A rental agreement is a legal form that two parties use when closing a deal related to space leasing. Regardless of whether the two parties are individuals or entities, the one temporarily giving away the property is the “landlord” or the “owner,” while the one getting the property is the “tenant” or the “renter.”
In California, as well as in other states, a rental (or lease) agreement is a detailed document that lists the main features of the deal: amount, space description, conditions, information about the landlord and the renter, and so on. Typically, every rental agreement form is no less than 10 pages long because of all the details parties need to include.
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Different states have different regulations for lease agreements. In California, you may learn about the majority of relevant laws in Division 2 and 3 of the Civil Code. Division 3, Part 4, Title 5, Chapter 2 tells about leasing and the rights of owners and renters. Besides that, there is a separate California Tenants guide released by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
As stated in Section 1950.5 of state law, in California, the maximum amount of the deposit varies depending on whether the property has furniture or not. In all cases, it is up to three months’ worth of rent.
When the rented space has furniture, the tenant may be required to give up to three months’ rent as a security deposit. Without furniture, the amount is reduced to two months’ rent.
In California, the period within which the landlord must refund the deposit is 21 days. If there is any kind of deduction, the parties should create a list with valid reasons.
In California, rent should be paid on the day specified by both parties in the lease agreement.
If the tenant fails to pay rent, the owner may issue the tenant with a special document called “3-Day Notice to Quit.” Once the renter receives the document, they have three days to pay, failure to which the landlord initiates the process of kicking the tenant out.
Delay in rent payment could lead to a fine. When a tenant is delaying payment, fees might be applied. California state law prescribes that the fine be reasonable. Also, some counties have set the percentage of the rent to be fined. For instance, in Los Angeles, late payment leads to a fine of 5% of the rent amount.
In case of an emergency, the owner can access the property immediately without notice. When visiting for maintenance purposes, the owner should issue the tenant with a 24-hour notice. Finally, for inspection purposes when a tenant is moving out, there has to be 48-hour notice.
In California, both signatories should make a list of disclosures when signing a rental agreement, both mandatory and optional. The mandatory disclosures in California include:
There is also a list of optional disclosures that includes asbestos addendum, guidelines for grilling, move-in and move-out inspection checklist, pet agreement, rules of the house, and others.
Because lease agreements can be tied to different property types, such agreements vary. In California, you will find at least seven types, including:
As you can see, there are many different agreement types, so choose the template you need attentively.
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