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Tenant Habitability Issues and Slum Condition


The Supreme Court of California has affirmed that every rental tenant has an implied warranty (the right) of habitability. This simply means that landlords must keep their properties “habitable”, not only sanitary and safe but also structurally sound. The rental property must be compliant with state and local codes for health and safety.

A rental unit must have all of the following in order to be livable:

  • Working toilet, shower or bathtub and sink in a vented room that allows privacy
  • Safe emergency exits leading to a hallway or stairs
  • Mailbox with lock
  • Kitchen with a sink
  • Natural lighting in each room through a window or skylight
  • Windows in each room for ventilation or fans that provide ventilation
  • Working deadbolt locks on main entry doors
  • Smoke detectors that are functioning

It is obvious that a landlord’s failure to comply with these basic standard of living requirements can directly affect a tenant family and well being. On the other hand, tenants are responsible any damage that is caused by family members, pets, or guests.

How do you know if a Rental Unit is Uninhabitable or is classified as a ‘Slum’?

There are many issues with a rental unit that makes it uninhabitable or classified as a ‘slum.’ Conditions that can lead to serious health problems and drastically impact a tenant’s quality of life are-

  • Lack of effective weather protection and waterproofing
  • Lead hazards
  • Structural hazards
  • Plumbing issues with the sewer line
  • Lack of gas lines in working order
  • No trash disposal
  • Lack of reliable sanitation services,
  • Lack of clean water,
  • Lack of reliable electricity
  • Lack of law enforcement and other basic services.
  • Vermin infestations,
  • Lack of heating

A ‘slum’ refers to substandard living conditions, particularly in rental units. California law provides clear protection to renters regarding the living conditions of rental units. A landlord does have a reasonable time, generally 30 days, to fix a problem with a rental unit after notification.


Has your rights as a renter been violated? Do you need help with your landlord? Do you need to know what to do if your landlord is not complying with ‘habitability’? Let the attorneys at KJT Law vindicate your right to habitable housing.

At KJT Law, in Glendale, Ca. we represent individuals who have had their renters’ rights undermined by homeowners associations, etc. We are help to help you, not landlords or big businesses.

Working with a professional who understands the complexities associated with California. Tenant’s Law will improve the chances of you having a favorable outcome.

Let the professionals at KJT LAW GROUP help. Call us at (818) 507-8525 or email us at for a free consultation. We will go over all the facts of your case and recommend the best ways to move forward.

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