Changes Came to the California Rental World

Know your tenant rights.

Original post March 8, 2013 by Julie Brook, Esq. from CEB Blog.

In 2012, the California Legislature enacted more than 875 bills! Among them were many interesting changes to California’s landlord-tenant law.

Here’s an overview of some of the newest changes to California landlord-tenant law:

  • Disability Access: Chapter 383 (SB 1186-Steinberg) adds CC §1938, which requires that any commercial lease executed on or after July 1, 2013, must state whether the property has been inspected by a certified access specialist and, if the inspection occurred, whether the property complies with the applicable standards.
  • Animals in Rentals: Chapter 596 (SB 1229-Pavley) enacts CC §1942.7, which prohibits advertising property for occupancy in a way that would discourage application for occupancy because an applicant’s animal has not been devocalized or declawed. Likewise, §1942.7 prohibits requiring tenants with animals to have those animals declawed or devocalized and prohibits denying occupancy to persons who refuse to declaw or devocalize an animal.
  • Domestic Violence: Civil Code §1946.7 provides that a tenant may notify the landlord that the tenant or a household member has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and thus the tenant intends to terminate the tenancy. Chapter 516 (SB 1403-Yee) amends §1946.7 to include abuse of an elder or a dependent adult as a ground for terminating the tenancy. Chapter 516 also amends CCP §1161.3 to prohibit a landlord from evicting a tenant on the ground that the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household was a target of elder abuse or abuse of a dependent adult.
  • Forms of Payment: Chapter 268 (SB 1055-Lieu) amends §1947.3 to state that the landlord must allow a tenant to pay rent or make a security deposit by at least one form of payment that is neither cash nor electronic funds transfer.
  • Manner of Returning Security Deposit: Civil Code §1950.5 addresses the handling of a security deposit given by a tenant under a residential rental agreement. Chapter 560 (AB 2521-Blumenfield) amends §1950.5 to provide that the landlord and tenant may agree to have the landlord deposit any remaining portion of the security deposit electronically to a bank account or another financial institution.
  • Abandoned Personal Property: Civil Code §§19801991 address disposition of personal property that remains on leased premises after the tenancy has been terminated. Chapter 560 (AB 2521-Blumenfield) amends §1988 (and other related statutes) to provide that a landlord may retain abandoned personal property for his/her own use or dispose of it if the landlord reasonably believes the total resale value is less than $700.
  • Disclosure of Notice of Default: Chapter 566 (SB 1191-Simitian) adds CC §2924.85 to require every landlord of a residential dwelling not exceeding four units to disclose to any prospective tenant if the landlord has received an unrescinded notice of default.


  • Notice to Quit on Foreclosure Sale: Chapter 562 (AB 2610-Skinner) amendsCCP §1161b to provide that a tenant or subtenant in a rental housing unit unit under a month-to-month lease or periodic tenancy must be given 90 days’ written notice to quit when the property is sold in foreclosure. Tenants or subtenants in possession of rental housing unit under a lease for a fixed term may remain in possession until the end of the term, except that such tenants may be given 90 days’ written notice in specified circumstances.

Article written  by Julie Brook

Leave a Reply