Safety And Habitable Rules – The Legal Guide

Property Management Blog

Executing a habitable rental property for the tenants is the responsibility of every landlord. It's the primary responsibility of the landlord; the state also has some rules and regulations regarding safe and habitable rental spaces. Although every state and municipal regulation differs but the core of these rules is the same; to provide tenants with a safe and secure rental property. Every property should be equipped with basic necessities like a shower or tub, a toilet, washbasin as well as a kitchen sink. Apart from that, the rental should also have a proper structure with electricity and an adequate plumbing system. The electrical and plumbing system should be as per the state requirements. According to the state rules, every landlord should:

  • Maintain rental's key building infrastructure i.e., plumbing as well as electrical systems
  • Should get rid of all unsanitary conditions and maintain the safe conditions of the rental. This is to ensure that the rental doesn't have any health hazards.
  • Perform all repairs and maintenance issues without any delay.

Here are the basic livability requirements that are expected from all landlords. Avoiding these may result in potential lawsuits from state or tenants. 

Amenities for Habitable Rental:

The following are the amenities that are required to make your rental habitable.


The first thing you need to do is to check out the specific requirements according to your state. Every state has different temperature policies regarding the temperature control of the rental properties. For example, both Chicago and Atlanta have their own minimum temperature requirement and guidelines for all rental properties.

Air Conditioning:

When it comes to air conditioning, the laws are pretty slack, according to the state. However, in states like Florida Air Conditioning is mandated by the authorities. If a rental has air-conditioning, it's the landlord's responsibility to keep it maintained for the tenants. If the rental didn't initially have air conditioning, the landlord is under no obligation to either install or maintain the air conditioning for the tenants.


Like heating, light is also the basic need and requirement of the state and the tenants. Landlords are responsible for providing efficient lighting and maintaining it as well. Basic lighting for all rooms like toilet, kitchen, and living area is the responsibility of the landlord, but extra lights like table tables and work lights are the responsibility of the tenants.

In case of any malfunction of the basic lighting, the landlord is responsible for providing repairs to keep the rental property in habitual conditions.

Apart from this, other amenities are bonuses that can add value to your rental property. However, the landlord isn't under any obligation from the federal and state legal frameworks to provide the tenant with extra amenities. Although, the landlord has a contractual responsibility to service appliances that are already installed in the unit.

Unsanitary Conditions That All Landlords Should Avoid:

Landlords are responsible for making the rental a habitable place for the tenants; this means that they should know what unsanitary conditions mean. They should know about trash and junk removal and should appoint a service that promptly removes all debris and junk from the premises. Whether they ask the tenants to pay for the service or pay the cost, the trash should be removed regularly, so the place is habitable. If the rental property has asbestos or lead paint, they should let the tenants know and make amends as room as possible.

Apart from that, a huge concern is rodents and mold, but that's a legal grey area because these two conditions can occur both at the hand of the tenant and landlord. So it's hard to pinpoint the blame on either. This is the reason the tenants share the expense of getting rid of both m the property.


For both tenants and landlords, mold is a controversial issue. As mold in any kind or form is unhealthy for the people living in the house, it's one thing that can't be tolerated under any circumstance. Mold can spread pretty fast, and it can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people as well. It is also dangerous and toxic; hence any dwelling with mold counts as inhabitable. A huge reason for mold is poor ventilation, wall cracks, inadequate plumbing, and leaking pipes. These are the maintenance issues that every landlord should take care of people renting out the property.

It's a fact that mold of any kind doesn't appear in a structurally able property; however, there have been cases where mold accumulated because the tenants were extremely unhygienic. In such situations, it's pretty clear that it's not the landlord's fault, but again it's extremely hard to blame the tenants. Hence, most of the time, the landlord is responsible for the removal of mold from the property and make it habitable.

Rodents and other Pesticides:

Any kind of infestation before the tenants move in is the responsibility of the landlord. We understand that some tenants are irresponsible, and it's because of them the problem might have started in the first place. Rodents and other creepy crawlies are attracted due to food lying around uncovered. However, as landlords, you are responsible for taking care of any holes or any cracks that rodents use as their doorway to get in the house.

No matter whose fault the rodent issue is the maintenance and extermination is largely the responsibility of the landlord. However, even after a ton of effort, the rodents come back due to the negligence of the tenant; the landlord can seek legal advice.

Fire Alarms:

According to a great number of states, rental property isn't habitable or livable of there are no smoke detectors or fire exists installed. As the manager of the property, you should be aware of the FEMA, a state-by-state guide on fire and smoke detectors. Also, it's required by the state to have an emergency exist in every room.


Apart from the conditions mentioned above, any maintenance issues that make the rental property inhabitable are also the responsibility of the landlord. Like a burst pipe that may end up flooding the place.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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