Understanding Landlord Rights

landlord-header1As a landlord, managing multiple properties, or even just one, can be a daunting responsibility. Whether it’s getting a call in the middle of a night because of a leak in one of the properties, or your tenant is beginning to damage the property itself, finding the balance in how to respond can sometimes be empowered or restrained due to legal rights. At ADLI, we’re dedicated to helping resolve or litigate landlord and tenant’s right when it infringes upon state law.  Every state has a different legal process for determining landlord and tenant rights, and we’re going to explore some of the various rights that are held within the power of a landlord in Los Angeles under California law.

Security Deposits

landlord-header2California state law highlights and defines the limit a landlord can charge a renter when it comes to a security deposit. The security deposit can be given back at the end of the lease if the landlord finds that there is no damage besides the normal wear and tear. This provides a sort of security cushion in case damage incurs over the timeline of the lease, or if a tenant gets up and leaves in the middle of the lease start and end dates. Now a common question for both landlords and tenants is how much is a security deposit? Well, in the state of California, it is explicitly stated that a security deposit can not be more than two month’s rent, if the apartment is unfurnished. The deposit can go up to a sum of three month’s rent if the residence is furnished. Further, if a tenant owns a water bed, due to potential damages, a landlord can charge an additional one-half month’s rent to cover the water bed. Now that we understand security deposits on the front end of a lease agreement, let’s explore what landlord rights are when it comes to returning a security deposit. The deadline for returning a security deposit is 21 calendar days or less after the tenant moves out, a full refund of the initial security deposit must be returned, or an itemized list that contains the amounts and reasons of any and all deductions on the refund. Additionally, receipts of the charges must be sent to the tenants that highlights the money incurred to cover repairs of cleaning. The landlords must also provide a notice before taking any deductions out, so money cannot be withheld until the tenant receives the itemized list.


Sometimes, a residence that is being rented out may have disclosures that need to be provided to the tenant before signing a lease. The disclosure requires providing specific information to the tenant about certain conditions of the home. An example is if there is known mold in the residence that could be a potential threat to a tenant’s health, or if the gas in the rental is also used to serve other areas. A disclosure could also include information in the lease about a registered sexual offender database, and disclose information about known locations, within one mile of the rental, of former federal or state ordinances. When it comes to a no smoking policy, if the lease is signed after January 1, 2012, the landlord must provide a clause in the lease that describes areas where smoking is prohibited.

When a Landlord Can Enter the Rental Residency

California law provides proper circumstances in which a landlord can enter the rental unit. When it comes to entering the property, a tenant has various privacy rights and it’s important as a landlord to know when you can enter because a landlord can be litigated and sued up to $10,000 without following proper protocol. A 24-hour written notice must be given to the tenant upon the requested that the landlord seeks to enter the property. However, the landlord can enter the property without 24-hour notice if there is an emergency, the tenant abandoned the rental unit, there is consent from the tenant that the landlord can enter the rental, and if there is mutually agreed upon times for repairs or services and the tenant has received a proper heads up to the agreed time.
When it comes to landlord legal rights in the state of California, there may be some discrepancies in what is believed to be common knowledge and what is actually law. Los Angeles is a highly “rental friendly” market, so understanding your legal rights and restrictions as a landlord is imperative. At ADLI, if there is any abuse of landlord or tenant rights, we’re here to help counsel and quality legal representation when it comes to resolving these issues. Contact ADLI Law Group today if there are any concerns or questions about your rights as a landlord in the Los Angeles area!