While landlords, property managers and/or management companies, and tenants will be primarily concerned with California state laws and ordinances that apply to them, there are certain Federal laws that play a role in the landlord-tenant relationship. Over the past several decades, the US Government has created agencies and enacted specific laws such as HUD* and the EPA** who have prescribed landlord’s responsibilities to the tenant and any appropriate regulations that apply.
For instance, the EPA has made landlords responsible for disclosing any information regarding potential health hazards in their rental properties. An example of this would be documents regarding lead-based paints or mold. On the other hand, HUD forbids the practice of discrimination when a landlord is renting to a tenant. Where statutory research is concerned, the US Code is typically where you would begin your research. There are 50 separate titles with each covering a specific topic.
In addition to the above, California cities and counties have passed certain ordinances relative to anti-discrimination rules, health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and rent control rules affecting landlords and their renters. You can usually find the applicable rules and regulations by visiting a city’s or county’s website and searching for this information. You can also visit your city or county manager’s or mayor’s offices for this information as well.
The best case scenario is for landlords, property managers/management companies, and tenants to deal with any issues without having to rely on the services of an attorney. Otherwise, it will involve a great deal of expense for both parties. Here are several issues that you might want to consider researching:
- Eviction and termination of lease rules
- Limit and return of security deposits
- Notice from landlord to enter rental properties
- Protection of tenant against retaliation by landlord
- Required disclosures landlords must make
- Right of a tenant to withhold rent payments
- Small claims lawsuits (tenants can sue for the return of their deposits)
- State laws regarding rent-related issues including evictions, late fees, rent increase notices, returned check fees, etc.
When you take the above topics into consideration, it’s easy to see why landlords or rental property owners as well as tenants oftentimes rely on the services of a property management company. Landlord-tenant laws and regulations is a very complex area to begin with. That is why it is wise to hire a property management company. Basically, they are the glue that binds the landlord-tenant relationship. Thus, it is best to have transparent policies to ensure higher credibility.
California tenant-landlord laws and regulations can be found in the state statutes at California. Civil Code §§ 1925 to 1954.1; 1961 to 1995.340. There is a table of contents that will help you find the particular statute you are searching for.
* US Department of Housing and Urban Development
** Environmental Protection Agency