California Renter Rights, Laws and Protections under the Fair Housing Act

What Tenants in the Golden State Should Know before Renting a Home

California renters have several rights and responsibilities according to the law. Most state laws and regulations with the tenancy of a unit in California explain the situation with the rent, repairs, security deposits and eviction.

In California, a person becomes a tenant once they enter into a rental agreement with a landlord. Among the other provisions, tenant contracts should state the names of all the parties, amount of rent to be paid, when rent is due, the period of the lease, and the fee charged for late rent payment or bounced checks. California tenants can be evicted for non-repayment of rent or for breaching significant clauses within the signed lease contract.

According to California tenant rights law, a landlord can collect a security deposit, and it should not exceed three times the monthly rent for a furnished unit and two times the monthly rent for an unfurnished unit. A landlord should provide a renter with an accounting of the security deposit three weeks before they leave the premises. In case the landlord intends to keep some of the security deposit, they have to notify the tenant within two weeks after the tenant moves out of their right to be present at a walk-through.

California law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their race, sex, religion, color, nationality, disability, or ancestry. The law also does not require landlords to rent to tenants with pets, unless the animal is a dog used to assist disabled tenants.

California tenant rights law states that a tenant has to be given a habitable property, and a landlord should provide essential facilities such as proper lighting, heating, and garbage receptacles. The landlord has to properly maintain the property and pay for any repairs in a timely and effective fashion.

When a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord has to inform them that they have three days to either pay or surrender the property. The landlord can retake the premises and terminate the rental contract if they have liberal thinking that the tenant abandoned the premises.

California landlords have a right to evict tenants who fail to live up to their end of the contractual agreement. However, a landlord has to file with the court so that it presents the eviction documents to the tenant. After that, the tenant will have five days to respond to the eviction papers. In case a tenant does not answer, the landlord will have the right to file for immediate possession of the property.


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