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What you should know about temporary displacement

Is the property you are renting due for extensive repairs?  As a tenant, your landlord is obliged to make the property safe and habitable. Your landlord might request you to move out on a temporary basis as he deals with the issue. But does that mean your landlord can prevent you from reoccupying the property after repairs have been made? The easy answer is no.

According to this article, temporary displacement does not eliminate your right as a tenant to reoccupy the property after extensive repairs.  Continue reading to learn more about temporary displacement and how you (and your landlord) can protect your interests should the situation arise.

What is temporary displacement?

Temporary displacement usually occurs if the property you are occupying is in dire need of extensive repairs. According to the California Civil Code article 1954, the landlord must have unobstructed access to the property in order to make the necessary repairs. This includes asking you, the tenant, to move out of the property for a couple of days until it’s been made habitable and safe again.

In such situations, you can terminate the lease.

If you don’t see the point of keeping your lease while repairs are being made, you may opt to terminate the lease and look for another place to live. This is completely fine and is well within your rights as a tenant. After all, it’s creating unnecessary stress and problems on your part.  If you do, however, decide to keep the lease and move out for the time being, your landlord will prorate the rent for the number of days that the property is uninhabitable.

Aside from making repairs, the landlord is also responsible for your costs during the temporary displacement.

If you decide to keep the lease and agree to be temporarily displaced, your landlord must cover your costs through the whole duration of your displacement. This is usually the case, unless you and your landlord mutually agree otherwise.  This includes your accommodations, pet boarding (if necessary,) meals (if a kitchen is unavailable in your temporary accommodation) and any other related housing expenses made because of the displacement.

Having an insurance policy may serve as your protection as a tenant.

Before you commit to renting a property, it might be a wise decision to carry an insurance policy which covers any loss of goods, personal property, business, injury and even life on the premises.  Remember that your landlord does not have any responsibility for your personal property whatsoever, but you can insure it in case of an emergency.   

If you are a landlord, consider getting insurance as well.

Having  insurance on your property can help cover the repairs, improvements and alterations on the building depending on the coverage. Policies can include coverage for replacement cost of your personal property and also loss of rent due to fire, vandalism and other accidents that can make your property unsanitary and uninhabitable.  Most lenders require insurance as a mandatory loan condition.

Should a tent incur any injuries on the property, an insurance’s liability clause can also protect you from instances where the injuries are self-sustained and done with malicious intentions.

Remember to read your policy and review the terms of coverage.

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