Phone Consultation: (213) 516-4165 or (323) 648-6602

Unsafe and Unhealthy Housing Attorney

Many tenants still face unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions from a landlord’s or manager’s neglect and refusal to make timely repairs.  As a result, families and their children are forced to live in slum conditions that include rats, mice, cockroaches, bedbugs, peeling lead-based paint, lack of heat, no hot water, rainwater leaks, plumbing leaks, mold and broken windows.

Families and Children Suffer in Slum Conditions

These unsafe and unhealthy conditions have physical, psychological and emotional impacts.  Family members suffer from colds, flus and respiratory infections due to the damp and moldy living conditions.  They develop allergic reactions to cockroaches, bedbugs and mold that trigger asthma, skin rashes and sinus problems.

Vulnerable family members with health issues such as diabetes, heart problems, kidney disease, cancer and/or weakened immune systems can experience a significant exacerbation in their underlying health problems.

A home is supposed to be a source of comfort, rest and peace.  For too many tenants however, their home is a source of significant on-going, daily stress.  This chronic toxic stress from living in unsafe and unhealthy housing results in severe emotional distress including depression, anxiety, lack of a good night’s sleep and other health problems.

Most concerning is the fact that chronic toxic stress from slum housing is especially dangerous to young children.  Because a child’s brain is still developing, the constant stress experienced by young children from living in unsafe and unhealthy housing can have a significant impact on their neurological development.  Young children who are raised in slum housing can develop serious and permanent development delays, learning problems and behavioral issues.

First Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights

To protect your rights as a tenant you should consider taking the following steps:

  1. Call and make a complaint to the Los Angeles Housing Department at (866) 557-RENT and to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at (888) 700-9995.
  2. Place glue traps to catch cockroaches, mice and bedbugs as evidence for city and county inspectors.
  3. Take photos and videotape of all unhealthy and unsafe living conditions in your home.
  4. Make complaints about all of the problems to your landlord or apartment manager in writing and keep a copy.
  5. Contact an attorney to review your rights and legal options.

The Law Protects Tenants

California law requires owners of rental properties to provide their tenants with at least the minimum in safe and healthy housing. A rental unit must have heat, working appliances, adequate plumbing, protection from the outside elements such as rainwater and insects, free from all vermin such as rats, mice, cockroaches and bedbugs, functioning doors and windows and properly secured exterior doors.



Los Angeles Attorney Philip Shakhnis has represented many families and tenants and has obtained consequential and meaningful results for his clients. Mr. Shakhnis puts together a team of testifying experts that directly and forcefully explain the serious harm caused to families and children from a landlord’s failure to provide safe and healthy housing in compliance with applicable law.

  • $1,700,000 Lead Poisoning / Slum Housing Settlement

    A family of four with a lead poisoned child resided in slum housing that included deteriorated lead based paint, lack of heat, plumbing leaks and a severe cockroach infestation.  The lead poisoned child had a blood lead level as a ranging from 2 mcg/dl to  12 mcg/dl with neurocognitive deficits that included a severe speech and language delay, attention deficits and behavioral issues.

  • $1,675,000 Slum Housing Settlement

    Thirty-five tenants in 10 apartments resided in slum conditions that included cockroaches, rats, mold, plumbing leaks, lack of hot water, lack of heat and structural damage.

  • $1,450,000 Slum Housing Settlement

    Twenty-Six tenants in five apartments resided in slum conditions that included cockroaches, mold, plumbing leaks and lack of heat.  A young child with Down Syndrome was especially impacted with multiple bacterial infections from the unhealthy conditions.

  • $1,000,000 Lead Poisoning / Slum Housing Settlement

    A family resided in a rental home in slum conditions that included a deteriorated roof, lack of heat, rainwater leaks, mold, cockroach infestation, rat infestation and lead-based paint hazards. The youngest child suffered from a blood lead level of 5 mcg/dL and demonstrated developmental delays.

  • $985,925 Unhealthy Rental Housing Verdict

    A family residing in a rental home was exposed to lack of heat and a substantial mold contamination that caused sinus and respiratory health impacts to all family members. The mother of the family developed an Immune Complex Disorder triggered by the mold contamination in a water heater closet which caused a seizure and neurological damage. Link to Verdict.

  • $932,000 Slum Housing Settlement

    Tenants in three apartment units lived with lack of heat, cockroach infestation, plumbing leaks, mold, faulty plumbing and neglected common areas. Several tenants experienced an exacerbation of underlying health conditions from the daily stress of living in these unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

  • $825,000 Wrongful Eviction/Lead Poisoning Settlement

    A family was forced to move out of their rent-controlled apartment of many years after their young child was lead poisoned and the landlords refused to properly address the lead hazards. The child had an elevated blood lead level of 5 mcg/dL and demonstrated development delays.

  • $630,000 Lead Poisoning/Slum Housing Settlement

    A family resided in slum housing conditions that included deteriorated lead-based paint. The child development delays that included attention deficits.

  • $575,000 Unhealthy Housing

    A family resided in slum housing conditions that included deteriorated lead-based paint. The child developed delays that included learning problems and attention deficits.

(213) 516-4165 or (323) 648-6602