California Landlord Tenant Rights

If you are a tenant or landlord in The Golden State, you know that whether you are the lessor or lessee landlord tenant law can be complicated. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can save you time and money and help protect your investment. Below we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about California landlord tenant rights.

Landlord Responsibilities

California law addresses the responsibilities that landlords owe their tenants.

California landlords are responsible for providing and/or maintaining the following:

  • Water
  • HVAC
  • Gas lines and fixtures
  • Plumbing and sanitation
  • Trash cans
  • Garbage removal
  • Stairs and railings
  • Fire exits
  • Smoke detectors
  • Locking mailbox
  • Phone jack wiring
  • Mold
  • Bed bugs

Landlords also must must provide the renter with a 24-hour notice before entering the premises unless it is an emergency. They are prohibited from engaging in retaliatory or discriminatory conduct. They also have a duty to mitigate damages.

Landlords are also responsible for the following disclosures:

  • Lead-based paint
  • Bed bugs
  • Mold
  • Common utility use and payment
  • Asbestos
  • Meth and fentanyl
  • Sex offender registry
  • Demolition permit
  • Military ordinance
  • Death
  • Pesticides
  • Flood zone
  • Smoking policy

Tenant Responsibilities

California tenants also have responsibilities. These include:

  • Keeping the unit in a clean and habitable condition
  • Maintaining fixtures
  • Only using the premises for living, sleeping, cooking and dining
  • Make small repairs and perform routine maintenance
  • Not disturbing other tenants
  • Pay rent on time

Security Deposit

Landlords may require a maximum of 2 months’ rent as a security deposit for unfurnished units and 3 months’ rent for furnished homes. The deposit must be returned in 21 days, minus charges and damages. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit in 21 days, then they are liable for twice the deposit amount plus damages.

Rent and Fees

California rentals are subject to rent control provisions. Rental increases are capped based on inflation rates. If the rent increase is less than 10%, the landlord must give the renter a 30-day notice. If the increase is greater than 10%, a 60-day notice must be given. 

Landlords are allowed to charge reasonable late fees if they are included in the lease agreement.

Evictions

California law provides for 5 grounds for eviction:

  1. Nonpayment of rent
  2. Lease violation
  3. No lease or end of lease term
  4. Foreclosure of the property
  5. Illegal acts committed on the premises

Landlords are prohibited from locking a tenant out of their home as a form of eviction.

Lease Termination Notice

If there is a violation of the lease, the landlord can give a 3-day Notice to Quit or Cure.

Sometimes a tenant will stay in the unit after the lease expires. If a month-to-month tenant has lived in the home for less than a year, the landlord must give a 30-day Notice to Quit. If that tenant has lived in the unit for more than a year, the landlord must give them a 60-day Notice to quit. However, if the lease was for a fixed term and has expired, no notice is required. 

If the lease is being terminated because of foreclosure, the landlord must give the tenant a 90-day notice.

If the landlord has proof of illegal activity on the premises, they must give the tenant a 3-day Unconditional Notice to Quit. 

Tenants can end a lease early without penalty for the following reasons:

  • Early termination clause
  • Active military duty
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Landlord harassment

Relevant State Agencies

California Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Housing Department

Water

Electric

Gas

San Francisco:

San Francisco Rent Board

Water

Electric

Gas

San Diego:

San Diego Housing and Community Development Services

Water

Electric

Gas

San Jose:

City of San Jose

Water

Electric

Gas

Fresno: 

Fresno Landlord-Tenant Rights guide

Water

Electric

Gas

Sacramento:

Sacramento Tenant Protection and Relief Act

Water

Electric

Gas

Long Beach:

City of Long Beach

Water

Electric

Gas

Oakland:

Oakland Rent Adjustment Program

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Rent control provisions

California Health and Safety Code