What Makes a Home Uninhabitable?

Tenants have rights, and landlords are required to ensure that a home is safe and that all the appliances are in working order. While tenants should inform landlords of any repairs that need to be made, if they refuse to fix the problem, tenants are well within their right to leave.

Unhealthful Conditions

Unhealthful living conditions can make a home or apartment uninhabitable for tenants and affect their day-to-day living or overall well-being. For example, an infestation of cockroaches can make a living space uninhabitable, because of the health risk they pose. According to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, cockroaches carry diseases and germs, and spread 33 types of bacteria. Other possible health risks in a home or apartment include mold, asbestos or peeling paint.

Appliances

According to California Tenant Law, defective appliances can also make a home uninhabitable. In order for a home to remain safe and livable for tenants, it's essential that all appliances remain in working order. Appliances that came with a home, including stoves and refrigerators, need to work for tenants to store and cook food. An inefficient heater or air conditioner that doesn't provide the proper heating or cooling during extreme weather conditions could also make a home uninhabitable.

Environment

Not only do appliances inside the home need to be in proper working order, but the environment outside the home also needs to be well-maintained to make it livable. According to USLegal.com, the environment can also make a home uninhabitable. For example, a broken security gate or missing window that goes unfixed can force a family to move out. Criminal activity in a neighborhood, such as burglaries, drugs and gang violence, can also make a home uninhabitable.

Recourse

Several options are available for those living in uninhabitable conditions. The law allows those who live in an uninhabitable home to move out without giving any notice to a landlord. If the problem is less severe, tenants can also request that the landlord address the issue and repair an appliance or fix the problems in a timely manner. Other options include calling health inspectors to make an assessment of the living conditions or make the repairs and charge the landlord for the work.