What does the term "Habitability" mean and how does it affect me and my property?

temp-post-imageOne question that owners in California frequently face is whether they must provide air conditioning in a rental unit, and if so, whether and how quickly they must repair a broken air conditioner. While a functional heating system is required for habitability under statue, air conditioning is not listed as required and is typically considered an amenity. However, if the rental unit is in a geographic area that frequently and normally experiences high temperatures (such as the Coachella Valley), a tenant may be able to make an argument that the rental unit is not habitable without air conditioning. Tenants who have elderly or disabled household members may also argue that not having air conditioning is a health safety issue.