Property Maintenance in the Era of COVID: Cleanliness Matters!

Residential rental dwellings must be fit for human habitation and free from ‘dilapidations,’ says California Civil Code section 1941. In part that means “all areas under control of the landlord, kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.” Not a high bar! But not all landlords live up to that standard and during the COVID-19 pandemic we may see some landlords shirk their responsibility.

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Clean & Sanitary: The Most Basic Multifamily Maintenance Standard

The State Civil Code is clear that “clean and sanitary” premises is a responsibility shared by both landlords and tenants. The tenant must keep her reasonably clean, of course, and the landlord, according to the law, must keep the common areas “in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.” As many tenants know that is not the case when basic maintenance goes wanting.

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