What should a tenant do if his or her apartment needs repairs? Can a landlord force a tenant to move? How many days notice does a tenant have to give a landlord before the tenant moves? Can a landlord raise a tenant’s rent? California Tenants—A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities answers these questions and many others.

Whether the tenant is renting a room, an apartment, a house, or a duplex, the landlord- tenant relationship is governed by federal, state, and local laws. This booklet focuses on California laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, and suggests things that both the landlord and tenant can do to make the relationship a good one. Although the booklet is written from the tenant’s point of view, landlords can also benefit from its information.

Tenants and landlords should discuss their expectations and responsibilities before they enter into a rental agreement. if a problem occurs, the tenant and landlord should try to resolve the problem by open communication and discussion. honest discussion of the problem may show each party that he or she is not completely in the right, and that a fair compromise is in order.
If the problem is one for which the landlord is responsible (see pages 37–40), the landlord may be willing to correct the problem or work out a solution without further action by the tenant.
if the problem is one for which the tenant is responsible (see pages 37–40), the tenant may agree to correct the problem once the tenant understands the landlord’s concerns. if the parties cannot reach a solution on their own, they may be able to resolve the problem through mediation or arbitration (see page 82). In some situations, a court action may provide the only solution (see pages 46–48, 64–65, 72–78).

The department of Consumer Affairs hopes that tenants and landlords will use this booklet’s information to avoid problems in the first place, and to resolve those problems that do occur.