California Tenants' Rights [NOOK Book]

Overview

Protecting California tenants' rights since 1971!

Many tenants have to deal with roommates who don't pull their weight, neighbors who routinely engage in illegal activities, landlords who don't know --...
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California Tenants' Rights

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Overview

Protecting California tenants' rights since 1971!

Many tenants have to deal with roommates who don't pull their weight, neighbors who routinely engage in illegal activities, landlords who don't know -- or won’t follow -- national or state laws and local rent ordinances. Use this book to give you the information and tips you need to protect and assert your rights as a renter in California.
Find out how to:

-understand and negotiate a lease
-inspect a rental before moving in
-fight discrimination
-get needed repairs and maintenance
-deal with a nosy landlord
-break a lease with minimum fall-out
-get your security deposit back
-figure out rules for rent increases
-fight an eviction

The 18th edition of California Tenants' Rights is completely updated with the latest laws and official legal forms, and covers new legislation on protections for tenants caught in foreclosed properties.
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Editorial Reviews

Oakland Tribune
Do you have an obnoxious landlord? Want to break a lease? The landlord won’t make needed repairs? Want to get your deposit back when you move out? The answer to these and many other questions about the magic of renting are answered in detail in Tenant’s Rights.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Are you shopping for an apartment, or already renting one and wondering about repairs, your rights as a tenant or collecting a security or cleaning deposit when you move? Your legal rights and how to pursue them are spelled out in Tenant’s Rights.
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Who said that attorneys can’t drop the legalese and talk from the gut? Here is some straight talk on how to protect yourself from your landlord before you move in, then what to do when he turns mean.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Are you shopping for an apartment, or already renting one and wondering about repairs, your rights as a tenant or collecting a security or cleaning deposit when you move? Your legal rights and how to pursue them are spelled out in California Tenants' Rights.
Oakland Tribune
Want to break a lease? The landlord won't make needed repairs? Want to get your deposit back when you move out? The answer to these and many other questions about the magic of renting are answered in detail in California Tenants' Rights.
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Who said that attorneys can't drop the legalese and talk from the gut? Here is some straight talk on how to protect yourself from your landlord before you move in, then what to do when he turns mean.
Los Angeles Times
A whole book of good ideas.
Sacramento Bee
Recommended by the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
San Francisco Examiner
Buy a copy of the book Tenants' Rights...[it] is worth every penny.
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Who said that attorneys can't drop the legalese and talk from the gut? Here is some straight talk on how to protect yourself from your landlord before you move in, then what to do when he turns mean.
San Francisco Chronicle
Every renter in California should know about [California Tenants' Rights]...
Oakland Tribune
Want to break a lease? The landlord won't make needed repairs? Want to get your deposit back when you move out? The answer to these and many other questions about the magic of renting are answered in detail in California Tenant's Rights.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Are you shopping for an apartment, or already renting one and wondering about repairs, your rights as a tenant or collecting a security or cleaning deposit when you move? Your legal rights and how to pursue them are spelled out in California Tenant's Rights.
From the Publisher
"Every renter in California should know about [California Tenants' Rights]..." San Francisco Chronicle

"Want to break a lease? The landlord won't make needed repairs? Want to get your deposit back when you move out? The answer to these and many other questions about the magic of renting are answered in detail in California Tenant's Rights." Oakland Tribune

"Are you shopping for an apartment, or already renting one and wondering about repairs, your rights as a tenant or collecting a security or cleaning deposit when you move? Your legal rights and how to pursue them are spelled out in California Tenant's Rights."  San Diego Union-Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413318180
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 19
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,128,912
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

As Nolo's managing editor, Janet Portman oversees editorial work on all Nolo books. She specializes
in residential and commercial landlord/tenant law, legal issues related to courts, landlords and tenants,
and neighbor disputes. She is the author or co author of Every Landlord's Legal Guide, Every Tenant's
Legal Guide, Renters' Rights, Leases & Rental Agreements, The California Landlord's Law Book: Rights
and Responsibilities and others. A nationally syndicated columnist with Inman News, Portman's column,
"Rent It Right," appears regularly in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and other prominent
newspapers and websites. Portman received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford
University and a law degree from Santa Clara University. Before joining Nolo in 1994, she practiced law
as a public defender.
David Brown practices law in the Monterey, California area, where he has represented both landlords
and tenants in hundreds of court cases most of which he felt could have been avoided if both sides
were more fully informed about landlord/tenant law. Brown, a graduate of Stanford University and the
University of Santa Clara Law School, also teaches law at the Monterey College of Law and is the author
of Fight Your Ticket in California, Beat Your Ticket and others.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Everywhere in California, you are legally entitled to rental property that meets basic structural, health, and safety standards and is in good repair. But suppose a landlord comes up short? When landlords fail to take care of important maintenance, you may have the legal right to use the "big sticks" in a tenant's arsenal -- the rights to:

  • withhold rent
  • pay for repairs yourself and deduct the cost from the rent
  • sue the landlord, or
  • move out without notice.

This chapter describes your right to basic, important things, such as hot water, a floor that will not collapse under your feet, decent heat, and a roof that doesn't leak -- in other words, your right to a safe and livable home. It also provides practical advice on how to get a reluctant landlord to perform needed repairs (and how to get them done yourself, using the big sticks mentioned above, if the landlord refuses). Less important maintenance and repair issues -- such as unclogging kitchen drains or mowing the front lawn -- are covered in the next chapter.


Your Basic Right to Livable Premises

All landlords are legally required to offer livable premises when they originally rent a unit, and to maintain it in that condition throughout the rental term. In legal terminology, this promise of fit housing has the lofty-sounding name "the implied warranty of habitability." The word "implied" means that by virtue of offering a residential rental, the landlord is automatically promising you a fit place to live -- even if the landlord doesn't realize it.

Importantly, you have the right to a habitable rental even if you've willingly moved into aplace that's clearly below habitability standards, or even if the lease or rental agreement you've signed states that the landlord doesn't have to provide a habitable unit. No California judge will accept these sleazy attempts to secure tenant "waivers," and none will uphold landlord "disclaimers."

So far, your right to a livable rental probably sounds rather imprecise. What does a "fit and habitable" rental really mean? Fortunately, in California the landlord's responsibility to provide habitable housing is quite specific. The sections below give you chapter and verse from state law, building codes, and court decisions. Taken together, they form an impressive list of entitlements for tenants.


Fit and Habitable: State Statutes

The major California law defining habitable housing is Civil Code § 1941.1 and § 1941.3. According to these laws, at a minimum every rental must have:

  • effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors
  • plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation, maintained in good working order
  • a water supply approved under applicable law that is under the control of the tenant, capable of producing hot and cold running water, or a system that is under the control of the landlord, that produces hot and cold running water, furnished to appropriate fixtures, and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law
  • heating facilities that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order
  • electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order
  • building, grounds, and appurtenances at the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement, and all areas under control of the landlord, kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin
  • an adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in clean condition and good repair at the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement, with the landlord providing appropriate serviceable receptacles thereafter and being responsible for the clean condition and good repair of the receptacles under the landlord's control
  • floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair
  • deadbolt locks on certain doors and windows (see Chapter 12 for specifics), and
  • No lead paint hazards (deteriorated lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust or soil, or leadbased paint disturbed without containment). (CC §§ 1941.1 and 1941.3; H&S § 17920.10.)


State Housing Law

The State Housing Law, H&S § 17920.3, provides that the following problems render a rental unfit and substandard if they endanger you or the public:


  1. Inadequate sanitation shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Lack of, or improper water closet, lavatory, or bathtub or shower in a dwelling unit.

    2. Lack of, or improper kitchen sink.

    3. Lack of hot and cold running water to plumbing fixtures in a dwelling unit.

    4. Lack of adequate heating.

    5. Lack of, or improper operation of required ventilating equipment.

    6. Lack of minimum amounts of natural light and ventilation required by this code.

    7. Room and space dimensions less than required by this code.

    8. Lack of required electrical lighting.

    9. Dampness of habitable rooms.

    10. Infestation of insects, vermin, or rodents as determined by the health officer.

    11. General dilapidation or improper maintenance.

    12. Lack of connection to required sewage disposal system.

    13. Lack of adequate garbage and rubbish storage and removal facilities as determined by the health officer.



  2. Structural hazards shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Deteriorated or inadequate foundations.

    2. Defective or deteriorated flooring or floor supports.

    3. Flooring or floor supports of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

    4. Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that split, lean, list, or buckle due to defective material or deterioration.

    5. Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

    6. Members of ceilings, roofs, ceilings and roof supports, or other horizontal members, that sag, split, or buckle due to defective material or deterioration.

    7. Members of ceiling, roofs, ceiling and roof supports, or other horizontal members that are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

    8. Fireplaces or chimneys that list, bulge, or settle due to defective material or deterioration.

    9. Fireplaces or chimneys that are of insufficient size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety.



  3. Any nuisance.

  4. All wiring, except that which conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation if it is currently in good and safe condition and working properly.

  5. All plumbing, except plumbing that conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and has been maintained in good condition, or that may not have conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation but is currently in good and safe condition and working properly, and that is free of cross connections and siphonage between fixtures.

  6. All mechanical equipment, including vents, except equipment that conformed to all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and that has been maintained in good and safe condition, or that may not have conformed to all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation but is currently in good and safe condition and working properly.

  7. Faulty weather protection, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Deteriorated, crumbling, or loose plaster.

    2. Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roof, foundations, or floors, including broken windows or doors.

    3. Defective or lack of weather protection for exterior wall coverings, including lack of paint, or weathering due to lack of paint or other approved protective covering.

    4. Broken, rotted, split, or buckled exterior wall coverings or roof coverings.



  8. Any building or portion thereof, device, apparatus, equipment, combustible waste, or vegetation that, in the opinion of the chief of the fire department or his deputy, is in such a condition as to cause a fire or explosion or provide a ready fuel to augment the spread and intensity of fire or explosion arising from any cause.

  9. All materials of construction, except those that are specifically allowed or approved by this code, and that have been adequately maintained in good and safe condition.

  10. Those premises on which an accumulation of weeds, vegetation, junk, dead organic matter, debris, garbage, offal, rodent harborages, stagnant water, combustible materials, and similar materials or conditions constitute fire, health, or safety hazards.

  11. Any building or portion thereof that is determined to be an unsafe building due to inadequate maintenance, in accordance with the latest edition of the Uniform Building Code.

  12. All buildings or portions thereof not provided with adequate exit facilities as required by this code, except those buildings or portions thereof whose exit facilities conformed with all applicable laws at the time of their construction and that have been adequately maintained and increased in relation to any increase in occupant load, alteration, or addition, or any change in occupancy.

    When an unsafe condition exists through lack of, or improper location of, exits, additional exits may be required to be installed.

  13. All buildings or portions thereof that are not provided with the fire-resistive construction or fire-extinguishing systems or equipment required by this code, except those buildings or portions thereof that conformed with all applicable laws at the time of their construction and whose fire-resistive integrity and fire-extinguishing systems or equipment have been adequately maintained and improved in relation to any increase in occupant load, alteration, or addition, or any change in occupancy.

  14. All buildings or portions thereof occupied for living, sleeping, cooking, or dining purposes that were not designed or intended to be used for those occupancies.

  15. Inadequate structural resistance to horizontal forces. (H&S § 17920.3, irrelevant sections omitted.)

  16. Finally, a building is substandard if the landlord has not complied with the requirements of the State Fire Marshall, who has the authority to set standards for structural fire safety and fire-resistant exits. (H&S § 13143.2.)
  17. <</ol>

    Fit and Habitable: No Risks to Health, Safety, or Property

    The state statutes quoted above dictate the minimum condition for rental premises to qualify as fit and habitable. The law also approaches the issue from another angle, labeling a rental "substandard" if it has any problem in "State Housing Law," above, that "endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public or the occupants." (H&S §17920.3, also known as the State Housing Law.) As you read through the list, in "State Housing Law," remember that only when these conditions endanger life, limb, and so on, will they legally create a substandard, unfit rental.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Some General Things You Should Know
Who Is Your Landlord?
Renters' Tax Credit
Lawyers
Typing Services
Legal Research
Mediation

2. Looking for a Place and Renting It
Get Organized
Learn About Rental Agreements
Fees and Deposits
Rental Applications and Credit Reports
How Landlords Must Handle Your Credit Information
How to Check a Place Over
How to Bargain for the Best Deal
Get All Promises in Writing
The Landlord-Tenant Checklist
Your Responsibilities as a Tenant
Cosigning Leases

3. Sharing a Home
Is It Legal to Live Together?
The Legal Obligations of Roommates to the Landlord
The Legal Obligations of Roommates to Each Other
Having a Friend Move In
Guests

4. All About Rent
When Is Rent Due?
Late Charges
Partial Rent Payments
Rent Increases
Rent Increase Notices
Rent Control and Eviction Protection
General Types of Rent Control Laws
Rent Control Board Hearings
What to Do If the Landlord Violates Rent Control Rules
Rent Control Laws

5. Discrimination
Forbidden Types of Discrimination
Legal Reasons to Discriminate
How to Tell If a Landlord Is Discriminating
What to Do About Discrimination
Sexual Harassment by Landlords or Managers

6. The Obnoxious Landlord and Your Right to Privacy
Your Landlord's Right of Entry
What to Do About a Landlord's Improper Entry
Other Types of Invasions of Privacy

7. Major Repairs & Maintenance
Your Basic Right to Livable Premises
Your Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities
Agreeing to Be Responsible for Repairs
How to Get Action From Your Landlord: The LightTouch
What to Do If the Landlord Won't Make Repairs

8. Minor Repairs & Maintenance
Minor Repairs: What Are They?
The Landlord's Responsibilities
Agreeing to Do Maintenance
Getting the Landlord to Make Minor Repairs
Making Minor Repairs Yourself

9. Alterations & Satellite Dishes
Improvements That Become Part of the Property
Improving Your Rental Without Enriching Your Landlord
Cable TV Access
Satellite Dishes and Other Antennas

10. Injuries on the Premises
What to Do If You're Injured
Is the Landlord Liable?
If You're at Fault, Too
How Much Money You're Entitled To

11. Environmental Hazards
Asbestos
Lead
Radon
Carbon Monoxide
Mold

12. Crime on the Premises
The Landlord's Basic Duty to Keep You Safe
Problems With Other Tenants
Illegal Activity on the Property and Nearby
Getting Results From the Landlord
Protecting Yourself

13. Breaking a Lease, Subleasing, and Other Leasing Problems
What Happens When the Lease Runs Out
Subleases and Assignments
Subleasing and Returning Later
How to Break a Lease
Belongings You Leave Behind

14. Security Deposits and Last Month's Rent
Amount of Deposit
Nonrefundable Deposits
What the Deposits May Be Used For
Landlord's Duty to Return Deposit
Effect of Sale of Premises on Security Deposits
May the Landlord Increase the Security Deposit?
Avoiding Deposit Problems
When the Landlord Won't Return Your Deposit
Rent Withholding as a Way to Get Deposits Back in Advance
Interest on Security Deposits
Last Month's Rent
When Your Landlord Demands More Money

15. Evictions
Illegal Self-Help Evictions
Illegal Retaliatory Evictions
Overview of Eviction Procedure
Tenancy Termination Notices
Your Options After a Three-Day or 30-, 60-, or 90 Served
The Eviction Lawsuit
Stopping an Eviction
Postponing an Eviction
Appeal From an Eviction
After the Lawsuit -- Eviction by the Sheriff or Marshal

16. Tenants Acting Together
Tenant Organizing
Setting Up a Tenants' Organization
Getting Information on the Landlord
Tactics
Negotiations
The Agreement

17. Renter's Insurance

18. Condominium Conversion
Legal Protection for Tenants
Changing the Law

A. Appendix
Forms to use when your tenancy begins
Landlord-Tenant Checklist
Fixed-Term Residential Lease
Month-to-Month Residential Rental Agreement

Forms to use during your tenancy
Notice to Repair
Notice of Rent Withholding
Collective Bargaining Agreement

Forms to use when fighting an eviction
Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs
Information Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees and Costs
Order on Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and Costs
Prejudgment Claim to Right of Possession
Blank Numbered Legal Paper
Blank Numbered Legal Paper With Superior Court heading
Proof of Service by Mail
Demurrer
Points and Authorities in Support of Demurrer
Notice of Hearing on Demurrer
Answer -- Unlawful Detainer
Request to Inspect and for Production of Documents
Form Interrogatories -- Unlawful Detainer
Settlement Agreement
Demand for Jury Trial

Forms to use if you lose an eviction
Application and Declaration for Relief from Eviction
Order Granting Relief From Eviction
Application and Declaration for Stay of Eviction
Order Granting Stay of Eviction
Notice of Appeal and Notice to Prepare Clerk's Transcript
Claim of Right to Possession and Notice of Hearing

Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    I'm curious as to why this is only $16.99 for Kindle...

    I'm curious as to why this is only $16.99 for Kindle...

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