Landlords have a duty to provide tenants with a permanent source of heat.
If your landlord fails to provide you with a heat source – or adequate heat, they are violating the law. Landlords who fail to provide heat can be sued, fined by the city, or face legal action.
Section 701 of the San Francisco Housing Code requires landlords to provide a heat source capable of maintaining a room temperature of 68 degrees from 5:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
What if I don’t Have Heat?
If you don’t have sufficient heat it is important to inform your landlord, Even if your landlord already know, inform them in writing. This ensures you have evidence that you have put your landlord on notice.
If your landlord fails to fix the problem consider contacting the Department of Building Inspection. DBI will schedule a date for an inspection. If the inspector determines that something is not up to code, they will issue a Notice of Violation to your landlord.
What Legal Action Can I Take?
If you don’t have heat you may have grounds to take legal action. What approach is best depends on the situation. One option is to file a petition with the Rent Board for a Decrease in Services. Rent Board to decrease your rent. However, if you are dealing with other habitability issues you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Before taking any action be sure to talk to a qualified tenant’s rights lawyer about your options.