California Laws on Landlord-Tenant Rights

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The relationship between California renters and landlords is governed by state laws. These laws cover all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, ranging from how renters apply for an apartment to when they can get evicted. Any time you need legal advice about a landlord-tenant issue in California you should talk to a qualified lawyer.

Rental Applications and Rental Agreements

The rental process typically begins when a potential renter inspects a property and fills out a rental application. The applicant must typically inform the landlord about the renter's income, past landlords and grant permission for the landlord to view the renter's credit report. If the application is approved, the renter and the landlord can then enter into a rental agreement that states the terms of the lease, such as how much rent the tenant has to pay.

Renter Discrimination

California prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters and potential renters based on specific characteristics and factors. Landlords cannot discriminate based on factors such as an applicant's disability, race, religion, pregnancy status, age, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation or gender. This prohibition extends to all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship and includes all activities from the application process to how the tenant is treated during occupancy.

Quiet Enjoyment

All rental tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property. This means that the landlord cannot unduly interfere with the tenant's use of the property. Quiet enjoyment requires that, in general, a landlord cannot simply come into the rental property without the tenant's permission. However, the landlord can come in when, for example, an emergency occurs or the landlord arranges to enter the property beforehand and has the tenant's permission.


Whenever a landlord wants to evict a tenant from a rental property, the landlord must follow specific procedures. If a tenant has performed specific actions, such as failed to pay rent, violated the terms of the lease or damaged the rental property, the landlord can serve the tenant a three-day notice of eviction. After that, the landlord can evict the tenant by filing a lawsuit in California Superior Court, called an unlawful detainer suit. If the landlord wins, the tenant must vacate the property. If the tenant refuses to vacate, the landlord can order the sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant.


About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.

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