Maintenance and Repair Requests by Tenants

Tenants who believe their rental housing unit needs repair are required to notify the rental property owner and/or their property manager verbally or in writing as required by CA Civil Code 1942(a). It is highly recommended that a written notice be prepared to avoid any verbal misunderstandings or he said/she said situations which provide legal challenges and loopholes in administrative and court proceedings.

The notice should be in the form of a letter, which can be typed or handwritten and shall contain the following:

    Detail the problem(s) and/or repair(s) that are needed;

    Provide a reasonable period of time for the repairs to be made, the law considers 30 days to be reasonable;

    A shorter time period which is less than 30 days may be considered reasonable under the law for repair(s) that require immediate attention. 

The City has provided the following Request for Repair form as a courtesy for tenants to use:

The tenant must sign and date the letter. The letter should be mailed to the rental property owner and/or property manager by certified mail (return receipt requested). Mailing the letter by certified mail is not required by law, but is highly recommended. Tenants have the burden of producing evidence that the rental property owner and/or property manager has breached the habitability requirements so keep a copy of the letter for your record. To file a complaint with Code Enforcement regarding habitability issues, please provide a copy of the maintenance and repair request form you sent to the rental property owner and/or property manager.

Retaliation is against the law:

A rental property owner or its property manager may NOT evict or threaten any action or proceeding, cause the tenant to quit involuntarily, increase the rent, or decrease any services within 180 days because the tenant is exercising a legal right*, such as requesting habitability maintenance and repairs. 

Tenants may protect their legal rights by filing a civil action with the court against the landlord. Tenants can also contact the Housing Rights Center for assistance with landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, housing discrimination issues, security deposits, evictions, repairs, rent increases, harassment, reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, and more. 

*Pursuant to CA Civil Code Section 1942.5

Tenants may file a complaint with Code Enforcement:

1)    The tenant has provided the landlord and/or the property manager with a written letter about the request for repair(s) to the rental unit; and 

2)    The tenant provided a reasonable period of time and access for the repairs to be made.

If the tenant followed the steps above and the request for repair(s) were not completed by the rental property owner and/or its property manager, then a complaint may be filed with Code Enforcement. 

The tenant will be required to provide a copy of the written letter that was mailed to the rental property owner and/or property manager. 

Code Enforcement will evaluate the complaint and the tenant’s written letter to verify if the request for repair(s) complies with the requirements contained in CA Civil Code 1941.1. Complaints that do not violate the law will not be investigated and will be classified as a civil issues. Civil issues may be resolved through the tenant filing a civil court action against the rental property owner.

Rental Property Owner/Tenant Counseling and Resources:

The Housing Rights Center provides free telephone and in-person counseling to both tenants and rental property owners regarding their rights and responsibilities under California law and local city ordinances. Housing Counselors are trained in landlord/tenant laws and are able to inform clients of a wide-range of actions they can take to enforce their rights. 

Housing Counselors are well versed on issues regarding rent increases, evictions, security deposits, repairs and much more.

Contact information:

Housing Rights Center – Office Telephone Number (800) 477-5977

Office located at 1020 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena California 91103


Alhambra Walk-in Clinic are located in the Alhambra Civic Center Library – 101 S. First Street, Alhambra CA 91801, on every Friday of each month (except the 5th Friday of the month) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. No appointments necessary.