Tenant Services Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a substandard home?

A substandard home is one that does not meet the minimum standards of the Uniform Housing Code or may be dangerous for other reasons. Typical health and safety issues include:

  • Lack of weatherproofing;
  • Lack of heating in habitable rooms;
  • Lack of adequate plumbing or sanitation;
  • Failed septic system;
  • Hazardous electrical connections;
  • Broken or missing banisters on a staircase with 3 or more steps;
  • Lack of smoke detectors;
  • Broken or sagging floors and ceilings;
  • Lack of a secondary exit (such as a window that can be easily reached) in a sleeping area;
  • Installation of a pressurized hot water heater in a bedroom;
  • Unpermitted structural work

If you are renting a substandard home and the landlord refuses to make repairs in a timely manner, please document all your contacts in writing, save all correspondence and inform Department of Planning & Building staff. Do not withhold rent without first contacting an attorney or consulting a tenant rights handbook.