What to do about Housing Code Violations in San Francisco Bay Area

You believe your home has serious violations of the housing code.  But you are not certain.  How can you tell?  “Substantial” compliance is the standard.  Landlords are not required to have their properties in a “perfect, aesthetically pleasing” condition.  In most cases, substantial compliance with applicable code standards affecting health and safety will the landlord’s duties.

The courts have found violations of the housing code when there is a lack of heat in four of the tenant’s rooms, collapse and non-repair of the bathroom ceiling, faulty wiring and an illegally installed and dangerous stove.  Other courts have found violations when there is hazardous electrical wiring, raw sewage seepage under the building due to broken plumbing, rat infestation, termites and other vermin, broken and deteriorated doors and windows, lack of hot and cold running water, lack of heat, leaking roof and leaking plumbing fixtures.

What do you do if you believe your home has serious violations of the housing code?  First, make a list of everything you believe is wrong.  The list should organized room by room.  As you make your list, note when the problems first appeared or were they there when you moved in?  Then write a letter to your landlord.  Ask your landlord to make repairs within a certain number of days.  It is not necessary to send the letter to your landlord certified mail.  Just make sure your letter has a stamp on it and you put it in a mailbox.

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Tenant Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

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