California Landlord-Tenant Laws

California Landlord Tenant Law

Do you know of any disruptive tenants or a landlord you just don’t know how to deal with? As a property owner, there are landlord laws and tenant laws that you have to consider. These laws are state and federal and do change with time from area to area and from state to state. Both landlords and tenants are to be sure that they are working within the confines of these laws and should know the law based on their state and should not be making any decisions based on what they think is right. There are tons of industries out there like the healthcare industry, the food industry, etc., that have laws they have to abide by, so as a landlord or a tenant, these are laws that you have to abide by also, and most importantly, it will keep you out of trouble. So in this post, we will be discussing California landlord-tenant law


What is a landlord-tenant law?

What is a landlord tenant law

A landlord-tenant law consists of laws that both the landlord and the tenant have to abide by and dictates the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenants. If you’re renting a property or room from someone, or maybe you’re the one renting the property or space, it’s your legal right and responsibility to know the laws that exist in your state. The landlord must be informed of all tenants living in the property, and each tenant must be named in the lease agreement. If a tenant decides to move out of the property or room before the end of the lease agreement, the landlord’s consent is required before the tenant can be replaced. 

The landlord must adhere to some obligations and responsibilities before a landlord/tenant relationship is formed or before the lease agreement ends. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Preparing a lease agreement
  • Preparing a report based on the condition of the property or room
  • Be sure the property is in a livable condition
  • Organizing repairs to the property

Throughout the tenant’s stay on the property, the landlord must also respect the tenant’s privacy. If the landlord wishes to enter the property, he or she must consider the relevant rules and notice period that applies.


What is California landlord-tenant law?

So let’s take a look at some of the landlord-tenant laws in the state of California as it pertains to residential rental properties. Before a lease agreement is signed, there are a few disclosures that the landlord needs to make. The disclosures include sex offenders, shared utilities, toxic mold, pest control, no-smoking policies, and notice of default. 

Let’s look at each of these disclosures and a few other landlord-tenant laws currently in California. Keep in mind that these laws are there to protect the rights of both landlord and tenants alike.



Sex Offender 

When preparing their rental agreements, a landlord must include the following language: ‘’Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and ZIP Code in which he or she resides. ’’


Shared Utilities 

The landlord has to state whether the gas or electric services within a tenant’s unit are used in other areas of the property and must also discuss cost distribution.


Toxic Mold

The landlord has to provide a written disclosure to the tenant to know that mold exists within the apartment or room and may pose a health threat. A consumer handbook from the state department of health services must be provided to the tenant outlining the dangers of mold exposure. 


Pest Control

After the rental agreement has been signed, the landlord has to inform the tenant of any pest control reports from the company that he or she has received. The pest control report must state whether the pest is controlled, what types of pesticides were used in the process, and their active ingredients. It must also say how often the pesticide will be used while in the apartment and outline its toxicity. 


No Smoking Policies

It must be stated in the lease agreement if the smoking of marijuana or tobacco is prohibited on the rental property. The landlord must also state clearly where the use of marijuana or tobacco must or mustn’t take place on the property. 


Notice of Default

A landlord who has received a notice of default of the rental property (single-family homes, multifamily properties of four units or less) and has not been rescinded must disclose this to potential tenants before signing the lease. 


Security Deposit Limit

If a property is unfurnished, a landlord can charge a tenant up to two months of rent as a security deposit and can charge up to three months of rent for a furnished unit. In addition, a landlord can charge an extra one-half month rent if the potential tenant has a waterbed. Non Refundable security deposits are not allowed. 


A landlord must return the security deposit within 21 days after the tenant has vacated the property. The landlord should also include an itemized statement of deductions out of the security deposit, such as repairs for damage to the property. Tenants must be given advance notice before taking any deductions.


Late Fees

A landlord can only enforce a late fee if it is included in the lease agreement. Late fees must be a reasonable estimate of the amount that the lateness of the payment will cost the landlord.


Increasing Rent

A landlord cannot increase the rent as a form of retaliation and must give 30 to 60 days’ notice if the increase is 10% or more of the lowest rent charged within a 12 month period. 


Withholding Rent

Tenants are allowed to withhold a reasonable amount of rent relative to the problem. However, tenants are not allowed to stop paying rent entirely unless the property becomes uninhabitable. A landlord must be paid a reasonable amount for a rental property even in its unfit condition.


Repair and Deduct

The tenant must notify the landlord of any severe problems with the property and allow the landlord to fix them. If the landlord fails to remedy the issues, the tenant may hire a professional to fix the problem (fix it themselves) and subtract the cost from the following month’s rent. There are a few caveats to keep in mind.


  • Tenants can’t have caused the problem, and it can’t be something that is the tenant’s responsibility.
  • Tenants can’t use the repair and deduct practice more than twice in a 12 month period.
  • Repairs can’t be more than one month’s rent.


Terminating Tenancy and Eviction

If the tenant is committing waste or a nuisance or engaging in illegal activities on the premises. In that case, the landlord can issue a three-day unconditional quit notice to vacate or face eviction. The landlord can issue a three-day conditional notice to cure or quit if there are other lease violations. This would allow the tenants to correct the issue. 


Right to Enter

A landlord should provide a tenant with 24 hours of notice before entry or 48 hours for the initial move-out inspection.


How Does It Affect Me As a Renter?

Landlord Tenant Laws in California

If you are from California or planning to move to California, you would be pleased to know that California is a very tenant-friendly state. In addition to those listed above, there are many laws and regulations that were put in place to protect the rights of tenants and the landlord. However, if you are not familiar with the laws and statutes to protect you as a renter, you may fall victim to a landlord who does not abide by the laws, and your rights could be violated. 


What Are My Rights As a Renter In California?

In California, you have rights as a tenant. Living in an uninhabitable apartment can be very dangerous. Here are some rights you have as a renter in California:

  • In California, a landlord is required to make sure that their rental property is habitable. The landlord is required to do regular maintenance and repairs on the apartment. 
  • California law states that the landlord is responsible for providing a safe environment for tenants. So the landlord must provide effective pest control to rid the apartment or property of any cockroaches, bedbugs, or mice. However, the tenant must co-operate with the pest control company. 
  • As a tenant, you have the right to do a walk-through and an inspection around the property with the landlord. If the tenant sees any problems with the apartment, he or she need to request in writing that the issues be fixed. A tenant should never accept to live in an uninhabitable apartment. 
  • If the tenant has a lease for more than 30 days or one year, the rent cannot be increased during the express term of that lease unless the lease allows for rental increases. However, if you’re on a month-to-month rental agreement, the landlord can increase the rent, but he or she must give proper notice in writing. 
  • Landlords must provide 24 hours’ written notice to enter an apartment. Still, a landlord can enter the apartment without notice only in case of an emergency or if the tenant agrees to the entry. 
  • As a tenant, you must have useable heat, utilities, and water, and the apartment must be free of pests. 


The Eviction Process in California

Eviction is the process of legally removing a tenant from your property or apartment. Let’s take a look at some of the eviction processes in California. 

Non-Payment of Rent

If a tenant is late on rent, the landlord can serve them a three-day notice to pay or quit. 

Curable Non-Compliance

If the tenant breaches their lease agreement, this notice gives the tenant three days to comply with the lease or leave the property. 

Incurable Non-Compliance

This notice is for any violations that the tenant isn’t given a chance to remedy. Such as any illegal acts. The tenant has three days to vacate the property.

Rent Grace Period

There is no rent grace period in California. Rent is due on the due date, and an eviction notice can be served if rent is one day late. 

How To Get Your Security Deposit Back From The Landlord

There are a few things you can do as a tenant to get your security deposit back. Let’s take a look at some of the options available to you as a tenant.

  1. Pre-move-in inspection
  2. Keep any written notes if there is any damage and take photos (whether there is damage or not)
  3. If you find any damage to the property, put it in writing with the landlord so that it’s documented.
  4. Be careful while you’re moving in so as not to cause any initial damage to the property.
  5. Read the lease to see what changes you can make to the property or not. 
  6. Keep the rental property in good condition. 


Tips For Renting Out Your Home On Airbnb or Other Sites

Here are some tips on how to successfully rent out your home on Airbnb or other sites like it.

  1. Research government regulations in your area.
  2. File your taxes
  3. Go through your room, clean, and take pictures of every room. Make sure you have proper lighting. You want people to be enticed to stay at your place vs. somewhere else.


Essential Things to Know Before Signing a Lease Agreement with a Landlord or Renter

Here are some vital pointers to remember before signing a lease agreement with a landlord or a renter.

  • Watch the cost
  • Observe the rules of the state or the building you’re about to move into. 
  • Duration of the lease agreement
  • Termination clauses
  • Rights and responsibilities 


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