Substandard Housing


As of 2018 the Building Division was given the responsibility of administering the California Health and Safety Code 17920.3, the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) and the 1997 Uniform Housing Code (UHC). These housing codes set standards for premises, structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, a reasonable level of safety from fire and other hazards, and for a reasonable level of sanitary maintenance.

How it Works

If you are a tenant living in substandard conditions described in the IPMC or UHC you can report a case of substandard housing by calling 707-445-7245. Owners may also report a case if they believe the tenant is causing substandard conditions. In these cases, the tenant will be held responsible for corrective measures. Keep in mind that the owner or the owner's authorized agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of buildings, structures, and premises (IPMC §102.2).

Once a case is reported an inspector will make a site visit to verify the reported substandard conditions. If substandard conditions are found, the responsible party is given a list of corrective actions and a timeline for those actions to be completed. If the tenant was not found responsible for the substandard conditions and the inspector found the conditions hazardous enough to constitute a vacate order (no occupancy allowed), the tenant will be entitled to Tenant Relocation Assistance.

If no action is taken to address the corrective actions the case will be referred to the Code Enforcement Division for further proceedings (see Prosecution of Violation below). If the corrective actions are taken the substandard housing case will be removed.

Right of Entry (IPMC §105.3)

Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or whenever the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition in violation of this code, the code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises is occupied the code official shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry. If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the code official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner, owner's authorized agent or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.

Transfer of Ownership (IPMC §111.6)

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner or the owner's authorized agent shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the code official and shall furnish to the code official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation.

Prosecution of Violation (IPMC §109.3)

Any person failing to comply with a notice of violation or order served in accordance with Section 111.4 shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor or civil infraction as determined by the local municipality, and the violation shall be deemed a strict liability offense. If the notice of violation is not complied with, the code official shall institute the appropriate proceeding at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation, or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the structure in violation of the provisions of this code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto. Any action taken by the authority having jurisdiction on such premises shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.