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Landlord-Tenant Laws in California

If you’ve ever rented or leased property, residential or commercial, your experience with landlords has likely gone pretty well. Most are fair and stick to the terms of the lease. On the other hand, some landlords will try everything possible to get around their legal obligations. The same goes for tenants. Some are great and some are not. No matter how complete the background check, you can end up with a non-paying deadbeat tenant. They can’t or won’t pay the rent, are destroying your property, are engaging in illegal activity, or are deliberately causing problems for you and their neighbors.

When tenant/landlord conflicts arise, both have a choice. They can try to sort things out. Reasonable people can often come to terms. When disagreements become contentious, it is wise to know your rights and to have Eric J. Proos, Esq. in your legal corner.

Landlord Rights

While you may think landlords generally get a pretty bad rap these days, the courts understand your rights and generally side with you on most eviction cases. You have a right to protect and make money on your property. As a landlord and property owner, you have a right to:

  • Set rents and their collection
  • Enter property (with notice)
  • Make repairs, alterations, and clean, and…
  • Evict tenants (for failure to pay rent and/or comply with lease agreements)
  • Recoup monetary damages to property, and…(I’ll bet you didn’t know this)…
  • Shift the cost of legal action to tenants whose case fails in court


Eviction is not an easy process, but it is not necessarily the arduous lengthy legal hassle you might think it is. You have every right to evict a tenant who fails to pay rent, or inflicts damage on your property, providing you take the proper legal steps in the time and order set by the court.

The Process

  • Timely notice
  • Filing of proper forms
  • Filing of a formal court complaint
  • Serving the notice and filing of a proof of service form
  • Await tenant response (3 days for Pay or Quit/30 Days for Formal Eviction Notice)
  • Eviction court appearance or trial

Tenant Rights

It may seem landlords have all the legal power on their side under California law. This is not the case. Under California law, landlords are legally required to offer and maintain habitable rentals. If habitable rentals are not maintained, tenants may:

  • Withhold rent
  • Move out without notice
  • Sue the landlord
  • Call state or local health inspectors
  • Exercise the right to “repair and deduct” the cost of repairs from the rent

Having Landlord/Tenant Issues?

The Law Offices of Eric J. Proos, Esq. are at your disposal. We can help your sort out this complex legal process. Residents in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Westwood and surrounding CA communities call (213) 784-3640.

All information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is dependent on the specific facts and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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