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Substandard Buildings

As defined by California Health and Safety Code (H&SC), Section 17920.3, a substandard building is any building or portion thereof in which certain conditions exist to the extent that it endangers the health and safety of its occupants or the public. Following is a list of those conditions:

Inadequate sanitation due to a lack of, or improper:

  • bathroom facilities in a dwelling unit
  • bathroom facilities per number of hotel guests
  • kitchen sink
  • hot and cold running water
  • adequate heating
  • operation of required ventilating equipment
  • minimum amounts of natural light and ventilation required by H&SC 17920.3
  • room and space dimensions as required by H&SC 17920.3
  • required electrical lighting
  • connection to required sewage disposal system

Dampness, general dilapidation or improper maintenance constitute substandard housing if the condition endangers the health and safety of the occupants or the public. In cases of insect/rodent infestation and inadequate garbage storage and removal, a health officer must determine the health and safety risk.

Structural hazards, including:

  • deteriorated or inadequate foundations
  • flooring or floor supports which is/are defective, deteriorated or insufficient to carry imposed loads with safety
  • walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that split, lean, list or buckle due to defective material or deterioration, or are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety
  • ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports, or other horizontal supports which sag, split, or buckle due to defective material or deterioration, or are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety
  • fireplaces or chimneys which list, bulge, or settle due to defective material or deterioration, or are of insufficient size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety

Any nuisance which endangers the health and safety of the occupants or the public.

All substandard plumbing, wiring, and/or mechanical equipment, unless it conformed to all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and has been maintained in a good and safe condition. All plumbing work must be free of cross-connections and siphonage between fixtures.

Faulty weather protection, including:

  • deteriorated, crumbling, or loose plaster
  • deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roof, foundations, or floors, including broken windows or doors
  • broken, rotted, split, or buckled exterior wall coverings or roof coverings

The use of construction materials not allowed or approved by H&SC 17920.3.

Fire, health and safety hazards (as determined by the appropriate fire or health official), including the accumulation of:

  • weeds, vegetation or combustible materials
  • junk, debris or garbage
  • offal or dead organic matter
  • rodent harborages
  • stagnant water

Lack of, or inadequate fire-resistive construction or fire-extinguishing systems as required by H&SC 17920.3, unless the construction and/or systems conformed to all applicable laws in effect at the time of construction and/or installation and whose fire-resistive integrity and fire-extinguishing systems have been adequately maintained and improved in relation to any increase in occupant load, alteration or addition or any change in occupancy.

Inadequate structural resistance to horizontal forces.

Buildings or portions thereof occupied for living, sleeping, cooking, or dining purposes which were not designed or intended to be used for such occupancies.

Inadequate maintenance which causes a building or any portion thereof to be declared unsafe.