California Rental Laws – Summary of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
A tenant residing in the state of California should ideally be aware of the various California rental laws in effect today. However, the reality is that most tenants are not aware of even some of the most basic California rental laws that apply to very commonly disputed issues such as security deposits, repairs etc. This article will hopefully be able to enlighten readers with a quick summary of the most important California rental laws applicable in the state.
Oral or written lease agreement – California rental laws – California rental laws will allow for both oral as well as written contracts. However, if a rental contract is going to be in effect for more than a year, it will need to be in writing. Tenants are generally advised to sign written legal contracts for any lease period as a written agreement is always better than an oral one when it comes to protection of tenant rights.
Maintenance of the rental premises – California rental laws – California rental laws will require that the landlord always maintain the rental premises in a condition that will provide heat, electricity, good plumbing and running water. In addition to that, California rental laws will also require that the locks be in working condition and that the property is free of pests or any kind of infestation. The rental property must also have access to garbage receptacles for easy disposal of garbage.
Repairs – California rental laws – California rental laws will require the landlord to carry out repairs to a rental property within a reasonable amount of time. If the landlord fails to carry out repairs in a reasonable amount of time, California rental laws will allow the tenant to carry out the repairs themselves and deduct those expenses from future rent payments. Alternatively, California rental laws will also allow the tenant to move out of the rental property if the landlord ignores requests for repairs.
Notice periods – California rental laws – If a tenant is unable to pay rent, California rental laws will first require that the landlord provide a three day notice to the tenant. If the tenant is not able to pay the back rent during this three day period, California rental laws will allow the landlord to serve a 30 day eviction notice after which the tenant can be forcibly moved out of the apartment. California laws will however allow the tenant to plead their case in the courts if they choose to. California laws prohibit the landlord from changing the locks of an apartment as a way to personally evict the tenant.
Safety issues – California rental laws – The rental laws in CA require the landlord to disclose the presence of potentially dangerous construction material in a rental property. For example, they will have to provide a written notice stating that a property has hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead based paint etc if the property does have these hazardous materials in them.
Handicapped accommodation – California rental laws – According to the tenant law in CA, landlords will be obliged to make reasonable modifications to a rental property if the tenant is disabled or handicapped.