As a rental property owner in California, it’s crucial that you are knowledgeable about the state’s landlord-tenant laws. This law will ensure you know and understand your landlord rights and responsibilities, as well as your tenants’ rights and responsibilities.
So, in this post, we will provide you with an overview of the California landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in California
In California, landlords are required to disclose the following information to their tenants:
1. Nonrefundable Fees
In California, nonrefundable fees are not allowed.
2. Security Deposit
Under California law, the landlord must adhere to the following conditions when collecting security deposits from renters:
- Unfurnished unit – a landlord is permitted to collect two months of rent as a security deposit.
- Furnished unit – a landlord is permitted to collect three months of rent as a security deposit.
- Active-duty servicemen (unfurnished unit) – a landlord is only permitted to collect for one month of rent as a security deposit.
- Active-duty servicemen (furnished unit) – a landlord is permitted to collect for 2 months of rent as a security deposit.
Once the tenant moves out, California landlords are required to refund the security deposit within 21 days.
The security deposit is deductible by unpaid rent, damage repairs and cleaning fees. Normal wear and tear should not be counted as deductions.
A landlord who withholds the security deposit without reason is subject to paying twice the amount of security deposit, on top of the original amount.
3. Rights of Domestic Violence Victims
In California, the landlord is not permitted to disclose details about a tenant’s domestic violence case to any third party. Writing permission is required from the tenant.
4. Owner or Agent Identity
Under the California law, tenants must have access to:
- The landlord or owner’s name and address.
- The property management company or the authorized person’s name and address.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
The following are the basic renter’s rights in California.
A tenant has the right to:
- Be given a 24-hour written notice before a landlord enters the rental unit.
- Withhold rental payment if the landlord has failed to provide proper maintenance of the rental space.
- Ask for pre-inspection prior to the end of the tenancy. This allows a tenant to fix reported property damages before moving out. Thus, the security deposit refund remains intact.
The following are the basic tenant’s responsibilities in California.
A tenant must:
- Avoid disturbing other renters.
- Keep the rental unit reasonably clean and habitable.
- Perform small fixes and ensure the property is well-maintained.
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
The following are the basic landlord rights in the state of California.
A landlord has the right to:
- Enter the tenant’s home without notice during emergency situations.
- Deduct from the security deposit if the tenant has missed rental payments or caused property damage.
- Evict a tenant if they violate the lease agreement.
The following are the basic landlord responsibilities in the state of California.
A landlord must:
- Return the security deposit within 21 days.
- Attend to repairs and meet the habitability standards set by the California law.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in California
1. Tenant Privacy and Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling
In California, landlords can only enter a rental property to perform the regular maintenance or to conduct property showings.
Landlords must provide a 24-hour written notice prior to entering the rental property. It’s also necessary to enter the property within business hours, which are typically weekdays between 8am and 5pm.
2. The Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs
Under the California law, a landlord must conduct regular maintenance to make the rental habitable. This includes ensuring that:
- The smoke detectors are functional.
- The renter has hot and cold running water.
- Proper locks are installed.
3. California’s Housing Discrimination Laws
In California, landlords are expected to follow the Fair Housing Act, which offers equal housing opportunity to prospects. Tenant screening must not be based on an applicant’s national origin, color, race, religion, disability, sex and familial status.
Landlords must also abide by the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This prohibits landlords from interrogating prospects based on age and/or ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation and gender expression.
4. Security Deposits
In California, a landlord can ask for a security deposit from his tenant to:
- Pay for damages caused by the tenant’s abuse and negligence.
- Cover for cleaning fees when the rental unit is left messy.
5. Required Landlord Disclosures
The required disclosures are as follows:
- A landlord must disclose if existing mold is present in the rental unit.
- If the unit was constructed before 1978, a landlord must disclose to the tenants the presence of lead paint.
6. Renters’ Rights to Withhold Rent
A California tenant can withhold their rent in the following situations:
- The landlord failed to supply essential utilities, such as running water and electricity.
- The landlord neglected to fix maintenance issues after 30 days.
7. Small Claims Lawsuits
Often, conflicts over security deposits arise. For instance, a landlord may fail to return the deposit, or unfairly withhold it from the renters. In such a case, tenants can sue landlords up to $10,000 in California Small Claims Court.
As a landlord, it is essential that you understand the landlord-tenant laws in California. We hope this article was helpful!
If you have more questions about these laws, feel free to contact Realevate Specialists today.
Note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in California. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have regarding this content.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.