|WHAT IS A RESIDENTIAL LEASE?|
The Residential Lease is used to create a fixed term tenancy in California. A landlord should use this agreement to
NOTICES: This residential lease contains the notices required by California
law for non-separated gas/electric meters, owner/agent identification,
and database disclosure. Please read the section below about disclosures
to learn more this subject.
|WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL TERMS FOR A CA RESIDENTIAL LEASE?|
| "TERM" OF LEASE
The term of a residential lease refers to the period of time during which the tenant will occupy the rented premises.
In a Residential Lease, the term is fixed. A fixed term, also known as a "tenancy for years", terminates on a given date without notice. This means there must be a definite start date and a definite termination date. This also means that neither party need give the other notice that the tenancy is terminating. However, this does not mean that the tenant must leave when the term ends. Pursuant to California Civil Code section 1945, if the tenant remains in possession of the premises after the residential lease terminates, and the landlord accepts rent from the tenant, the agreement is presumed to renew, but the term is capped at one month IF the rent is payable monthly, and capped at one year in any case. In many cases, this means that the fixed term tenancy converts to a month to month.
DESCRIPTION AND USE OF PREMISES
MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF SECURITY DEPOSITS
(and other things you should know)
Within three weeks after the tenant has moved out, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized statement indicating what the security was used for and a refund of any unused amount.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR UTILITIES
The residential lease must include the responsible party for each utility as decided between the parties. To allow for personal residences with existing service or for modern buildings, services other than traditional utilities have been included. You may add another service if the cost of that service is an issue. If a particular utility is not applicable to your dwelling unit, you should select "Not Applicable" in the .
If the landlord and tenant will split the cost of a particular bill, the percentage amount that each party will pay must be determined. This is indicated by entering the tenant's percentage amount.
Finally, if the landlord is paying for a particular utility, it is assumed that the utility will be kept in the landlord's name.
|WHAT ADDITIONAL TERMS SHOULD A QUALITY RESIDENTIAL LEASE CONTAIN?|
This provision refers to sleep-over guests. The Residential Lease allows tenants to have guests, but the number of guests and the duration of their stay is open to negotiation. If a guest is to stay long term, then he/she should be added as a tenant to the Residential Lease. Every landlord must consider his/her/its own unique circumstances. A large apartment complex may need stricter rules than a private residence. Furthermore, local rent control laws may exist that would affect eviction procedures of non-tenant persons who are staying on the premises. This should also be taken into consideration.
CONDITION OF PREMISES
Any dwelling requires repair and maintenance from time to time. The landlord and tenant must agree who will be responsible for such repair and maintenance, and must indicate the same in the Residential Lease. While this issue is open to negotiation, many factors can affect the negotiation process. Such factors include local regulations or customs, whether the dwelling is furnished or not, whether any particular system or appliance is provided by landlord or tenant, and general market conditions.
Whether or not the tenant is responsible for the systems and appliances (which include things such as air conditioning, dishwasher, oven, stove, etc.), the Residential Lease should state what specific responsibilities the tenant has, if any. The allows you to enter this information. If, for example, the tenant is supposed to water the plants in the balcony, or wash the rooftop patio every week, that information should be entered where requested.
To prevent problems down the road, either before move-in, or very soon thereafter, the premises should be inspected to the tenant's satisfaction. The landlord must deliver the premises in habitable condition. Items that do not affect habitability but that never the less are unsatisfactory to tenant should be noted. The tenant should prepare a letter to the landlord indicating all unsatisfactory items that either 1) the landlord should repair, or 2) that should be noted as damaged or unsatisfactory from the outset so that the tenant cannot later be blamed for the preexisting condition.
For example, if there is a cracked tile in the entryway of the apartment,
this should be noted to the landlord. While the landlord may or may not
repair this condition, it should be noted as preexisting so that the tenant
is not later held responsible for its repair. If the landlord and tenant
have inspected the premises together, both of them should sign the letter
identifying the preexisting conditions. If the tenant provides this letter
after move-in (so that the landlord has not inspected the premises with
the landlord), the tenant should mail this letter certified and retain
proof of the mailing.
|CAN A LANDLORD PROHIBIT THE USE OF A WATERBED?|
|NO, BUT the Tenant must follow the conditions and procedures in California Civil Code section 1940.5.|
|WHAT DISCLOSURE IS REQUIRED FOR NOTICES AND PERSONAL SERVICE?|
Civil Code section 1962 requires disclosure of the owner's information,
or the owner's agent's information, where personal service may be effected
(As used herein, owner means landlord). Additionally, California
Civil Code section 1962 requires disclosure of the manager's information.
These disclosure are best made in the lease, even though California
Civil Code section 1962.5 allows them to be made by posting appropriate
notices on the property.
The owner's agent is someone authorized by the owner to accept personal service on the owner's behalf. The manager is the person or company that is in charge of managing the property. In small apartment complexes, or for people renting out their house, there may be no manager.
|WHAT OTHER DISCLOSURES MAY BE REQUIRED?|
The Residential Lease you prepare using this website provides the following notices that landlord are required by California law to provide to tenants:
A LANDLORD MAY NEED TO PROVIDE OTHER DISCLOSURES THAT DO NOT NECESSARILY NEED TO BE CONTAINED IN A RENTAL AGREEMENT, DEPENDING ON THE PARTICULAR BUILDING AND/OR ITS LOCATION AND OTHER SITUATIONS. For example, if your building is in a former ordnance location, then as a landlord, you must provide tenants with a notice of former ordnance location. Also for example, if you (landlord) have contracted with a structural pest control company for periodic pest control services, you must give each new tenant a notice about this. You may also be required to give notices under a particular rent control law in your area. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING ABOUT AND PROVIDING THE PARTICULAR NOTICES REQUIRED FOR YOUR OWN BUILDING AND SITUATION.
|WHAT IS A GUARANTOR?|
| A guarantor is someone who guarantees the performance of another person's
obligation. In the case of a residential rental agreement, the guarantor
is obligated to pay the rent (or other monies owed to the landlord) if the
tenant fails to do so.
For how long is a guarantor liable for the tenant's obligations? That depends on the guaranty made. A guarantor may only promise to cover the tenant for the first year, and whatever happens after that is not the guarantor's problem. Or, the guarantor may promise to cover the tenant as long as the tenant stays in possession of the premises. If you use the to prepare your Residential Lease, you may choose between these two types of guaranties.
|THINGS TO CONSIDER|
| RENT CONTROL
It is important to know if you are in a rent controlled area. Every rent controlled area has different laws/ordinances affecting landlords' and tenants' respective rights. If you are in a rent controlled area, you should contact your applicable housing authority to learn more about your particular rights. This website does not have any information for any particular rent controlled area.
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The material above is NOT a complete explanation of the law regarding the form's subject matter -- it only provides specific legal information regarding the associated form. It is not intended to provide information outside the scope of the associated form. It is intended to explain only certain legal concepts in simple terms in order to help the reader understand what the form is for and how it's generally used.
Also, the above information is not legal advice. It is GENERAL legal information that merely states the law. If you need legal advice about your own particular situation, you must hire an attorney that can listen and apply the law to your specific facts. cannot and does not practice law and cannot help you with your individual problem.
Also, the foregoing information and the form related hereto pertain only to California law, unless indicated otherwise at the top of the corresponding . This website does not have information regarding federal law or the laws of other states.