Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
The landlord-tenant relationship has the potential to directly affect the financial well-being and quality of life for both owner and renter.
The landlord depends on the rental property for his income and could face financial hardship if tenants don’t pay, or if they cause damage to the property. The tenant has to come home to the property every day, so if the landlord does not maintain it properly or provide a safe and quiet environment, it could become an unpleasant place to live.
So, the state of California has established specific landlord-tenant laws to help protect the rights of each.
The first step in settling on a rental property – aside from making sure you can afford it and choosing the right features and location – is to visit the property with the landlord. Together, inspect the interior and exterior to identify any needed repairs, as well as to establish the general condition.
It doesn’t have to be pretty, but California Civil Code requires that the rental property be fit for human habitation and makes it the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that condition is met. This is called the “implied warranty of habitability.”
Among the requirements of landlord-tenant law, the rental property must have:
· Adequate weather protection.
· Running water.
· Safe electrical wiring.
· A heating system.
· A toilet, sink and bathtub or shower.
· Deadbolt locks.
· At least one phone jack.
· A locking mail receptacle.
· Smoke detectors.