Landlords can’t collect rent on units that aren’t up to code (and haven’t been addressed). THC looks to make this law more accessible for tenants. THC explains how notice of violation need to be specific to units, and need to be made in a more timely manner.
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TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC
126 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. (415) 771-9850
Fax. (415) 771-1287
RANDALL M. SHAW
STEPHEN L. COLLIER
Send mail to:
P.O. Box 423240 San Francisco, CA 94142
January 28, 2004
Department of Building Services
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 2340
Oakland, CA 94612
Dear Ms. Renwick,
I am writing to request a meeting with you to discuss two of the Code Compliance Office’s policies, in light of a new change in state law.
Under the newly amended California Civil Code Section 1942.4, landlords cannot collect rent from units that have been declared in violation of state housing standards, where local inspectors have notified the landlord in writing of the violation, and where the problem has gone unabated for 35 days after this notification.
Two of the Code Compliance’s current policies undermine tenants’ ability to take advantage of this amendment. First of all, Notices of Violation are not issued in a timely fashion after inspectors visit rental units. In one recent case, no notice had been issued 12 days after the tenant complaint had been called in.
Second, the notices that are issued do not list specific violations in specific units. In one 17-unit building, the inspector simply gave the landlord a general list of problems throughout the building, instead of citing each violation by apartment. In another case, an inspector sent a landlord a two-sentence form letter informing him that violations existed in a particular unit, but did not specify the location and nature of the problems. If specific unit-by-unit Notices of Violation are not issued, tenants will not be able to prove that particular code violations have gone unabated for 35 days.
My organization, along with California ACORN, drafted the new amendment to Section 1942.4. We are committed to ensuring that all California tenants have access to the amendment’s protections, and we are concerned that the policies of the Oakland Code Compliance Office are denying Oakland tenants this access.