Tenants' Rights in California

7 Rights of Tenants in California

California has the largest population of any state in the Union. This large population undoubtedly includes a large number of renters. With so many tenants, California has developed landlord tenant laws to offer these tenants certain protections. Here are seven rights of tenants in the state of California.

California Tenant’s Right to Fair Housing

Sec 12921(b); 12955-12956.2; 12980-12989.3

Like tenants in every state in the United States, California tenants are protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

This Act was created in 1968. It was designed to end discrimination in any activity that is related to housing. This could include renting a home, buying a home or obtaining a mortgage. The Federal Act protects seven classes of people. These include:

  • Color
  • Disability (Physical and Mental)
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex

In addition to the Federal Fair Housing Act, California has its own law on Fair Housing. This law is known as FEHA, the Fair Employment and Housing Act. In addition to the seven classes of people protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act, California’s act protects 9 additional classes. These include:

  • Age (40 and Older)
  • Ancestry
  • Marital Status
  • Medical Condition
  • Genetic Information
  • Gender Identity and Gender Expression
  • Military and Veteran Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Source of Income

For example, a property owner cannot place a ‘for rent’ ad which states that people who are of a certain race or of a certain religious affiliation need not apply.

All classes of people must be treated as equals throughout the entire housing process.

See Also:

California Tenant’s Right to the Security Deposit

Sec 1950.5

A landlord in California is allowed to collect a security deposit from his or her tenant. California Civil Code has specific rules in place for this deposit.

These rules include the maximum amount a California landlord can collect from the tenant, reasons a landlord can make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit and when the deposit must be returned to the tenant.

A landlord can request up to two months’ rent as a security deposit in most circumstances. Landlords who are renting out fully furnished apartments can request a maximum of three months’ rent. A landlord can legally take deductions from a tenant’s security deposit for issues such as damage in excess of normal wear and tear and for cleaning costs to restore the unit to the condition it was in prior to tenant move-in. California landlords have 21 days after tenant move-out to return the portion of the deposit that is owed back to the tenant and must include a written itemized statement of any deductions that have been taken.

See Also: California Security Deposit Law

California Tenant’s Right to Rent Disclosure

California Civil Code §§ 827, 1671, 1947, 1962, 1719 and California Code of Civil Procedure 1161

California’s landlord tenant law has very specific rules when it comes to a tenant’s right to rent disclosure. These rules include when the rent is due, forms of payment to accept as rent, late rent fees, bounced check fees, rent increases, withholding rent for repairs and termination for nonpayment.

See Also: California Tenant's Right to Rent Disclosure

California Tenant’s Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

Section §1954

In California, a tenant has the right to a certain amount of privacy. In general, a landlord must provide a tenant with written notice before entering the tenant’s unit. This written notice must be given 24 hours in advance of the desired date of entry if the notice will be hand delivered to the tenant, and sent at least six days in advance of the desired date of entry if the notice will be mailed to the tenant. There are exceptions to these rules, such as in the case of emergencies.

See Also: California Tenant's Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

California Tenant’s Rights After Domestic Violence

California Civil Code §§ 1941.5, 1941.6, 1946.7 and California Code of Civil Procedure §1161.3

If a tenant has been a victim of domestic violence in the state of California, he or she has certain rights. These rights revolve around protecting the safety of the tenant. These rights include having the locks on their doors changed, either by the landlord or on their own accord, and not being evicted simply for being a victim of domestic violence.

See Also: California Tenant's Rights After Domestic Violence

California Tenant’s Rights After Landlord Retaliation

Section 1942.5

Tenants have the right to live in a rental that is safe. The tenant has the right to have repairs conducted and maintenance issues addressed. A tenant may complain to the landlord or to a government agency about a health or safety violation. In some cases, a landlord will not approve of the tenant’s action and will take his or her own action to retaliate against the tenant. Learn what are considered retaliatory acts in California and a tenant’s rights after such an action takes place.

See Also: California Tenant's Rights After Landlord Retaliation

California Tenant’s Right to Repair and Deduct

Section 1941.1, 1941.2, 1941.3, 1941.4, 1942 and 1962

In California, a landlord is responsible for maintaining their rental unit to a certain standard. If there is an issue that affects habitability, the tenant must notify the landlord so that the landlord can repair it. If the landlord does not repair the problem within a reasonable amount of time, the tenant has two options. The tenant can either perform the repair his or herself and deduct the cost of the repair from their monthly rent, or the tenant can vacate the premises.

See Also: California Tenant's Right to Repair and Deduct

California’s Landlord Tenant Law

To view the original text of California’s landlord tenant law, please consult California Civil Code §§ 1925 – 1954, California Civil Code §§1961 to 1995.340 and California Code of Civil Procedure.