Tenant Law in California
The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Santa Monica, California can sometimes be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and responsibilities.
There are many 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 Monica, CA
The most important and most obvious 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 also 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 Monica, 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 Monica, California's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are usuallyy 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 Monica, California, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Under federal and California law, tenants are also entitled to protection against discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, marital status, or gender. Such discrimination can lead to severe civil penalties against the landlord. Landlords also cannot discriminate against tenants based on physical disability, and have to make reasonable accommodations for physically disabled tenants. For example, they have to allow disabled tenants to make minor physical alterations to the unit (at the tenant's expense) to make it more accessible. Now, they don't need to allow the tenants to have the building remodeled. We're just talking about things like installing handrails in the bathroom, and similar things. The landlord can, however, require tenants to restore the apartment to its original condition, at the tenant's expense, once the tenant leaves.
Finally, the laws of most states protect tenants from unfair eviction. In general, as long as a tenant is paying rent on time, and is not damaging the unit, they cannot be evicted before the term of the lease expires, unless there is a very good reason to do so (such as excessive noise caused by the tenant, or illegal activities in the apartment).
Can a Santa Monica, California Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants usually prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for obvious reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Santa Monica, California landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.