Do you hear a little voice in your head telling you that you can make a lot of money owning rental properties? Do others around you make it look easy?
While owning rental properties might be right for you, unless you know California tenant rights, you could be in for some legal headaches.
Having an attorney on retainer is a smart strategy, but knowing California renters rights and your legal obligations will help avoid potentially sticky situations.
California rental laws are pretty complicated. To keep yourself free from financial penalties and tenant disputes, learn about the laws that every property owner should know.
California Rental Laws
California rental laws were created to protect the landlord and the tenant. Closely following the California landlord/tenant laws will lead to a successful business relationship.
1. Habitable Housing
This seems like a no-brainer, but you've heard the term "slum lord". You are required by law to provide safe, livable housing. This law comes under the "implied warranty of habitability."
The property owner has an obligation to make sure the building is structurally sound, electric and heating are operating properly, the building is free from rodent or other vermin, and any environmental hazards are managed to name a few.
In cases where the landlord is delinquent, California tenants may have a right to withhold rent or make repairs and deduct that amount from the monthly rent payment.
2. Security Deposit Limits
As much as you'd like, you can not set the security deposit high enough to cover any cost that might come your way. In California, you may collect a security deposit of two months rent, three months if the property is furnished. An additional half-months rent can be added if the renter has a waterbed.
3. Rules Regarding Rent
Hopefully when you are looking for tenants you are able to find responsible people who pay their rent on time. In the event that your tenants are late with the rent, California renters rights dictate that a landlord has to give 3 days notice for them to pay or move.
Your lease agreement must outline the monthly rental fee, when rent is due, how it should be paid and if a late fee applies. 30 days notice is required for a rent increase.
4. Anti-Discrimination Laws
Under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, you are not allowed to reject applicants based on race, religion, physical or mental disabilities, sex, national origin, or familial status.
California state law has additional provisions. It is also unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, receipt of public assistance, or base a rejection on personal characteristics or traits.
Be sure to know what questions you can ask on an application or in an interview as well as what you can say or do when choosing your new renters.
5. Privacy Laws
Though you own the property, you must give your tenants 24 hours notice to enter the property whether it be for a repair or show the property to potential renters. It's a good practice to keep note of requests to enter any of your rental properties.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
In order to keep a cordial landlord-tenant relationship, you should have a good grasp of California rental laws. We can help you sort through these laws and answer any of your questions. See what services we offer to help you manage your rental properties.