BBBaby, It's Cold Outside!

December 06, 2011

If you are a renter, you should be aware that California law entitles you to heat in your dwelling.

According to California Civil Code §1941.1, the definition of “habitability” includes: ‘heating facilities that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.’

If your heating unit stops working, contact your landlord immediately to request a repair. If the landlord does not offer to immediately fix the problem, ask when the repair will be made. A reasonable waiting period is usually 30 days.

If your landlord refuses to fix the heating unit or if it is not fixed within a reasonable amount of time, tenants should notify the landlord in writing that they will be having the unit repaired themselves. The renter can then deduct the cost of the repair from the rental payment, but the balance must be paid on time. Copies of any repair receipts should be included with the balance of the rent payment.

More information about both tenant and landlord rights is available in “A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities.” It is published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and it is available at your local BBB office.