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Understanding legal responsibilities of landlords in California

There are basic laws that landlords and tenants in Bakersfield and throughout California must adhere to. If there is a violation of any kind by either the landlord or the tenant, it can result in a problem and escalate to a lawsuit. Knowing the responsibilities of both based on the lease is the key to adhering to these requirements and settling any issue that arises between the parties.

The landlord is responsible for the following: making certain that the outside doors, walls and windows are sufficient to protect tenants against weather and water; having plumbing and gas that works as it is supposed to; that there is hot and cold water, the fixtures are appropriate, there is a sewage system that is up to code, and there is no contamination in the water; there must be a working heater; there should be sufficient lighting and wiring that are up to safety requirements; the property and its common areas must be clean and devoid of pests; there are sufficient garbage receptacles; and the railings, floors and stairways are in good shape and not broken.

In addition, the landlord must repair any of these issues if they arise. Failing to do so allows the tenant to pay for the repair and deduct the cost from the rent. This is applicable if it does not cost more than the rent for one month. If the landlord is accessing the apartment or rental property, adequate notice must be provided to the tenant except in circumstances in which it is an emergency such as to repair a broken pipe.

Renting a property is not a simple matter. There are laws that must be followed by both sides. It is inevitable that a dispute might come up between landlord and tenant. For any issue from repairs to eviction, it is important to grasp these laws before moving forward with a case. A lawyer can help.

Source: courts.ca.gov, "Eviction -- Responsibilities of Landlords; Responsibilities of Tenants," accessed on April 4, 2017

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