As landlords, property managers, and contractors, you can be held liable for negligence occurring on your properties. Disclosures are problematic, but necessary. To make sure you never end up in hot water for failing to alert tenants of potential hazards, be sure to always disclose the following:
- Intention to Demolish Rental Unit: Landlords or their agents who have applied for a permit to demolish a rental unit must give written notice of this fact to prospective tenants, before accepting any deposits or screening fees. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.6)
- Notice of Default: Lessors of single-family homes and multifamily properties of four units or less, who have received a notice of default for the rental property that has not been rescinded, must disclose this fact to potential renters before they sign a lease. The notice must be in English or in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean (if the lease was negotiated in one of these languages), and must follow the language specified in Cal. Civil Code § 2924.85(d).
- A Landlord’s Imposition of Nonrefundable Fees (Where Permitted): Pets, cleaning, and other fees tacked onto the security deposit are legal in some states. Some, like California, prohibit such fees, so check to make sure you’re within your rights to charge a nonrefundable fee.
- Tenants’ Rights to Move-in Checklists: These checklists must document existing damages to the rental property so there’s no confusion about what a tenant has to pay for when they move out.
- Tenants’ Rights to be Present at a Move-out Inspection: A tenant is allowed to tag along at move-out inspections to make sure they are being charged fairly. If you see any new damages, this gives you the opportunity to point out the damage and explain to the tenant why the security deposit is being deducted.
- Details on Landlord-Tenant Law: Laws such as local rent control rules, and other information such as registered sexual offender database
- Details on Installation and Maintenance of Smoke Detectors and Alarms
- Location of a Former Federal or State Military Ordnance: Prior to signing a lease, landlord must disclose known locations of former federal or state ordnance in the neighborhood (within one mile of rental). (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.7)
Some of these disclosures are specific to California leases, so check your local and state requirements for specific information you must include in your area.
Drafting leases is a complicated process, full of insider knowledge and required disclosures. We can help! For more information, see Avoiding Common Landlord Liabilities and Part One of this article or contact us at 626-339-1000.