What Disclosures Do Landlords in California Need to Give Tenants?

California landlords must make a number of disclosures to tenants.

California requires landlords to make the following disclosures to tenants, usually in writing and at the start of the tenancy:

Registered sexual offender database:

Landlords must include the following language in every lease and rental agreement: "Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender's criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and ZIP Code in which he or she resides." (Cal. Civ. Code § 2079.10a.)

Tenant paying for others’ utilities:

Prior to signing a lease or rental agreement, landlords must disclose whether gas or electric service to tenant's unit also serves other areas, and must disclose the manner by which costs will be fairly allocated. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.9.)

Ordnance locations:

Prior to signing a lease or rental agreement, landlords must disclose known locations of former federal or state ordnance in the neighborhood (within one mile of the rental property). (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.7.)

Toxic mold:

Landlords who know (or have reason to know) that mold in the rental exceeds permissible exposure limits or poses a health threat, must provide prospective and current tenants with a written disclosure of the same. Landlords must make the disclosure to prospective tenants before they enter into the lease or rental agreement. (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 26147.)

Landlords must also distribute to prospective tenants (before they enter into the lease or rental agreement) a consumer handbook, developed by the State Department of Health Services, describing the potential health risks from mold. (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 26148.)

Pest control service:

Landlords who’ve hired a periodic pest control service for the rental unit must provide each new tenant with a copy of a notice from the pest control company. The notice must describe in clear language:

  1. The pest to be controlled.
  2. The pesticide or pesticides proposed to be used and the active ingredient(s).
  3. The following language:
“State law requires that you be given the following information: CAUTION-PESTICIDES ARE TOXIC CHEMICALS. Structural Pest Control Companies are registered and regulated by the Structural Pest Control Board, and apply pesticides which are registered and approved for use by the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Registration is granted when the state finds that, based on existing scientific evidence, there are no appreciable risks if proper use conditions are followed or that the risks are outweighed by the benefits. The degree of risk depends upon the degree of exposure, so exposure should be minimized.
“If within 24 hours following application you experience symptoms similar to common seasonal illness comparable to the flu, contact your physician or poison control center (telephone number) and your pest control company immediately.” (This statement shall be modified to include any other symptoms of overexposure which are not typical of influenza.)
“For further information, contact any of the following: Your Pest Control Company (telephone number); for Health Questions-the County Health Department (telephone number); for Application Information-the County Agricultural Commissioner (telephone number), and for Regulatory Information-the Structural Pest Control Board (telephone number and address).”

and

  1. The frequency of the pest treatment.

(Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.8; Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 8538.)

Intent 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.)

No smoking policy:

For leases and rental agreements signed after January 1, 2012: If the landlord prohibits or limits the smoking of tobacco products on the rental property, the lease or rental agreement must include a clause describing the areas where smoking is limited or prohibited (does not apply if the tenant has previously occupied the dwelling unit).

For leases and rental agreements signed before January 1, 2012: A newly adopted policy limiting or prohibiting smoking is a change in the terms of the tenancy and requires adequate notice in writing (will not apply to lease holding tenants until they renew their leases; tenants renting month-to-month must be given 30 days' written notice).

Landlords must still follow any local ordinances prohibiting smoking in effect on or before January 1, 2012. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1947.5.)

Flooding:

In leases or rental agreements signed after July 1, 2018, landlord must disclose, in at least eight-point type, that the property is in a special flood hazard area or an area of potential flooding if the landlord has actual knowledge of this fact. Actual knowledge includes receipt from a public agency so identifying the property; the fact that the owner carries flood insurance; or that the property is in an area in which the owner's mortgage holder requires the owner to carry flood insurance. Disclosure must advise tenant that additional information can be found at the Office of Emergency Services' website, and must include the Internet address for the MYHazards tool maintained by the Office. Disclosure must advise tenant that owner's insurance will not cover loss to tenant's property, and must recommend that tenant consider purchasing renter's insurance that will cover loss due to fire, flood, or other risk of loss. Disclosure must note that the owner is not required to provide additional information. (Cal. Gov't. Code § 8589.45.)

Bed bug information:

Before signing a lease or rental agreement, landlords must give potential tenants information about bed bugs, including information about their behavior and biology, the importance of cooperation for prevention and treatment, and the importance of prompt written reporting of suspected infestations to the landlord. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1954.603.)

Methamphetamine contaminated property:

If a property has been contaminated and is subject to a remediation order, landlord must provide written notice of and a copy of the order to all prospective tenants who have submitted an application. The tenant has to acknowledge receipt of the notice in writing before signing a rental agreement, and the landlord must attach the notice to the rental agreement. If a landlord fails to provide this notice, the prospective tenant can void the rental agreement.

For the rental of mobile homes and manufactured homes, the landlord must notify prospective tenants, in writing, of all methamphetamine laboratory activities that have taken place in the mobile home or manufactured home, and any remediation of the home or vehicle, and the property can't be rented until the prospective tenant is provided with a copy of the order. If there is already a tenant, the landlord must attach the notice and order to the rental agreement. (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25400.28.)

Death on the premises within the past three years:

If an occupant died on the property within three years of the landlord's offer to rent, the landlord must disclose this fact. Landlords are not required to disclose that an occupant of that property was living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related complications. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1710.2.)

Additional Information

Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research section can help you find and read statutes and court decisions.

Check your local ordinances, particularly if your rental unit is covered by rent control, for any disclosure requirements. To find yours, check your city or county website (State and Local Government on the Net lists many), or contact the office of your mayor, city manager, or county administrator.

Finally, see the article Required Landlord Disclosures for details on federally required landlord disclosures and other rental property disclosures.

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