Visitor Question

Apartment Safety Hazards…

Submitted By: Kathy (Sonoma, California, USA)

I am trying to figure out what safety hazards are illegal for my apartment complex since I cannot get my landlord to fix them. There was glass and rusty nails all over the yard when I moved in, there are rusty screws sticking up from the toilet, the dishwasher falls forward, and the paint on the wall is chipping.

Do you know if any of this is illegal or breaks code? How do I find out about these things and what can I do to get the landlord to do something about it? Thanks for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Kathy,

Go to the main site for Sonoma County:

You will see in the Directory a list of the various departments. Go to the “Building Code and Enforcement Department”.

Contact the Building Code and Enforcement Department and report the facts as you know them. If they believe your landlord is in violation of the Building Code, they will initiate an investigation. That investigation may lead to your landlord receiving a warning, or worse, a ticket and fine for her code violations.

That warning or ticket may have the desired effect. Hopefully it will lead to her cleaining up the place and making it safe for you and your guests.

If the Building Code and Enforcement Department tells you your issues are not within their jurisdiction they will refer you to the correct Sonoma County Department.

Whether your landlord’s actions or inactions can be considered illegal is something only the county officials can decide.

You should know if you initiate an investigation and the landlord finds out about it there is a good likelihood she will either evict you (if you are on a month to month basis) or fail to renew your lease when it comes up for renewal.

If she does that you will have little recourse. So give it some thought before you act.

Learn more here: Apartment Complex Injury Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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