The Importance of Having a WRITTEN Rental Agreement in California

 

Surprisingly, many landlords will take one of their most valuable assets, their rental home, and allow a stranger to occupy the property without ever getting an agreement in writing. This is a big mistake. This article will discuss the importance of ALWAYS having a WRITTEN rental agreement in place BEFORE a tenant moves in and takes possession.

  • A written rental agreement minimizes ambiguity
  • A written rental agreement minimizes “he said, she said”
  • A written rental agreement establishes rules and guidelines, the breach of which will be easier to show if the landlord/tenant relationship turns sour
  • A written rental agreement may provide basis for a just-cause eviction of tenants
  • A written rental agreement should be initialed on all pages by the tenant
  • A written rental agreement can include a smoking prohibition
  • A written rental agreement can prohibit subleases and assignments
  • A written rental agreement allows the landlord to take advantage of certain “abandonment” laws, so long as the written rental agreement includes this language
  • A written rental agreement can include an attorney fee provision
  • A written rental agreement allows for more flexibility with the security deposit
  • A written rental agreement may include provisions limiting the landlord’s liability for personal injury or property damage caused by the tenant
  • A written rental agreement may include provisions discussing options to renew the lease

With almost no exceptions, landlords should always require their tenants to sign a written rental agreement before the tenant takes possession of the property. It’s the smart thing to do.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.

Read Attorney Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book.

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