Some Rules You Need to Remember When Renting in California

If you find yourself in a position where you’re going to be renting your living space for the foreseeable future, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with California’s laws regarding renting. In addition to checking out the state laws, make sure you explore the local laws since they can change from one zip code to another.

Periodic Leases

If you’re not sure how long you are renting, you and your landlord may decide that the best option is a periodic lease. Depending on the contract, this allows you to rent the space for a week, month, or year.

If you are involved in a periodic lease, your landlord is required to give you advance notice if they won’t be renewing the lease at the end of the specified period. If you’re renting on a week-to-week basis, you’re legally entitled to 7 days’ notice. If you’re renting on a month-to-month basis, 30 days’ notice is required. You are supposed to give an equal amount of notice if you’re not planning on renewing your portion of the lease.

Breaking a Lease Early

There are some situations where you’re legally allowed to break a lease early without having to worry about repercussions. These instances include:

  • If there’s an early termination clause in your rental agreement
  • If you’re dealing with a harassing landlord (you will have to collect proof of the harassment)
  • If the landlord has neglected their duties and the unit is no longer inhabitable
  • If a natural disaster or something else has rendered the unit uninhabitable
  • If you’re on active military duty and have been relocated

If you have to break the lease early, you will likely have to pay the landlord the remainder of the lease amount, but the landlord is required to provide you with a reasonable amount of assistance when it comes to finding a new tenant.

Evictions in California

If you’re renting, you’ll be pleased to learn that your landlord can’t suddenly evict you for no reason. Not only are they required to have a provable reason for evicting you, such as failure to pay rent or extreme property damage, but they are also required to give some advance notice.

Justifiable reasons to issue an eviction notice include:

  • The tenant has failed to pay their rent
  • The tenant has violated their lease (such as moving a pet into a non-animal-friendly apartment)
  • The lease has ended

In the instances where rent hasn’t been paid, the landlord must give the tenant a full three days to make good on their payments. Once the three days have passed and the rent still hasn’t been paid in full, the landlord can start the eviction process.

When a lease violation prompts a landlord to consider eviction, they must give the tenant a full three days to correct the problem. If after three days, the tenant is still in violation of their lease, the landlord is free to contact the court and file a Summons Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.

When the lease has expired or if there isn’t a formal rental lease in place, the landlord is free to evict the tenant, but only after they have provided a Notice to Quit. In rentals that have a month-to-month rental agreement, thirty days’ notice must be given before ending the lease. If the tenant has been living in the month-to-month rental for a full year or more, a sixty-day notice is required.

Whenever you are about to sign a new rental agreement or end a current one, it’s a good idea to review California’s rental laws.