California has a detailed system of landlord-tenant laws to govern renters and property owners. As a landlord, acquainting yourself with this set of laws is critical to help avoid issues with your tenants. In particular, sensitive issues such as evictions need to be handled with care and skill.
For example, without a proper understanding of the law, you may not know that entering a tenant’s unit without providing proper notice can amount to landlord harassment. Or you may not be aware of everything you need to provide tenants with before their units can be considered habitable.
In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of the landlord-tenant laws in Southern California so that you can familiarize yourself with them and follow them accordingly.
California’s Required Landlord Disclosures
Landlords must disclose certain information to their tenants before tenants sign the lease agreement. As a landlord, you can decide to either include this information in your lease or rental agreement, or in some other form of written notice. These disclosures must include:
- If there was a death in the unit.
- The presence of mold. Mold exposure is a health hazard and if the unit has mold, you must let your tenant know.
- Costs of utilities. Common utilities include gas, electric, water, and Wi-Fi. You must let your tenant know how their costs will be shared prior to the signing of the lease agreement.
- If the rental is located in an area that is prone to flooding.
- If the rental is located near a military facility. Is your rental unit located within one mile of a military installation where live ammunition and explosives are used? If so, you must disclose that information to your tenant.
- General information regarding bed bugs. For instance: how they can be identified, their biology and behavior, and the policy regarding letting you know if any are found in the unit.
- Presence of known lead-based paint in units built before 1978.
- If there are any registered sex offenders in the local neighborhood.
California Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Under California’s landlord-tenant laws, tenants have certain basic rights and responsibilities. For example, they have the right to:
- Live in a habitable rental unit that abides by the local safety, health, and building codes.
- Have their repair and maintenance requests acted upon within a reasonable time.
- Receive notice regarding any changes made to the lease or rental agreement.
- Live in quiet enjoyment of their rented units.
- Be subjected to a fair and equal screening process that is free of any bias or discrimination.
- Receive a fair judicial process when being evicted.
While tenants get to enjoy those basic rights, they also have various responsibilities. They are responsible for:
- Giving their landlord the required notice when moving out of the rental.
- Drafting and abiding by all terms of the rental or lease agreement.
- Maintaining the peace of the neighborhood by not throwing large, noisy parties or causing other disturbances.
- Letting their landlord know when there are maintenance issues or necessary repairs.
- Letting their landlord know when they will be gone from the rental for an extended period of time.
- Caring for the property.
- Paying their due rent in full.
Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
As a landlord in Murrieta, California’s rental laws also provide you with various rights. You have the right to:
- Receive a written notice when a tenant wants to leave the rental.
- Receive a notification when a tenant is leaving the rental for an extended time period.
- Enter the premises to carry out important obligations, such as inspections and repairs.
- Evict tenants who disobey terms of leases or rental agreement, such as failing to pay rent.
You also have many responsibilities as a landlord in California. For example, you are responsible for:
- Informing your tenant of all state-required disclosures.
- Preparing a lease agreement that is in line with all applicable laws.
- Providing a rental unit that adheres to all habitability and safety standards.
- Treating all tenants (both current and prospective) with fairness and equality.
- Following all state rent rules.
An Overview of California’s Landlord-Tenant Handbook
1. A Landlord’s Entry to the Property
As a landlord, you have a right to enter the rented premises under the statewide tenancy law. You can enter to make repairs and improvements, respond to tenant or property emergencies, or show the unit to prospective tenants.
That being said, it’s necessary that you let tenants know about your plans to enter the property beforehand unless it is an emergency. The law requires you to give your tenant ‘reasonable’ notice, which is generally at least 24 hours time.
2. Implied Warranty of Habitability
It’s your responsibility as a landlord to ensure that your property meets local health, safety, and building codes. For instance, you must ensure that the unit has a clean and adequate water supply, effective weatherproofing, and proper locks.
3. Tenant’s Withholding Rent Payments
Tenants in California have a right to live in a property that is safe and habitable. If you fail to provide them with this kind of rental, your tenants have a right to withhold their rent payments. They also have the option to sue you, move out, or notify relevant authorities.
4. Tenant Discrimination
Fair Housing Laws make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on certain protected characteristics. The characteristics include race, color, age, religion, disability, national origin, and familial status.
You should have a thorough understanding of these laws in order to make sure that you do not commit infractions at any time.
Do you have any questions about the landlord-tenant laws that apply to Murrieta, California? If so, Archer Management can answer them. We provide property management services, vacation rental services, and real estate sales & leasing in various Southern California communities. Contact us for more information!