California law requires all residential rentals to meet certain standards in order to be habitable. In general, the heating, electrical and plumbing systems must be in good working order, there must be no water intrusion and the premises must be free of vermin. (This list is not comprehensive but covers some basic requirements.)
A Sonoma County jury returned a 1.3 million dollar verdict in 2005 against the owners and property manager of a residential unit in a lawsuit where the tenant alleged mold among other claims. Mold claims are frequently made in Sonoma County and are usually accompanied by a laundry list of allegations regarding the condition of the premises and the effect on the tenants.
Landlords should instruct tenants to report all water problems within 24 hours and landlords should respond promptly to those reports. This includes, and is not limited to, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, floods, overflows, moisture and discoloration. Further, landlords should routinely inspect the premises for any leaks or discoloration.
Our offices have been handling mold claims since 1998 and understand both the legal and practical problems and solutions to mold and water problems. We can help you with your immediate response to tenants and during the lawsuit should your tenants decide to sue you.