Landlords may think that so long as they put a certain provision in the rental agreement, that it will be enforceable. This isn’t always the case. Certain provisions in California rental agreements are prohibited and unenforceable. This article will provide a brief overview of prohibited provisions in California rental agreements.
- The amounts and handling of security deposits. However, a tenant may waive the right to obtain certain documentation when the security deposit is refunded on termination of the tenancy.
- Provisions relating to the landlord’s right of entry onto the rental unit.
- A limitation on the right to assert a future cause of action against the landlord. However, the rental agreement probably can bar the tenant from raising an existing cause of action at the time the lease is signed.
- The parties are prohibited in a California rental agreement from waiving the right to a notice or hearing required by law. For example, this means that the tenant cannot waive the right to service of legally required notice when the landlord terminates the tenancy.
- The landlord and tenant are prohibited from waiving their procedural rights in litigation. For example, this means the parties cannot prohibit discovery or the right to a jury in an eviction trial.
- The parties are prohibited in a California rental agreement from the right to have the landlord exercise a duty of care to prevent personal injury or damage to personal property when that duty is imposed by law.
- Other statutory rights.
- Any provision in a residential rental agreement that prohibits the tenant from the “repair and deduct” remedy for problems that render the unit untenantable. However, the parties may agree that the tenant will make the repairs in exchange for rent (but this is not recommended).
- A waiver of the tenant’s rights under the warranty of habitability are likely void and unenforceable in California rental agreements.
- A waiver of the tenant’s right to assert the defense of retaliatory eviction is void.
- The landlord cannot escape liability for using “self help” to evict the tenant by means of a provision permitting the landlord to reenter and relet the premises on the tenant’s breach.
- The parties may not waive the right to a jury trial in the rental agreement before a dispute arises.
- A provision in a California rental agreement that demands a tenant to pay rent or a security deposit in cash is prohibited unless the tenant has previously attempted to pay with a check that had insufficient funds or placed a stop payment on the check. If the check bounces, the landlord can then demand payment by cash for no more than 3 months.
- If the property is subject to rent control, the rent control law may prohibit the landlord from inserting a provision in the California rental agreement that waives tenants’ rights under the rent control law.
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