NOTE: Google Answers provides general information and is not a
substitute for professional legal advice.
California law does NOT require landlords to replace carpets or paint
apartments on some regular basis.
Here's a discussion of this exact issue on a San Diego-based web site
called Real Estate Today:
" QUESTION: I have lived in a very well maintained apartment
building for nearly 12 years. In all that time, the landlord has not
painted my apartment. Also, the carpet is extremely worn and needs to
be replaced. What are my rights as a tenant to have this upkeep done?
Is the landlord obligated to paint every so many years and to replace
worn wall-to-wall carpeting?
ANSWER: Griswold: There is no law requiring landlords to paint the
property or replace the carpet based on any set formula or passage of
time. Landlords are required under California law to properly maintain
the premises in a safe and habitable manner. Your landlord would be
required to repaint your rental unit in the event that the failure to
repaint has become a health and safety hazard.
For example, if the paint is old it may contain lead and be a
lead-based paint hazard if it is beginning to peel or come loose from
the painted surfaces. If it is just a cosmetic issue then the landlord
is not responsible for repainting and you may want to propose that the
landlord repaint and you will pay some or all of the cost.
The carpet is evaluated along the same lines. A worn carpet only
becomes a health- and-safety issue when it is a trip and fall hazard
or is so worn that the tack strip or other elements poke through and
could injure someone. Again, if it is just ugly or out of date then
the landlord is not legally obligated to do anything."
Counselor of Real Estate and Certified Property Manager Robert Griswold
From the web site Californiarentersrights.com:
In California, the law requires a Landlord, in a residential
tenancy, to maintain the dwelling so as to keep it in a habitable
condition. The Landlord is also generally responsible for other
"non-habitability" item repairs. The tenant will be responsible for
damages they caused by abuse or misuse of the property.
Habitable, or "Tenantable" means the dwelling is free from
substantial defects that affect the health and safety. Cosmetic
defects generally do not qualify as habitability items.
Some rental agreements attempt to make the tenant responsible for
this maintenance. These provisions are generally not valid although
under very limited circumstances, a tenant may accept a rental with
certain defects in exchange for compensation."
The California Department of Consumer Affairs puts out an excellent
guide for tenants on their rights and obligations. I advise you to
thoroughly read this document, especially pages 24-29 ("DEALING WITH
PROBLEMS). That section explains tenants' rights with respect to
repairs. You may download the California Tenants' Guide from Ca.gov:
(The document is in PDF format, so the Adobe Acrobat Reader is
required. If you don't have that, visit:
Or view an html version, cached by Google:
Note that the previous document makes many references to the relevant
laws on the matter, namely California Civil Code Sections 1929 & 1941
You may view those code sections courtesy of findlaw.com:
Just to sum up, then, the landlord isn't obligated to paint or replace
the carpets unless their condition is so bad that they make the
apartment unhabitable. If the repairs are just cosmetic and aren't
necessary for habitability, the landlord isn't obligated to pay. If
the tenant has abused or misused the premises, he or she may be
obligated to pay for the repairs. Other situations may be covered in
your lease or rental agreement.
california, landlord, tenant, rights, repairs
I hope this helps. Again, I strongly recommened the California
Tenants' Guide from Ca.gov:
If you still have questions after reading that, please use the
"request clarification" feature to let me know. Good luck!