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Renterís Checklist


Tour the Location Before You Rent or Lease

Graphic of chair.Conversions

Was the living area converted from a garage or attic? Most garages, attics, sheds and basements do not meet safety codes.

Ceilings must be a minimum height of  7.5 feet. If the room has a sloping ceiling, one half of the room must be taller than 7.5 feet.

Ventilation must be provided either by windows or by a mechanical system.

Graphic of fireplace.Heating

Is heating provided? The heating system must be able to maintain a room temperature of 70 degrees. Portable heaters do not meet this requirement. Before using gas appliances, have the gas company check them for safety.

Water heaters must not be located in bathrooms or in any room which is used for sleeping.

Graphic of window.Maintenance

Does it appear that the dwelling unit has been properly maintained? Look for exposed wiring, tacked-on extension cords or overloaded outlets. Inspect for charring around outlets, fixtures or appliance vents. Smoke detectors must be installed.

Donít miss signs of obvious disrepair such as broken windows, warped or loose floor boards or stairs.

Graphic of open sardine can.Overcrowding

Do overcrowded conditions exist at the residence? You may be forced to move out if overcrowded conditions violate zoning or safety codes.

If you rent or lease a home in the R-1 or R-2 zones, certain standards apply. The standards include number of bathrooms, parking requirements and square footage per person. A permit is required if over five adults occupy the residence.

Graphic of door.Exiting

Does the dwelling provide a direct exit to outside or to a corridor? Bedrooms must have at least one window that is large enough (six square feet for an adult to easily crawl through in case of emergency.

All apartments must have a door to the outside that is at least 3 feet wide.

Graphic of garage.Parking

Is there sufficient parking provided off the street? Parking in front yards, on lawns or other yard areas is not allowed. A residence in the R-1 zone is required to provide at least one covered parking space.

Substandard housing conditions should be reported to the Cityís Community Development Department at (805) 781-7172.

Your Safety Comes First

The City enforces Zoning Regulations and Building Safety Codes. But this doesnít prevent illegal construction or conversions from occurring. By renting or leasing a residence that does not comply with safety codes, you may be living in an unsafe environment. Though the landlord or owner is at fault for breaking safety codes, you may be forced to move for safety reasons should the city determine that living conditions are unsafe.

This checklist provides you with useful criteria for evaluating the safety of a residence. Consider these conditions before renting or leasing. If you have any questions about this checklist, contact the Community Development Department of the City of San Luis Obispo.

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