In California, a rental or a lease agreement can either be oral or written. Once a tenancy has been established, California law (CA Civil Code 1940-1954.05) grants both parties certain rights and responsibilities
As a landlord, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of your tenant for a smooth experience.
The following is a basic overview of what you should know regarding California landlord-tenant law.
Required Disclosures of a Landlord in California
California tenants have a legal right to know certain things about a unit before they can sign the lease. As a landlord, you must let them know the following mandatory disclosures.
- Information regarding the presence of lead based paint. This is required of landlords leasing out homes built before 1978.
- Information regarding the presence of bed bugs. You must use a specific language as outlined in Civ. Code §§ 1954.603.
- Information regarding any known mold.
- Disclosure how you are going to apply utility fees and how they are going to be shared between the various tenants.
- Disclosure of asbestos knowledge. This applies to landlords renting out buildings built prior to 1979.
- Disclosure about any death that has occurred in the unit within the past three years.
- Disclosure of whether the property is located within one mile of a known location with explosive risk.
- Disclosure of the landlord’s plan to carry out a demolition that may impact the tenancy.
- Disclosure of the tenant’s right to have access to the sex offender registry.
- Disclosure about the application of a pesticide on the unit.
- Disclosure on whether the property is located in a known flood zone.
- Disclosure on whether there is a smoking policy.
California Tenant Rights
The following are some of the rights that tenants in California have:
- Live in peace with quiet enjoyment.
- Live in habitable rental premises.
- Be provided with proper notice prior to terminating a periodic agreement.
- Continue remaining in the property until the landlord has followed the proper eviction process.
- Receive their deposit, with the allotted deductions, within 21 days of vacating the property.
- Break the lease legally and without penalty for certain legally justified reasons.
- Be notified prior to a rent increase.
- Be treated fairly and equally as per the California Fair Housing laws.
- Be provided with 24-hour advance notice prior to a landlord entry.
California Tenant Responsibilities
California tenants must abide by the following responsibilities:
- Not disturb the peace of other tenants.
- Make small repairs and maintenance.
- Use the premises for its intended purposes.
- Keep fixtures clean and in sanitary conditions.
- Keep the unit clean and habitable.
California Landlord Rights
Some of the rights landlords have in California include the following:
- Require a security deposit from a tenant as part of the move-in costs.
- Require all tenants to sign a lease agreement prior to moving in.
- Evict a tenant for violating any term of the lease agreement.
- Terminate a tenant’s lease on a periodic lease agreement with proper notice.
- Raise rent as long as it abides by rent control rules and state law.
- Enter a tenant’s unit to carry out important responsibilities, such as to inspect the unit or respond to an emergency.
California Landlord Responsibilities
Landlord’s in California have the following responsibilities:
- Provide tenants with mandatory disclosures.
- Provide tenants with a notice of at least 24 hours prior to entering their rented premises.
- Abide by the California anti discrimination laws.
- Abide by the state’s security deposit rules.
- Provide tenants with proper notice prior to terminating their periodic tenancy.
- Follow the state’s eviction process when evicting a tenant for a lease violation.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in California
California tenants have a right to privacy. A landlord cannot just barge in unannounced; they must notify the tenant first.
As a landlord, you must provide the tenant with 24-hour advance notice prior to accessing their rented unit. The only exception here is if you’re responding to an emergency that is threatening the tenant’s health or safety.
Maintenance and Repairs
As a landlord, you have a duty of providing your tenant with a habitable rental property. Among other things, the dwelling must have the following.
- Proper dwelling structures
- Functioning windows and doors
- Running cold and hot water
- A working HVAC system
- Proper plumbing and sanitation facilities
Additionally, you must respond to repair requests within 30 days (or sooner for emergency situations). Failure to do so may grant your tenants certain rights. Such as, the right to withhold rent or repair the issues themselves and make appropriate deductions from future rent payments.
Housing Discrimination Laws
Landlords have the responsibility to treat their tenants fairly and respectfully. The state’s fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against their tenants based on several protected classes.
The protected classes include the 7 federally protected classes, as well as marital status, immigration status, gender identity, citizenship status, ancestry, source of income, and sexual orientation.
Whereas landlords have a right to collect a security deposit in California, they are bound by certain rules. Some of the rules include the following:
- Not charging a security deposit exceeding two months’ rent.
- Only making deductions for legitimate reasons, such as when damage exceeds normal wear and tear.
- Returning the deposit within 21 days after the tenant has left.
Renters’ Rights to Withhold Rent
A California tenant has the right to withhold rent if the landlord does not act on requested repairs. They can also make the repairs themselves and deduct the costs from future rent payments.
The information presented in this article is what you need to know to become familiar with California landlord-tenant laws. If you still have a question or need expert help in managing your property, Graf Property Management can help. We’re among the top property management companies in Carlsbad, California. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may become obsolete at the time you read it. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company