The California Rental Lease Laws

By Lainie Petersen
California lease law, property type
california 66 image by MLProject from

Laws governing housing leases in California can vary according to the type of housing sought as well as local law. While landlords and tenants can, by mutual consent, craft a lease that meets the needs of both parties, California laws also provide tenants and landlords with certain rights and responsibilities that cannot be negotiated away.

Lease Terms

Landlords and tenants have the option of negotiating certain aspects of their relationship: For example, California law does not require a landlord to repair or maintain "amenities" such as swimming pools or laundry facilities. However, a lease clause may legally obligate a landlord to maintain these. At the same time, a landlord cannot charge a tenant more than the maximum security deposit allowed by state law, nor can a tenant waive her right to have major repairs performed by a landlord on her unit.

Rent Control

Leases are legal contracts that do not automatically renew at the end of their term. However, in California cities that have rent control, landlords are often required to renew a lease unless certain "just cause" criteria are met. If a tenant has engaged in illegal activity, has habitually not paid rent or the landlord wants to move into the rental unit herself, it may be possible to not renew a tenant's lease. Otherwise, a landlord must continue to renew the lease each year for tenants in good standing.

Mobile Home Parks

California has a separate set of laws for mobile home owners who rent a space in a mobile home park. Distinctive aspects of mobile home park lease laws include the obligation of a mobile home park owner to offer a lease of at least a year to prospective tenants. Mobile home park owners can terminate the tenancy of a mobile home owner for "just cause" only--such as habitual lateness of rent, criminal activity or repeated code violations. Mobile home owners are also entitled to additional notice of tenancy terminations or evictions from mobile home park owners, which are often considerably longer than those required for tenants in traditional housing.

About the Author

Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.