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Conditions to Watch Out for if You Suspect that You Are Living in a Slum House

Everyone deserves to live in safe housing. And if you are paying rent to someone, they are required to ensure that your home is safe. If they fail to do so, that makes them a slumlord.

Sadly, despite regulations to protect renters, California has more than its fair share of slumlords. These are people who intentionally defy California safety and environmental regulations just to make a few more dollars. When renting a home or apartment, watch carefully for signs that your new landlord is renting you a slum house.

Signs of Vermin

One of the more common signs that you are living in a slum house is any sign of vermin infesting the home. You obviously have a vermin problem if you see mice, rats, or cockroaches anywhere in your house. But even if you don’t see critters, you might be infested by vermin if you discover:

  • Droppings
  • Holes in the walls
  • Unexpected damage to your possessions (particularly clothing)
  • Unexplained sounds of movement

Most vermin carry diseases that can harm you, your family members, or your pets. And if they have infested your home, it could cost thousands of dollars to permanently drive out these pests. This is a cost your landlord should be paying for.


Another common sign that you are living in a slum house is mold. Mold will usually be found in locations that have running water, like a bathroom or your kitchen. If you see mold growing on any surface, that is a significant danger that your landlord should correct.

Unfortunately, mold isn’t always visible. Many landlords will hide mold by painting over it rather than clearing it and preventing it from returning. Mold can also be hiding in places that aren’t easily visible. When your landlord hides a mold infestation from you, they are violating your right to live in a safe home.

Poor Heating

As strange as it may seem in California, poor heating can make a home unlivable. While San Diego is warm or hot for most of the year, it can get quite frigid during the winter months. And when it does finally get cold, you need to be able to warm up your home.

If your home isn’t properly insulated or has a poorly functioning heating system, it will effectively be an ice box during the winter months. Freezing temperatures are dangerous to anyone living in the home.

Alternatively, some landlords have complete control over when the heating starts working and how well it will heat the home. If a landlord is intentionally keeping your home at unlivable levels of heat, you will need to take action to protect yourself and your family.

Even more frustrating, unless you move into the home during the winter, this is a problem that you may not be aware of until months after switching homes. And discovering that you can’t properly heat your home when you need warmth can be disastrous.


Most landlords require you to sign meticulously detailed contracts, screen all tenants, and use only professional maintenance workers. If your landlord isn’t doing these things, they are probably a slumlord.

One of the clearest signs is if your landlord specifically requires you to pay your rent in cash. Most honest landlords have implemented online payment options that speed up rental payments and make paying rent more convenient for all parties. Anyone who isn’t doing this is probably trying to hide money.

Next Steps to Take

If you see any of these signs that you are living in a slum house in San Diego, CA, you should speak to an environmental lawyer at Thompson Injury Law immediately. Give us a call today to learn more about your rights.

About the Author
Anthony D. Thompson joined his father in the practice of law in 2004. Prior to his legal education, Anthony worked in Los Angeles in the field of multimedia entertainment. He also co-founded his own company based on wireless/satellite mapping solutions.