California landlord tenant law help and adviceCalifornia Renter's Rights


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NEW:  60 Notice to Terminate Tenancy:
Effective January 1, 2003, if you have been a tenant in CA for one year or more your landlord must provide you with a 60 days notice to terminate your tenancy. The 30 day rule still applies to tenants who occupy the residence for less than one year.

In California, a mobile home park may not refuse permission to a tenant to have "at least one pet within the park, subject to reasonable rules and regulations of the park". Also, a condominium or "common interest development" project may not refuse an owner the right to have "at least one pet within the development, subject to the reasonable rules and regulations of the association.." These new rules only apply, however, to leases or common interest documents (e.g. C.C.& R.'s) executed, modified or amended after 1/1/01).

Landlords routinely require a Security Deposit to be posted as a condition of the rental agreement. In California, for residential tenancies, a Landlord may charge up to two times the monthly rent for unfurnished (three times for furnished) rental units.

The deposit is held until the Tenant moves out. The money is then supposed to be refunded within 21 days of moving out, less deductions for rent owing and charges for cleaning or repairing damages caused by excessive wear and tear. The deposit generally
transfers to successive owners. A non-refundable deposit is not allowed. Thus, it is refundable no matter what the contract says.

In some jurisdictions, the Landlord must pay interest on the deposit. Here, a Landlord may mix the money with his own and use it as he/she pleases. When the money does not have to be held in a separate account, Landlords sometimes find it difficult to freely refund the Tenant's money when required to do so, especially if they have already spent it!

Thus, while many Landlords do handle these funds responsibly, there are many that do not and play some games including the following:

1. Keep the money. The Landlord simply decides to keep the money without cause
to do so. This is based on the theory that most Tenants will not bother to take legal action to chase after the money.

2. Let's renovate. The Landlord wishes to improve the rental unit at the Tenant's
expense. Items that need simple repair are replaced or improved and the Tenant is charged the full cost.

3. I forgot. The Landlord forgets all the pre-existing problems that existed upon
move-in and now blames them on the departing tenant.

4. I made up the numbers. The Landlord did not actually incur charges but feels that
he could incur them, someday. So he makes up charges like $100 for general cleaning, $150 for carpet cleaning, $100 for trash removal etc. It adds up fast. You get the idea.

Tenants should act to protect their deposit money. One popular method is to use the deposit for your last months rent. Unfortunately, this is not legal without the Landlords consent. There are several things Tenants can do to protect their deposits.

Just call Mr. Radoff's office for assistance before you sign that lease (800) 595-2948.



Phone: (800) 595 2948      Fax: (818) 705 4920


The Law Offices of Franklin Radoff
Serving Since 1970
Phone: (800) 595 2948
Fax: (818) 705 4920

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