A Complete Guide to California Commercial Tenant Rights

Renting a commercial building differs from renting an apartment or house in the state of California. Why? Because according to the State, commercial tenants have more to bargain with than residential tenants. California commercial tenant rights are less stringent than residential renters. If something goes wrong, commercial tenants often need to resolve issues with directly with the landlord.

How do your rights change when you rent as a small business owner? Keep reading for more information about California commercial lease laws.

your guide to california commercial tenant rights

It’s Easier to Evict Commercial Tenants

If you rent as a residential tenant in California, you’ll find that the eviction process is slow and favors you over the landlord. Commercial laws favor the landlord.

A commercial landlord may send a tenant an eviction notice for failing to pay rent or violating a lease. Upon receiving an eviction notice, a commercial tenant has only three days to come up with a solution.

As a commercial tenant, you have to pay rent above all else. Unlike other tenants, your covenant to pay is independent of other agreements in the lease.

Even if you offer a partial payment, the Landlord can accept the payment and still evict you.

In addition, if you attempt to withhold payment because of another clause in the lease, then your landlord may still serve you a 3 day notice to pay rent.

Finally, the landlord may use your lease to change traditional eviction procedures. Your lease might specifically allow partial payment evictions or waiving the right to a jury procedure.

Improvements and Repair May Be Up to You

The average commercial lease requires the landlord to provide walls, water supply stubs and an electrical connection. Beyond that, the construction of the space may be up to you because there is no warranty of habitability.

The details of what you and your landlord are individually responsible for should be detailed in your lease before you sign.

Keep these things in mind:

As a tenant, you are not obligated to make improvements for the benefit of the landlord unless it’s included in your lease.

At the same time, your landlord is not required to make improvements for you unless stipulated in the lease.

Repairs are also not a legal reason to stop paying rent. As noted earlier, your obligation to pay rent supersedes all other requirements. If you take it to court, some courts may consider it a valid defense, but others will toss it out.

Your Rent May Increase Without Warning

A commercial landlord may increase your rent without giving you 30 or 60 days’ notice.

Your lease stipulates whether the landlord will provide warning of a rent increase. California law finds that it’s in the landlord’s interest to receive equal consideration and protection. This sometimes means increasing the rent.

Know Your California Commercial Tenant Rights

You may find your California commercial tenant rights suffer compared to residential rights. It’s easier to evict, raise the rent, and provide less maintenance to commercial properties.

Have you read your commercial lease and wonder whether the provisions are legal? Do you have questions about anything written in the lease?

Don’t sign it just yet. Schedule a consultation with Lisa Wills, Law Offices of Lisa Wills, to learn more about your rights today.

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