Landlord Disclosures to Tenants Under California Law: The Residential Lease

Real estate sales continue to flourish in the Tahoe-Truckee region. Landlords that have bought income-producing properties commonly request our assistance drafting and analyzing residential leases. Similar to the purchase and sale of real estate, California law mandates that certain disclosures be provided to tenants. Other disclosures are not mandatory unless they relate to the rental property. For example, a flood zone disclosure applies if the property is in a flood zone; and if a landlord hired a pest control service, the landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the pesticide-related notice provided by the pest control company and details of the control measures.

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) has drafted a substantial number of forms landlords may utilize to provide notices and disclosures. The forms and addendums listed below are not all mandatory disclosures under California law. If applicable, the forms below can sometimes be placed into the lease itself or in an attached addendum. The list includes the following:

AB 1482 Addendum (Form CA-097) [Learn more about AB 1482 here]

Asbestos Addendum (Form CA-061)

Carbon Monoxide Addendum (California Health and Safety Code 17926(a))

CC&Rs Addendum (Form CA-067)

Clothesline/Drying Rack Addendum (Form CA-066)

Day Care Addendum (Form CA-068)

Grilling Addendum (Form CA-070)

Guarantee of Rental/Lease Agreement (Form CA-019)

Lead-Based Paint Addendum (Form CA-071)

Lead Brochure: Protect Your Family (Form CA-072)

Parking/Garage Addendum (Form CA-076)

Periodic Application by Pest Control Operator Addendum (Form CA-078)

Periodic Application of Pesticides by Landlord Addendum (Form CA-077)

Personal Agriculture Addendum (Form CA-079)

Pet Addendum (Form CA-080)

Pool/Spa Rules Addendum (Form CA-082)

Proposition 65 Warning Addendum (Form CA-083)

Smoking Policy Addendum (Form CA-088)

Storage Addendum (Form CA-090)

Water Submetering Addendum (Form CA-093)

Waterbed Addendum (Form CA-094)

In addition, certain disclosures are mandatory under California law. These include:

  1. Registered Sex Offender Database

For Megan’s Law, the landlord only needs to have a notice in the lease for the tenant to research the surrounding area. It can also be attached to the lease if that is preferred by the landlord. It must be 8-point font or larger and state the following:

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 the offender resides.

2. Contact Information and How to Pay Rent

Tenants are entitled to know the landlord’s contact information (name, phone, address). This helps the tenant provide notice to the landlord and know that rental payments are being remitted appropriately.

3. Bed Bug Addendum

Landlord must disclose information on bed bugs, including what they are, look like, and common signs and symptoms of infestation. Notably for landlords, tenants are told that they must report suspected infestations to the landlord or property manager. A sample bug bed disclosure can be found here.

4. Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

In 1992, Congress passed a law commonly known a “Title X” to protect families from exposure to lead paint. Any landlord leading a single or multi-family housing unit built before 1978 must disclose certain information about lead-based paint hazards. The disclosure must be made before the tenant signs a lease, and should include a pamphlet from the Environmental Protection Agency. If a landlord has had a certified inspector opine that the residence is lead-free, however, the landlord is exempt from this disclosure rule.

What about the Coronavirus?

This issue is outside of the scope of “standard disclosures” applicable to residential leases. Landlords can use their discretion to remind tenants not leave their residence if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of Covid-19, consider the ramifications of inviting people to their rental, and of any local ordinances or state-wide executive orders issued to curtail and limit the spread of the virus. If landlords know tenants contracting or testing positive for Covid-19, they must understand the tenant’s privacy rights before disclosing this information to others.

The disclosures and notices listed above do not cover all aspects under California law but should nonetheless be carefully considered by landlords to avoid legal disputes with tenants. For example, landlords must know security deposit rules under Civil Code Section 1950.5, repair issues and responsibilities for repairs under Civil Code Section 1942, right to enter the premises under Civil Code Section 1954, and notices and eviction procedures for a tenant’s failure to pay rent or violating the lease. Landlords and tenants should also know of and follow recent legislation concerning Covid-19 such as AB 3008 and the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020. One easy way to learn about this new law is reading our blog post here.

Ethan Birnberg is licensed in California, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming. He regularly assists clients with landlord/tenant matters, all types of asset sales, acquisitions, and real estate issues including lease formation, construction issues, and HOA disputes. He holds dual certifications as a business bankruptcy and consumer bankruptcy specialist from the American Board of Certification, and has extensive insolvency experience assisting entities seeking to restructure under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, borrowers and lenders seeking out-of-court workouts, representing chapter 7 trustees, and advising directors, officers, and executive management regarding fiduciary duties and corporate governance issues. You can reach him at birnberg@portersimon.com.

The content contained and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author. This blog contains content and opinions concerning the law generally, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create any attorney‑client relationship with the reader. The reader should consult with an attorney about any specific legal issues prior to embarking on any course of action or inaction involving legal matters. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this blog and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions.