The County is not a referee for tenant-landlord disputes. Generally these disputes are best resolved between the renter and property owner. The General Rule for maintenance of rented properties as presented by the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs is: “When a landlord rents an apartment or a house to a tenant (renter), the rented property must be fit to live in. In other words, the rented property must be “habitable.” During the time that the property is being rented, the landlord must do maintenance work and make repairs which are necessary to keep it habitable. However, the landlord is not responsible to the tenant for repairing damage caused by the tenant, or the tenant’s guest, children or pets.”

For information about your rights and suggestions on ways to resolve housing complaints between tenants and landlords, the State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs, 400 R Street, Suite 3090 Sacramento CA 95814-6200 (800) 952-5210 has published several guidelines: LT-3, LT-6 and LT-8 or additional assistance may be available through the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance Center, 615 California Avenue, Bakersfield, CA (661) 325-5943.

If you believe that you are being discriminated against, you can contact the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance Center at the above location or the Kern County Department of Housing, in the Community Development Program Department at (661) 862-5050 at 2700 M Street, Suite 250, Bakersfield, CA 93301. You can also e-mail them at

If you have contacted your landlord and they are unwilling to make the property habitable, within the limits of their responsibility, you can submit a complaint through the County’s Code Compliance Unit.