Renters Resources


For emergency assistance contact the American Red Cross of Santa Barbara County at or contact Pam Voge at (805) 687-1331 x 107.


If you are a renter and your home is materially damaged, you must notify your landlord of the needed repairs and give them a reasonable time frame to complete them in. Your landlord is responsible for the repairs at their expense. If the repairs are not made within that set time frame, you may need to terminate you lease. If you have a written lease and wish to terminate it, make sure to have your lease checked with a professional before taking any further actions.

If you are a renter, and your home has serious damage, know that your landlord has the right to terminate your written lease, unless otherwise specified. You, as the renter may also terminate your lease in the case of serious damage. Under California law, your a lease is terminated when the rental unit is destroyed, unless the lease states otherwise. To terminate your lease,

  • Check your lease for special agreements regarding damage 
  • Make a list of the damage to the unit
  • Photograph or videotape the unit
  • Have reliable witnesses view the damage
  • Obtain any FEMA inspection reports
  • Request a building inspection by your city and obtain the report
  • Give you landlord written notice including copies of the above documentation and stating that the unit is no longer habitable.

Unless your landlord previously made repairs to your unit because of misuse of the property, you are entitled to the return of your deposit in full. In that case, you may also want to give your landlord written notice requesting the return of your deposit.