Once you’ve signed the lease and been handed the keys, entering your rental unit is like opening the door to a new adventure.
Moving into a rental space can be an exciting time, but do you know your rights as a tenant?
We answer the California rental questions:
- Can a landlord go into your home without permission?
- How much can a landlord raise your rent?
- When can a landlord kick you out?
Can a landlord go into your home without permission in California?
California law states that a landlord can only enter your home for specified reasons.
According to the California Tenants Guide, a landlord or their agent should give you an advanced written notice that states the date, time and purpose of the entry before entering the unit.
Your landlord can only enter during normal business hours. This is generally defined as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day of the week.
The valid reasons for entry include the following:
Written notice is not required in the following situations:
- To respond to an emergency
- If the tenant has moved out or abandoned the unit
- If the tenant is present during the time of entry and gives consent
- The tenant and landlord both verbally agreed to the repairs or services, and gave the landlord permission to enter including the date and approximate time of entry
Can a landlord increase your rent in California?
Yes, your landlord can increase your rent in California, according to the California Tenants Guide.
How much can rent be raised?
If your rental unit is covered by the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, the landlord can only raise rent once in a 12-month period by 5% plus inflation rate or by 10%, whichever is lower.
According to the California Department of Justice, the Tenant Protection Act applies all rental units except:
- Single-family homes not owned by a corporation
- Units protected by a local ordinance that is more protective than the state ordinance
- Units built in the past 15 year
- Mobile homes
- Duplexes where the owner is living in one unit the same time the tenant moves into the other
- Housing that is considered as affordable housing by law
How often can rent be raised?
Rent can be raised depending on whether your rental agreement is subject to local or state rent ordinances, according to the California Tenants Guide.
Your landlord cannot increase the rent during the rental term unless the rental agreement allows increases. Rent can be increased once the agreement ends and is renewed.
Properties under the Tenant Protection Act require a 30-day written notice before any proposed rent increase.
If the property is exempt from Tenant Protection Act and no local ordinances apply, there is no limit on how many times or how high the landlord can raise your rent.
Before a landlord raises your rent, they are required to give an advanced written notice to tell you how much the rent will increase and when the new rate will go into effect.
The landlord is required to give a notice:
- 30 days before if the rent increase is 10% or less
- 90 days before if the rent increase is more than 10%
Can a landlord end your tenancy before the lease ends?
For properties protected by the Tenant Protection Act, a landlord cannot terminate your fixed-term tenancy or evict you without cause.
The Tenant Protection Act defines this as either “At-fault just cause” or “No-fault just cause.”
At-fault just cause can include:
- Failure to pay part or all of the rent
- A breach of the rental agreement
- Engaging in criminal activity or committing a nuisance at the unit
- Tenant’s refusal to renew the rental agreement upon the landlord’s written request or demand
- Subletting the unit
- Tenant’s refusal to permit the landlord to enter the unit
- Using the unit for an unlawful reasons
- Failure to leave the unit when the tenant’s employment under the landlord ends
- Failure to deliver possession of the unit to the landlord after written notice was provided
No-fault just cause can include:
- Landlord wants to occupy the unit themselves or family if the tenant agrees in writing to the termination
- Removal of the unit from the rental market
- An order by a court or government for the tenant to vacate due to habitability issues
- Landlord’s intent to demolish or remodel the unit
A landlord who wants to terminate your month-to-month or week-to-week agreement can do so by serving a written 30-day, 60-day, or a 90-day advanced written notice, according to the California Tenants Guide.