Laws vary from state to state as to the heat regulations in a rental property. In California, there is not a set temperature that it mus be kept at, but it is clearly stated that the home must be inhabitable. If the weather outside is at a freezing temperature and the heating system does not work, this can negatively affect the tenant living there. Broken windows and ineffective weather protections may also be an issue when it comes to this.
Of course, the tenant must notify the landlord of the issue. The tenant has a few options if the landlord does not make repairs in a timely fashion. The tenant may choose to make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent, or they may simply withhold rent until the problem is fixed. If things go very poorly with this, they may even report the situation to the building inspector or vacate the premise if they feel they cannot live there due to the conditions.
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