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Duties for California landlords and tenants: 3 things to know

With housing costs in California so extremely high, renting a home or apartment is the best option for many people. When renting,  however, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. That way you protect your interests and build a solid rental history.

Additionally, you should also be aware of duties your landlord has. Landlords can be held liable when they fail to meet those duties.

In this post, we will highlight three important things for you to know.

Tenants have a duty to not only to pay rent, but to not cause damage to the property.

In addition to paying rent, tenants need to ensure the living space is kept clean and sanitary. This entails removing trash as necessary, cleaning fixtures, and preventing damage or alteration to the property as specified in the lease. In addition, you must prevent guests in your home from causing damage to the property. If a third party damages the home while you are a tenant, you may be considered responsible for what occurred.

Tenants must use the space according to terms of the lease agreement.

As a tenant, you are also obligated to use the living space as intended within the terms of the lease agreement. For example, establishing a business within the rental may not be allowed. Also, you are obligated to use and maintain plumbing, electrical, and other utility fixtures in the proper manner. Failure to do so not only creates a safety risk, it could also lead to legal issues with your landlord.

Landlords have a duty to keep a rental space habitable.

First and foremost, landlords must create a habitable living space for all tenants. All utilities must be in proper working order, including heat, power to appliances (whether electric or gas), running water, lighting, as well as any other utilities deemed necessary to live. Landlords are also obligated to properly maintain utilities as needed.

Exterior building issues are also in the purview of landlords. This entails keeping the elements outside of the home by proper waterproofing, repairing faulty windows and doors, and effective roof maintenance and repair. In apartment buildings, landlords must also ensure all stairwells are safe and secure for tenant use. Finally, landlords must provide tenants with the proper trash receptacles, be it garbage cans or dumpsters, to ensure trash is disposed of efficiently.