Beginning July 1, 2022, in a State-mandated local program, Assembly Bill 838, places new requirements on cities and counties to help combat substandard housing.
The new law will require cities and counties that receive a complaint from a renter of a property regarding substandard conditions and lead hazards to conduct an inspection, provide a report with correction requirements to the owner, the complaining party, and other potentially affected residents.
The new law also prohibits cities and counties from unreasonably refusing to communicate with tenants and other occupants about the violations.
“This new law will help cities and counties investigate and deal with substandard housing conditions, which are a major problem in California. Some cities and counties will have to adopt new policies and procedures and possibly make amendments to current code enforcement ordinances to comply with AB838.”
Matthew Silver, Partner, Silver & Wright LLP
This new law also steps up enforcement regarding lead hazards, requiring cities and counties to document lead hazard violations that are discovered during an inspection of the property, including identification of all portions of premises deemed substandard.
The new law will also require public agencies to advise the owner or operator of the property of each known violation and the action required to remedy the violation, and also holds the property owner responsible for scheduling a reinspection to verify the correction of the violation(s).
Cities and counties will also be held responsible for providing copies of an inspection report and citations issued to the complaining tenant, resident, occupant, or agent, and all other potentially affected tenants, residents, and occupants on the property.
The goal of the State law is to notify owners of the inspection results and provide an opportunity to bring the property up to code standards, as well as to educate and empower tenants living in such conditions so they are aware and can respond accordingly if the property remains in violation of the law.
Another significant component included in AB838 allows tenants to enforce these inspection and notification requirements against public agencies through legal action. Through this new law, public agencies, property owners and tenants should have an additional tool to remediate California’s aging and substandard housing stock.
Click here to learn more about how the existing law differs from what’s listed in AB838.