PA 17-171—HB 6881

Housing Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROVISION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES BY LANDLORDS

SUMMARY: This act allows tenants to procure reasonable substitute housing starting 48 hours, rather than two business days, after a landlord fails to provide required essential services such as heat, hot water, or electricity. If a landlord committed the same breach within the previous six months for the same essential service, existing law, unchanged by the act, allows a tenant to procure the substitute housing immediately. A tenant need not pay rent during the noncompliance period and can recover the cost of substitute housing, up to the amount of rent abated.

By law, tenants may also (1) procure the essential service during the landlord's noncompliance period and deduct its actual and reasonable cost from future rent payments or (2) terminate a rental agreement if the landlord's failure is willful, and recover up to two months' rent or double the actual damages, whichever is greater.

In all cases, existing law requires the tenant to properly notify the landlord and specify the breach. The protections apply only when the landlord's failure is not caused by conditions beyond his or her control.

Generally, “tenant” means a lessee, sublessee, or person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit or premises; “landlord” means an owner, lessor, or sublessor of a dwelling unit or premises. For purposes of a tenant's remedies for a landlord's failure to provide essential services, existing law and the act include in these definitions mobile manufactured home park (1) residents (both owners and renters) and (2) owners and licensees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017