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Tenants’ Rights During Construction Projects 

Tenants’ Rights During Construction Projects 

Tenants’ Rights During Construction Projects 


Tenants’ Rights During Construction Projects 

If you spend time walking, riding, or driving through San Francisco’s busy streets, you know construction is always ongoing in the city. Construction in or near your building may disturb your peace and quiet, and sometimes that’s unavoidable. But while landlords have a right to undertake construction and remodeling, this right is not without limits. Tenants have a right to a peaceful place to live free of disruption. When your landlord does construction work that interferes with your ability to use and enjoy your home, you have rights.

If construction work is making your rental unit unlivable, contact the tenant's rights attorneys at Wolford Wayne for additional information.

Habitability and the Right to Quiet Enjoyment

In a landlord-and-tenant relationship, each party has rights and responsibilities. For tenants, this includes the right to enjoy their rental home without unreasonable interference, known as the right to quiet enjoyment. This right is implied in every residential lease, even if it is not written in the document. 

Landlords also have a responsibility to provide a habitable rental unit, which means that the unit must meet local safety and health codes. Occasionally, this obligation means a landlord has to undertake construction work or repairs in your unit or other units in a building. However, even when repairs are needed, landlords must respect a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of their home and take steps to limit construction noise in the building.

When Do Noise Issues Become Harassment?

Constant loud noises can make working, living, and sleeping difficult. For people who work or attend school remotely, excess noise can interfere with their job or classes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when remote school and work became common, we saw a huge rise in landlord-tenant disputes related to disruptive construction noise.  

When construction happens, a certain level of noise is to be expected, but how do you know when construction becomes unreasonable? This can vary, but some important factors are:

  • Noise level- Depending on the noise level, construction or other activities could become a nuisance that rises to the level of harassment. There are rules related to allowable decibel levels that your landlord and their workers must abide by. 
  • Whether the work is being done in your unit or surrounding units – Depending on the extent and location of the work, your landlord may have a duty to relocate you temporarily and pay you relocation fees. 
  • Timing - According to San Francisco’s Police Code, “daytime hours” for construction are from 7 am to 8 pm each day. Construction work can only be done outside these hours in emergencies or with a special permit.
  • Work without permits Large-scale construction projects require proper permits. If your landlord is doing work without permits, you may be able to shut down construction. 
  • Is the Work Necessary? – Not all construction work is created equal. Whether your landlord is upgrading/remodeling your unit or surrounding units as opposed to making necessary repairs may factor into how reasonable the work is.
  • Landlord Response - If construction is loud or disruptive and your landlord is refusing to work with you to find a solution, contact an attorney to discuss your rights and options.  

Short-lived, minor construction work is likely not enough to warrant filing a lawsuit, but where projects drag on, are handled improperly, or cause substantial disruption, and your landlord refuses to address the problem, you may have grounds to take legal action. 

Contact a San Francisco Tenants’ Rights Attorney Now

When you can’t enjoy your home due to construction work, your quality of life can be significantly affected. If your landlord is failing to provide you with a safe, quiet place to live, you may have grounds to take legal action against them. The experienced tenant attorneys at Wolford Wayne will help you evaluate your potential claims and avenues for dealing with serious construction problems.  

If construction is a constant problem where you live, speak to a skilled Wolford Wayne tenant’s rights attorney today.

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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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