California Rental Laws – An Overview of Landlord-Tenant Rights in Anaheim

In California, a lease agreement can be oral or written. Once signed, it gives both parties certain rights and responsibilities. A tenant is entitled to rights such as the right to live in a habitable property, to privacy, and to be treated fairly. Their responsibilities include consistent rent payment and maintenance of their rented premises.

As a landlord, you are also entitled to rights such as the right to collect rent, enter the rented premises, and the right to ask for a security deposit. Your responsibilities include responding to maintenance requests and disclosing certain information to renters.

These rights and responsibilities exist regardless of whether they are stated in the lease or not.

The following is a basic overview of the California landlord-tenant laws.

Required Landlord Disclosures in California

California landlords must make certain information known to tenants before lease signing. You must let them know about:

  • Lead Paint. Lead paint is a health hazard and causes a variety of health issues. So, if your rental property was built prior to 1978, you must let tenants know of any potential lead hazards.
  • Mold. It is a health risk and can cause long-term damage to both the tenant and your home. Just like lead paint, you must let your tenant know of any known mold in the unit.
  • Bed Bugs. California requires landlords to disclose certain information regarding bed bugs. Landlords are also prohibited from renting out a unit that they know is infested with bed bugs.
  • Common Utility Use and Payment. As a landlord, you are required to disclose to your tenants what utilities they’ll be responsible for.

landlord-tenant laws California

Renters’ Rights & Responsibilities in California

Renters in California have rights to:

  • Live in a habitable unit that meets all the local, federal, and state health and safety codes.
  • Live in privacy without unnecessary noise pollution.
  • Join or form a tenants’ union to advocate for tenant rights.
  • Receive a proper notification when the landlord needs to access their rented premises.
  • Remain in the property until the landlord has followed the proper judicial eviction process.
  • Receive a proper notification when changes have been made to the lease or rental agreement.

California tenants are also equally responsible for certain things. They are as follows:

  • Ensuring their rented premises are always clean and in good condition.
  • Letting their landlords know when maintenance problems arise.
  • Not disturbing the peace and quiet of other tenants/neighbors.
  • Providing landlords with a proper notification when looking to move out.
  • Providing landlords with a proper notification when going out of town for an extended period of time.

Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities in California

California landlords have a right to:

  • Be served proper notification by a tenant who’s looking to move out of their premises.
  • Evict a tenant for certain reasons, such as failure to pay rent and property damage.
  • Enter a tenant’s unit to carry out important responsibilities. Such responsibilities include inspecting the unit, carry out needed or agreed-upon repairs, and showing the unit to prospective tenants.
  • Collect rent when it becomes due.
  • Make changes to the lease agreement, so long as they do so with the consent of the tenant.

Landlord responsibilities California landlord-tenant law

Similarly, landlords in California are accountable for certain things. These include:

  • Ensuring their rental premises meet all habitability codes.
  • Treating all tenants respectfully, fairly, and equally as per the state’s Fair Housing Law.
  • Drafting a legal lease document.
  • Responding to tenants’ issues within a reasonable time frame.
  • Letting prospective tenants know of all important disclosures prior to them signing the lease agreement.

Overview of California Landlord-Tenant Laws

Tenant Evictions

As already mentioned, landlords in California have a right to evict tenants from their rented premises. The reasons must be justified, however. Common reasons to evict a tenant in California include missed rent payments and violation of the lease agreement.

To evict a tenant for a legitimate reason, you’ll need to serve them an eviction notice first. There are different types of notice depending on the violation committed. For instance, for nonpayment of rent, you must serve the tenant a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit.

If the tenant pays or moves out on their own, no further action would be needed from you. However, if they don’t take either option, you may move on with their eviction by moving to court.

Security Deposits

California, just like any other state in the U.S., has a security deposit law in place. The law provides landlords with guidelines on the handling of tenants’ deposits.

Security deposit law california

For example, you cannot ask for a deposit exceeding what would be equivalent to two months’ rent. So, if you’ve priced your rental at $2000 per month, then the maximum security deposit you can charge must not exceed $4,000.

Landlords also must return the tenant’s deposit, or whatever remains of it, within 21 days. Wrongfully withholding a tenant’s deposit can have serious financial ramifications.

Housing Discrimination

You must treat your tenants equally in all matters to do with housing. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex, race, color, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin.

California also provides additional protection to tenants on the basis of immigration status, gender identity, citizenship status, ancestry, sexual orientation, primary language, and source of income.


As a California landlord, it is your responsibility to stay up-to-date on all rental laws including security deposit and eviction laws. This can be very time-consuming as the laws are often changing and being updated.

To help you stay informed on policy changes consider hiring the services of a trusted and qualified property management company link Home Choice Property Management.

Disclaimer: The information herein is not meant to be a substitute for professional legal advice. For further help, kindly hire a qualified attorney or a qualified property management company.