Can a landlord enter your apartment without warning in California?

Once you sign the lease and receive the keys, stepping into your rental unit is like opening the door to a new adventure.

Moving into a rental space can be an exciting time, but do you know your rights as a tenant?

We answer your California rental questions:

  • Can a landlord enter your home without permission?
  • How much can a landlord raise your rent?
  • When can your landlord evict you?

Can a landlord enter your home without permission in California?

California law states that a landlord may only enter your home for specific reasons.

According to the California Tenants Handbook, the landlord or his or her agent must give you advance written notice stating the date, time, and purpose of entry before you enter the unit.

The property owner can only enter during normal business hours. This is generally defined as 8am to 5pm on any day of the week.

Valid reasons for entry include:

Written notice is not required in the following cases:

  • To respond to an emergency
  • If the tenant moves out of the unit or abandons it
  • If the tenant is present during entry and gives consent
  • Both tenant and landlord have verbally agreed to repairs or services, and given landlord permission to enter including the date and approximate time of entry

Can a Landlord Increase Your Rent in California?

Yes, your landlord can increase your rent in California, according to the California Renters Guide.

How much can the rent be raised?

If your rental unit is covered by the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, your landlord can only raise the rent once during a 12-month period by 5% plus inflation or 10%, whichever is less.

According to the California Department of Justice, the Tenant Protection Act applies to all rental units Excludes:

  • Single-family homes that are not owned by a corporation
  • Units protected by a local law are more protective than state law
  • Units built within the last 15 years
  • Mobile homes
  • Duplexes are where the owner lives in one unit at the same time as the tenant moves into the other unit
  • Housing that is considered affordable housing under the law
  • Student residences

How many times can the rent be raised?

Rent can increase depending on whether your rental agreement is subject to local or state rental laws, according to the California Tenants Guide.

Your landlord cannot increase the rent during the lease term unless the lease agreement allows for increases. The rent can be increased once the agreement expires and is renewed.

Properties under the Tenant Protection Act require 30 days’ written notice prior to any proposed rent increase.

If the property is exempt from the Tenant Protection Act and no local ordinances apply, there is no limit on the number of times or how high a landlord can raise the rent.

Before your landlord raises your rent, he or she must provide advance written notice telling you how much the rent will increase and when the new rate will take effect.

The landlord must give notice:

  • 30 days in advance if the rent increase is 10% or less
  • Before 90 days if the rent increase is more than 10%

Can a landlord terminate your lease before the lease expires?

For properties protected by the Tenant Protection Act, a landlord cannot terminate a fixed-term lease or evict you without cause.

The Tenant Protection Act defines this as either “just cause for fault” or “just cause for no fault.”

Just cause for a fault can include:

  • Failure to pay part or all of the rent
  • Breach of lease
  • Engaging in criminal activity or committing a disturbance on the unit
  • The tenant refuses to renew the lease upon request or written request from the landlord
  • Sublease the unit
  • The tenant refused to allow the landlord into the unit
  • Using the unit for illegal reasons
  • Do not leave the unit when the tenant ends his employment with the landlord
  • Failure to hand over possession of the unit to the owner after providing written notice

Just cause for a fault can include:

  • The landlord wants to occupy the unit himself or his family if the tenant agrees in writing to the termination
  • Taking the unit off the rental market
  • A court or government order for a tenant to vacate due to habitability issues
  • The owner’s intention to demolish or remodel the unit

A landlord who wants to terminate your monthly or weekly agreement You can do this by giving 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days advance written notice, according to the California Tenants Handbook.

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