California Landlord Tenant Laws You Need to Know

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  2. California Landlord Tenant Laws You Need to Know

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant in California, it is important to know the laws that apply to your situation. Below is a summary of a few of them, but it is always important to confer with an attorney regarding your legal rights and obligations.

Rental Contracts

If the tenancy is for a term of 12 months or longer, a written rental agreement is required under California law. Although oral agreements are legal, it is usually very difficult to prove the terms of an oral contract. Having the terms and conditions written down can make resolving disputes easier and quicker. As with all contracts, you should have an experienced lawyer draft the rental agreement (if you are the landlord) or review it before you sign it (if you are the tenant).


California law requires landlords to abide by the fair housing laws. These laws set forth the types of questions a landlord can/cannot ask when screening tenants and how to deal with the people who rent from you.

Acceptable reasons for landlords to reject potential tenants include criminal behavior, negative references, poor credit history or past evictions. In contrast, the law prohibits a landlord from discriminating against potential tenants based on race, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, physical disability or other personal traits.

Payment of Rent

A landlord cannot require a tenant to pay rent in cash, unless the landlord has received checks that bounced for three consecutive months. California law does not require a landlord to provide the tenant with a rent payment grace period. If a grace period is allowed by the landlord, it should be clearly set forth in the rental contract, including the late fee that will be charged once the grace period expires.


A landlord cannot proceed with the eviction process without giving written notice to the tenant. The amount of notice that must be given depends on the amount of time the renter has lived in the property. However, a landlord is only required to give three-day notice if the tenant:

● is past due on rent payments

● has damaged or is misusing the property for an illegal purpose

● is a nuisance to other renters

● has violated the terms of the rental contract

There are many other applicable landlord tenant laws that you should be aware of and the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Alex Cha & Associates can help. Let us answer your questions regarding your rights and obligations. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation.

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