Tenant Law in California
The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Santa Clara, California can sometimes be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and responsibilities.
There are several rights and responsibilities that landlords and tenants have. It's important that each party is aware of their rights, and the rights of the other party. By knowing and respecting these rights, the risk of conflict should be reduced dramatically.
Landlord's Rights in Santa Clara, CA
The most important and most evident right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.
They additionally have a right to compensation for any damage that a tenant causes, beyond ordinary wear and tear. Landlords are free to bill the tenants for repairs to damage they caused, and deduct the cost from the security deposit.
Tenant's Rights in Santa Clara, CA
Most basically, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to ensure that the units they rent meet Santa Clara, California's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are typicallyy not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements.
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Santa Clara, California, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and California law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Moreover, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
And finally, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord usually can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a Santa Clara, California Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Santa Clara, California attorney can certainly help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more valuable for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.