California landlord duties have one goal in mind, to ensure a productive, mutually beneficial relationship between the landlord and tenant with minimal disputes and a safe, healthy living environment. That means anything from rent control laws to safety laws.
Of course, for tenants, it’s hard to know where to begin. After all, your landlord does this job professionally–you just want to rent a home. But knowing your rights–and your landlord’s responsibilities–will help ensure that you get treated fairly.
Here is a closer look at your landlord’s legal responsibilities under California law.
The Basics of Landlord-Tenant Laws in California
Under CA Civil Code 1940-1954.05, tenants have certain rights, including the right to a habitable dwelling, the right to due process, and more. California landlord laws also hold landlords to certain legal responsibilities. These laws explicitly dictate certain rules governing the landlord-tenant relationship to avoid many common disputes.
For example, under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability. California state law further prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or receipt of public housing assistance.
Landlord Obligations for Agreements, Disclosures and Security Deposits
As you enter into the rental agreement, your landlord has even more obligations which protect your rights as a tenant.
One of the most basic of these is to produce a legal agreement for your lease or rental which spells the landlord and tenant’s respective obligations under federal, state, and local law. Issues arise if a landlord adds a clause in the agreement which isn’t legal, like a failure to provide required disclosures.
Under California law, landlords are legally required to include the following disclosures:
- Information about the disclosure of the registered sex offender database
- Known locations of former state or federal ordnance in the neighborhood
- Presence of toxic mold which exceeds permissible limits or poses a health threat
- Intent to demolish unit (where applicable)
- No smoking policy
- Bed bugs
- If the property is in a flood hazard area
- If the property has been contaminated with methamphetamine
- Death on the premises within the last three years
Then there are security deposits. California landlords cannot charge more than two months’ rent for security deposits on unfurnished rentals. For furnished rentals, the maximum security deposit is three months’ rent.
Landlord Legal Responsibilities for Maintenance of the Property
Your landlord’s legal responsibilities do not end when you sign your lease. Your landlord still has legal responsibilities for the maintenance of the property.
In basic terms, California landlords are legally required to ensure that the housing they offer for rent is habitable under the implied “warranty of habitability”. This applies regardless of the amount of rent paid for the property. If the landlord fails this duty, tenants have several options, including the right to withhold rent or to make the repairs themselves and deduct the costs from their rent payment.
If Your Landlord Fails Legal Responsibilities Under California Landlord Laws
Your landlord’s legal responsibilities are intended to protect the rights of the tenant and ensure a productive relationship. If your landlord fails those responsibilities, tenants have ways to ensure they’re treated fairly.
Our firm has represented everyone from buyers to corporations, tenants to property managers. We know both sides of the argument, and we won’t stop until we can ensure you get the best possible result. If you need to speak with an attorney about your options, click here to schedule a consultation.