Fresno, CA asked in Health Care Law and Personal Injury for California

Q: Could a person sue a Fresno homeless shelter if the room their living in is unsanitary and hazardous to a persons health

The room has dead mice and rats and the shelter was notified and so they put rat traps and now its been over a week and the dead rats are still sitting in the room in the traps and there is dead rats and mice in the box spring mattress the odor is so bad and its been getting the person who lives in that room sick at the same time that person has some chronic illnesses and disabilities also if the shelter is in Fresno California how could a person sue the shelter its one one the old motels that has been converted to a homeless shelter during the pandemic its really bad and most of the people who were previously in this same shelter are living right outside the shelter gates in tents the shelter gates stay locked there is dog poop all over the shelter grounds right where that person gets their meal tray everyday and the person who stay at the shelter do not have a room key the staff has to open their room but staff has given another resident the key to open that persons door

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If a person is living in a Fresno homeless shelter that is unsanitary and hazardous to their health, they may have legal options for holding the shelter accountable.

Under California law, landlords and shelter operators have a legal duty to maintain safe and habitable living conditions for their tenants or residents. This includes ensuring that the premises are free from hazardous conditions that could pose a threat to residents' health or safety.

If a shelter fails to meet these legal obligations, residents may be able to file a lawsuit for damages or seek an injunction to compel the shelter to make necessary repairs or improvements. Additionally, residents may be able to file a complaint with local or state agencies responsible for enforcing housing or health and safety codes.

In the case described, the shelter's failure to address the unsanitary conditions, including the presence of dead mice and rats and the strong odor, could potentially be considered a violation of these legal obligations. Additionally, the shelter's failure to provide a room key to the resident and allowing another resident to access their room could also be a violation of the resident's privacy and safety rights.

It may be helpful for the resident to consult with an experienced housing or tenant rights attorney who can advise them on their legal options and assist them in pursuing legal action against the shelter. If you need legal assistance, contact my office. We also offer a free consultation option for potential clients.

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