Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Both landlords and tenants in California have certain responsibilities when it comes to light bulbs.
California’s “Implied Warranty of Habitability” (CA Civ. Code § 1941.2) requires landlords to provide a habitable living space for tenants. Which includes, providing and replacing light bulbs.
The following are answers to commonly asked questions regarding whether landlords are responsible for light bulbs in California.
What responsibilities do landlords have for light bulbs in California?
California law requires landlords to not only provide, but also maintain light fixtures in a rental property. The specific types of light fixtures a landlord must provide will, however, vary depending on the rental unit’s size and layout.
But generally speaking, a landlord must provide adequate lighting fixtures for your own safety and security.
Generally speaking, a landlord must ensure that there is at least one lighting fixture in every room. Including, the living room, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, hallway, garage, and all the exterior common areas.
Landlords are also responsible for changing light bulbs in hard-to-reach fixtures, fixtures that are part of essential appliances, and fixtures that use specialized bulbs such as halogen bulbs.
If the landlord fails to provide adequate lighting, you may be able to exercise some legal options. Including, breaking the lease without penalty, suing the landlord for damages, or withholding further rent payments.
With that in mind, the following are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to a landlord’s responsibility for light bulbs in California.
- Your landlord doesn’t have to provide expensive lighting fixtures. The law only requires that they provide adequate lighting and ensure the lighting fixtures are in good working condition.
- As a tenant, you are responsible for replacing burnt-out bulbs during the term of the tenancy.
- A tenant must always seek the landlord’s permission when replacing light bulbs.
What responsibilities do tenants have for light bulbs in California?
Usually, the lease will outline all the responsibilities a tenant has when it comes to maintaining or replacing light bulbs.
But generally speaking, tenants are responsible for replacing burned-out light bulbs in their rental unit, unless the lease states otherwise. This may include replacing burned-out light bulbs that are affixed to the ceilings and walls.
As a renter, you are also responsible for replacing light bulbs in any personal lighting that you have brought to the property.
However, if the light bulbs are located in a hard-to-reach area, such as in hard-to-access fixtures or high ceilings, then the responsibility may shift back to the landlord.
The following are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to tenants’ responsibilities for light bulbs in California.
- You must replace light bulbs immediately to avoid creating a safety hazard.
- You are not responsible for repairing or replacing light bulbs that are damaged by normal wear and tear. For instance, a light bulb that burns out before its expected lifespan.
Do I have to replace light bulbs before moving out?
It depends on the terms of the lease agreement. But generally speaking, tenants are only responsible for replacing light bulbs that burn out during the term of the tenancy.
A few exceptions do exist, though. For instance, if the light bulbs are part of essential services or are in hard-to-reach places.
It is always a good idea to understand the terms of the lease agreement in order to know what your responsibilities for light bulbs are. And whenever you are unsure, you can always reach out to your landlord for clarification.
You may want to keep the following things in mind.
- Replace all burned-out light bulbs before moving out. This will help avoid any security deposit deductions when it comes to light bulbs.
- If taking any light bulb with you, make sure that it is yours.
Both the tenant and landlord are responsible for light bulbs in California. Read the lease to know what to expect from the landlord and what responsibilities you have to replace them. And if anything is unclear, make sure to contact your landlord for clarification.
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.