California Tenants, A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities

What should a tenant do if his or her apartment needs repairs? Can a landlord force a tenant to move? How many days' notice does a tenant have to give a landlord before the tenant moves? Can a landlord raise a tenant's rent? California Tenants - A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities answers these questions and many others.

Whether the tenant is renting a room, an apartment, a house, or a duplex, the landlord-tenant relationship is governed by federal, state, and local laws. This booklet focuses on California laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, and suggests things that both the landlord and tenant can do to make the relationship a good one. Although the booklet is written from the tenant's point of view, landlords can also benefit from its information.

Tenants and landlords should discuss their expectations and responsibilities before they enter into a rental agreement. If a problem occurs, the tenant and landlord should try to resolve the problem by open communication and discussion. Honest discussion of the problem may show each party that he or she is not completely in the right, and that a fair compromise is in order.

If the problem is one for which the landlord is responsible, the landlord may be willing to correct the problem or to work out a solution without further action by the tenant. If the problem is one for which the tenant is responsible (see Dealing with Problems), the tenant may agree to correct the problem once the tenant understands the landlord's concerns. If the parties cannot reach a solution on their own, they may be able to resolve the problem through mediation or arbitration (see Arbitration and Mediation). In some situations, a court action may provide the only solution.

The Department of Consumer Affairs hopes that tenants and landlords will use this booklet's information to avoid problems in the first place, and to resolve those problems that do occur.


You can probably find the information you need by using this booklet's Table of Contents and Glossary of Terms.


The Table of Contents shows that the booklet is divided into nine main sections. Each main section is divided into smaller sections. For example, if you want information about the rental agreement, look under "Rental Agreements and Leases" in the "Before you Agree to Rent " section.


If you just want to know the meaning of a term, such as "eviction" or "holding deposit," look in the Glossary. The glossary gives the meaning of more than 60 terms. Each of these terms also is printed in boldface type the first time that it appears in each section of the booklet.

The Department of Consumer Affairs hopes that you will find the information you're looking for in this booklet. If you can't find what you're looking for, call or write one of the resources listed in "Getting Help From a Third Party" or "Tenant Information and Assistance Resources".