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What are the types of substandard conditions that are considered when appointing a Health & Safety receiver in California?

California health and safety law requires residential landlords to maintain dwelling units in a habitable condition. This principle is known as the warranty of habitability. If a landlord is found to have violated applicable statutes regarding habitability issues, government agencies can take action to appoint a receiver to help bring the property into compliance.

The conditions that are commonly present in substandard housing receiverships include but are not limited to the following:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors, and rooms that are not damp.
  • Plumbing facilities, including hot and cold running water and a kitchen sink, toilet, bath, or shower in good working order, are connected to a sewage system.
  • No visible mold growth, as determined by a health officer or a code enforcement officer, not including mold that is minor and found on services that can accumulate moisture as part of their proper functioning and intended use.
  • Gas facilities are in good working order.
  • Heating facilities are in good working order.
  • An electrical system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, is in good working order.
  • Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances, free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and other vermin.
  • Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
  • Floors, stairways, and railings are in good repair.
  • An environment free from deteriorated lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, lead-contaminated soil, or lead-based paint that is disturbed without containment.

Tenants may not waive the obligation of landlords to maintain units in a reasonably safe and habitable manner. Court-appointed health and safety receiverships are an effective vehicle for courts to enforce and resolve issues with substandard living conditions provided by property owners.

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