Desert residents know just how hot it can get. However, even if they have learned to acclimate to the highs and lows of the desert temperature, extreme heat can still be deadly for any human being. While it is advisable to hydrate regularly and stay indoors to avoid direct sun exposure, buildings in the desert might be the exception, especially when those buildings do not have operable cooling systems and adequate ventilation.
Concrete, asphalt and other materials used in building construction can absorb and release heat and can exacerbate desert living conditions. Californians are dying in their homes because of heat waves, and it is time to do something about it. Desert residents should understand premises liability and how to hold their landlords accountable.
Landlords must provide a safe living environment
Landlords are legally responsible for keeping the units they lease to tenants habitable. They are liable for what happens in the premises they own and lease. According to California law, landlords should maintain the premises they own and make repairs when necessary. Therefore, if a tenant requests the landlord to fix or replace an air conditioner provided in the unit, the landlord should do it. When a landlord fails to maintain utilities, and it causes heat-related injury or wrongful death, a tenant can file a lawsuit against them.
Desert residents have a right to a safe living environment
California habitability laws do not require a landlord to provide an air conditioning unit in their rental units, but they should maintain existing utilities and at least have proper ventilation. The landlord should ensure that the building they own and the units they put in the rental market are reasonably fit for human habitation and occupancy.