord’s duty to the tenant to provide habitable premises is nonwaivable. So even if a lease or rental agreement states that the tenant waives the provisions of Civil Code Sections 1941 and 1942 relating to habitability, that waiver is not valid, and is void as contrary to public policy. See Civil Code § 1942.1

“The lessor of a building intended for the occupation of human beings must, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, put it into a condition fit for such occupation, and repair all subsequent dilapidations thereof, which render it untenantable, except such as are mentioned in section nineteen hundred and twenty-nine.”  See Civil Code § 1941.

And there are numerous requirements detailing exactly what is required in order for a dwelling unit that is offered to rent or lease to be considered habitable.

For example, hot water must be supplied to the plumbing fixtures at a temperature of not less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. See California Uniform Housing Code, Article 5, Section 32(a).

Heating facilities must be provided that are capable of maintaining a minimum room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a point three feet above the floor in all habitable rooms, and when the heating facilities are not under the control of the tenant or occupant of the building owner and/or manager, the heating facilities are required to provide that heat at a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours a day. See California Uniform Housing Code, Article 5, Section 34(a).

Numerous codes, statutes and regulations in California detail exactly what is required in order for a dwelling unit that is offered to rent or lease to be considered habitable. Reviewing them is a necessary first step for any tenant dealing with a landlord who is reluctant to fix major problems affecting the habitability of their rental.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample answer to an eviction complaint in California that contains 15 affirmative defenses including habitability sold by the author can see below.

 

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California eviction litigation document package containing over 25 sample documents including a sample sample answer to an eviction complaint in California that contains 15 affirmative defenses including habitability can use the link shown below.

California eviction litigation document package

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2012 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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