Due to the high cost of homeownership, it is estimated that more than half of all those living in Los Angeles are currently renting. At roughly 64%, Los Angeles has the fourth-highest percentage of renters in any major US metropolitan.
Despite the high number of renters, not many are familiar with their basic rights as tenants. Here are some common landlord-tenant laws real estate lawyers in Los Angeles recommend you familiarize yourself with.
Basic Tenant Rights
Tenants have a right to clean, habitable homes. This is in accordance with California’s Implied Warranty of Habitability. Every landlord is therefore required to provide their tenants with and maintain livable housing units. Think working doors and windows, leak-free roofs and walls, working plumbing with both hot and cold water, and a pest-free living area.
If a landlord fails to provide their tenants with a habitable housing unit, they are required to fix the problem immediately and is not allowed to collect rent until then. In spite of any lingering housing issues, a rent strike is still not justified, though.
In the case of any existing problems in a tenant’s unit, the rent that is supposed to go to the landlord goes, instead, into an escrow account. If a renter chooses to stop paying rent entirely, they could put themselves at the risk of eviction for non-payment.
According to a Los Angeles real estate lawyer, as long as a renter continuously pays rent, they hold the higher ground because they have proof that they’re upholding their end of the bargain while the landlord is not.
Another option for the renter is to remedy the problem themselves and then deduct the cost from the rent.
Because of the strict California laws regarding habitable and hazard-free living conditions, landlords are expected to carry out regular inspections of their rental properties and to take care of any reported problems immediately.
California also has a number of fair housing laws, including the Anti-Discrimination law. A landlord can reject a potential tenant for poor credit history, unacceptable past behavior, or based on testimonials from their previous landlord/s. A landlord, cannot, discriminate against a potential tenant based on their religion, ethnicity, sex, nationality, marital status, or mental/physical conditions.
According to a residential real estate lawyer in Los Angeles, any act that is discriminatory in nature goes against the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, LA landlords are also required to follow the Californian statute that protects renters from discrimination against their gender identity, sexual orientation, and receipt of social or public assistance as illegal.
Rental Leases Or Agreements
A signed rental lease or agreement is between the landlord and tenant serves as the contractual foundation between the two parties. This will include pieces of important business information like the amount to be paid (as the rent), how long the tenant is allowed to occupy the unit or rental property, and any other pertinent details such as rules and regulations set by the landlord.
Landlords are not permitted to enter a renter’s apartment without prior notice. Whatever reason they may have (whether that’s for repairs or for touring prospective renters), landlords need to inform their tenant at least 24 hours prior to entering the rental property, even if the landlord legally owns it.
When it comes to moving out, landlords need to give a 48-hour notice for the very first move-out inspection.
Eviction And Termination Notices
California has specific laws regarding how and when a landlord can terminate the tenancy. For instance, California requires landlords to give their tenant at least 72 hours’ termination notice if the tenant is found to be partaking in illegal activities inside the property or within the premises. Failure for a landlord to comply with this could lead to significant delays in the eviction process.
California has a number of different laws to protect both tenants and landlords. While necessary, they can be complex and difficult to understand, but doing so ensures you don’t get taken advantage of. If you’re having trouble understanding any of the California Landlord-Tenant laws or you’re having trouble enforcing them, it’s best to consult with a real estate lawyer in Los Angeles, CA to help you.
Consider reaching out to The Law Offices of R. Grace Rodriguez. We are a local probate and estate firm that is happy to work with you to ensure that your rights as either a landlord or a tenant are being met. Contact 818-734-7223 or 805-364-0884 to learn more.