California Lease Agreements | Residential & Commercial

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A California lease agreement is a document that allows a landlord of residential or commercial property to write a legally binding rental contract with a tenant. The agreement will describe the property, specify the monthly rent, and list the responsibilities of both parties. After signing, the tenant will be obligated to pay the first (1st) month’s rent and a security deposit, if any, before access is given to the premises. Both landlord and tenant will be bound to the terms of the agreement until the lease end date.

Rental Application – Should be used by the lessor before signing a contract to help verify that the individual applying for the space is credible.

Table of Contents

Agreement Types (7)


Commercial Lease Agreement – For the use of any business by an individual or entity with an owner of office, retail, or industrial property.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Lease with Option to Purchase (Lease to Own) – Traditionally a fixed-term contract with the added benefit of being able to buy the residence during a stated “option” period.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Month-to-Month Lease Agreement (Section 1946) – Rental contract with no end date. Either party may cancel with 30 days’ notice, if the tenancy is less than 1 year, and 60 days if the lease is more than a year.

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Room Rental (Roommate) Agreement – For a residence with more than one (1) individual seeking to separately occupy bedrooms while sharing common areas.

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Standard Lease Agreement – Most common type of residential lease for an established term, usually one (1) year, and both parties are bound to the terms until its end date.

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Sublease Agreement – A tenant that decides to rent space they are currently involved in a lease with the landlord. Usually, the tenant must receive written confirmation before authorizing a sub-lessee.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Termination Lease Letters – Tenancy for less than a year requires a 30-day notice and for 1-year or more is a 60-day notice.

Download (30-Day): Adobe PDF / Download (60-Day): Adobe PDF

 

 


Required Disclosures

AB 1482 Just Cause Addendum (CIV 1946.2(e)(8)(B)(i) & 1947.12(d)(5)(B)(i)) – Must be attached and signed by all tenants for landlords unless it falls into one of the following categories of exemptions:

  • Units constructed in the last 15 years;
  • Units restricted by a deed, regulatory restrictions, or other recorded document limiting the affordability to low or moderate-income households;
  • Certain dormitories (not defined);
  • A 2-unit property provided the owner occupies one of the units; and
  • Single-family homes only if they are not owned by a real estate trust, a corporation, or an LLC with at least one corporate managing member;
  • Units that are already subject to a local rent control ordinance

Bedbug Addendum (CIV § 1942.5(a)(1)) – The landlord acknowledges that there is prior no existence of bedbugs before move-in by the tenant in addition to the tenant confirming that their furniture does not contain the insect.

Demolition (CIV § 1940.6) – If the landlord has received any type of permit from their respective municipal office to demolish a residential unit it must be disclosed to the tenant before accepting a rental contract or deposit.

Flood Disclosure (PDF, MS Word, ODT) (GOV § 8589.45) – Mandatory as of July 1, 2018. The lessor is required to inform the tenant if the property is located in any special flood area.

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure – For any housing type built prior to 1978 to notify the habitants of the unit that the hazardous material of lead paint may exist in the under-layers of paint in their walls/ceilings.

Megan’s Law Disclosure (PDF | MS Word | ODT) (CIV § 2079.10a) – The following statement is required to be in every residential contract written in California:

“Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and ZIP Code in which he or she resides.”

Mold Disclosure (HSC § 26147 & 26148) – The landlord must disclose to the tenant the health risks of mold by attaching the document to the agreement.

Ordinance Locations (CIV § 1940.7(b)) – The landlord of a residential dwelling unit who has actual knowledge of any former federal or state ordinance locations in the neighborhood area shall give written notice to a prospective tenant of that knowledge prior to the execution of a rental agreement.

Pest Control (GOV § 1099) – If any remediation has been conducted on the property, an inspection report provided by the pest control company must be also forwarded to the tenant.

Shared Utilities (CIV § 1940.9) – If the unit has a shared electrical or gas meter, the agreement must state how the utilities shall be split between the parties.

Smoking Policy Disclosure (CIV § 1947.5) – Landlord must state if smoking is tolerated, the areas for which it is allowed including any and all common areas.

Optional Disclosures

Asbestos Addendum – For the existence of this substance in a property.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Compliance Form (§ 17926.1) – Landlord is required to have carbon monoxide monitors throughout all living units that have fossil-fuel-based heaters and/or appliances.

CC&Rs Addendum – Acknowledgment of declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and association rules and regulations.

Grilling Guidelines – Sets the rules for the tenant if the use of a grill is allowed.

Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Checklist – To list any damage prior to move-in before the lease commencement and at it’s so the parties may see any added damage/repairs to the property. Most commonly the damage (if any) will be reflected in the tenant’s security deposit when returned by the landlord.

Personal Guarantee – Gets an individual’s promise to pay for a written rental contract. Typically used when the tenant is high-risk and this form is designated for a creditable co-signer.

Pet Agreement (PDF | MS Word) – If the tenant has a pet and would like to have it on the landlord’s property.

Pool & Hot Tub Addendum – For the use of a jacuzzi and/or pool on the premises.

Renter’s Insurance Addendum – If the landlord requires the tenant to have liability insurance.

Resident Policies and House Rules – Sets standard rules and parameters for the tenant to follow.

Satellite Dish Addendum – All lessee’s in the State of California have the right to install a satellite dish on the property if they wish as long as it conforms to all local and State laws.

Unlawful Activities Addendum – Tenant, or their guest, may not conduct any of the activities listed in the document or else will be considered criminal and immediate removal (eviction) from the property.

*If you could not find your desired disclosure form check the Apartment Association of California’s Index Page.

Security Deposits

Maximum (§ 1950.5) – If furnished three (3) months’ rent. If unfurnished two (2) months’ rent.

Returning (§ 1950.5) – Landlord shall return any and all deposits within twenty-one (21) days from the time the tenant moved out of the property. Any deductions should be listed in an itemized statement.

When is Rent Due?

Rent is due on the day stated in the lease agreement (page 28, Landlord-Tenant Handbook).

If the tenant is late on rent, the landlord can send them a 3-day notice to quit which requires the tenant to pay the full amount due (incl. penalties) or vacate the property. If the tenant does neither then the landlord may begin eviction proceedings.

Late Fees

Late fees must be “reasonable” (CIV § 1671). Los Angeles County has deemed 5% of the monthly rent to be reasonable.

Right to Enter (Landlord)

*No notice required.

Giving Notice

A Right to Enter Notice must be either:

  • Personally delivered to the tenant;
  • Left with someone of a suitable age at the property;
  • Left on, near, or under the usual entry door of the premises in a manner in which a reasonable person would discover the notice; or
  • Mailing at least six days prior to an intended entry is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Source: CIV § 1954(d)(1)

Guides

(Video) What are the California Rental Laws?