California Law Rental Agreement

When renting a property in California, it is essential for landlords and tenants to enter into a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. A well-crafted rental agreement can help both parties avoid disputes and ensure that their rights and obligations are clearly defined. In this article, we will discuss some crucial aspects of California law that landlords and tenants should keep in mind when drafting or signing a rental agreement.

Required Disclosures

Under California law, landlords are required to make certain disclosures to tenants before or at the beginning of a tenancy. These disclosures include:

– The name and address of the property owner or manager

– A notice of any known lead paint hazards

– A notice of the tenant`s right to a pre-move-in inspection and the right to request repairs

– A notice of the tenant`s right to pursue legal remedies for any violations of state or local housing laws

– A notice of the tenant`s right to terminate the tenancy if the property becomes uninhabitable due to fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disasters

It is the landlord`s responsibility to ensure that these disclosures are included in the rental agreement or provided separately in writing.

Terms of the Tenancy

The rental agreement should clearly state the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent, the due date of rent payments, and any late fees or penalties. It should also specify the security deposit amount, the conditions for its return, and the landlord`s right to deduct any unpaid rent or damages from the deposit.

It is crucial to note that California law limits security deposits to two months` rent for unfurnished units and three months` rent for furnished units. The landlord must also provide a written itemized statement of any deductions within 21 days of the tenant`s move-out.

Prohibited Provisions

California law prohibits rental agreements from containing certain provisions that violate tenants` rights. For example, landlords cannot include provisions that waive the tenant`s right to a lease renewal, limit the landlord`s liability for legal violations, or require the tenant to waive their right to a habitable living space.

Additionally, landlords cannot charge tenants for normal wear and tear of the property, such as carpet fading or nail holes in a wall. These costs are considered part of the landlord`s maintenance responsibilities and should not be deducted from the security deposit.


A rental agreement is a crucial legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. In California, landlords must comply with certain state laws when drafting a rental agreement to ensure that it is legal and enforceable. Tenants should also be aware of their rights and read the rental agreement carefully before signing it. By following California law and creating a fair and clear rental agreement, landlords and tenants can avoid disputes and establish a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

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