My California tenant wants to have a waterbed in her apartment. I’d rather not allow this, but can I prohibit waterbeds in rental units?
Whether you can refuse your tenant’s waterbed request depends on the age of your building. If your rental property is more than 40 years old (built before January, 1973, you may legally refuse to rent to a tenant who has a waterbed. But if the building was constructed after 1973, you may have to allow your tenant to have a waterbed. Under state law in California (CC § 1940.5.), landlords of rental property built after 1973 cannot refuse to allow tenant waterbeds, if the tenant obtains a replacement-value $100,000 waterbed insurance policy, and gives you at least 24 hours’ written notice before installing the waterbed and allows you to be present when this occurs. In addition, the waterbed meets specified construction standards set the California State Bureau of Home Furnishings.
You may be able to charge a higher security deposit in California (an additional one-half-month’s rent) for tenants with waterbeds.
For more details on landlord-tenant law in California and state-specific forms, including an agreement to provide your tenant regarding the use of a waterbed, see Nolo’s book The California Landlord’s Law Book: Rights and Responsibilities.