The length of time landlords must provide as notice to the tenant prior to terminating leases, raising rent or evicting the tenant depends upon the rental agreement between them. In California, landlords must provide month-to-month tenants and annual tenants with at least 30 days' notice prior to exercising these rights The notice must be in writing and personally delivered to the tenant.
When Changes Take Effect
Landlords who are increasing their rental charges cannot increase the rent until the 30 days have passed. The 30-day rule applies to changes in rental deposit amounts where landlords require tenants to pay additional deposits. However, if the landlord and tenant’s lease agreement does not allow for a rental increase or deposit increase, the landlord may not increase these amounts even if the landlord provides 30 days’ notice.
Landlords’ 30-day Requirement to End Tenancy
If the landlord is seeking to end a tenancy for a tenant who has lived in the rental unit for at least one year, the landlord must provide the tenant with at least 60 days' written notice of termination of the periodic tenancy. If the tenant lived in the rental unit for less than 12 months or the landlord sells the unit to a third party who will live in the unit for at least one year, California law requires the landlord to provide only 30 days' notice.
Exceptions for Landlords
Landlords who have the ability under their lease agreements to increase the rent must provide a longer notice period if the landlord is increasing the rent by more than 10 percent. If the landlord increases the rent by more than 10 percent, the landlord must provide at least 60 days’ written notice of the increase before the increase may take effect.
Three-day Exception for Nonpayment
If the tenant fails to pay rent on time, damages the unit, commits a nuisance, commits domestic violence, stalks another tenant or guest, breaches the lease agreement, engages in unlawful drug activities, or stores or uses weapons, landlords can provide the tenant with only a three-day notice to vacate or cure, if possible.
30-day Rule for Tenants
Similar to the landlord’s 30-day written notice requirement, tenants must provide the landlords with at least 30 days’ notice prior to terminating the lease after the lease agreement ends without creating an implicit month-to-month tenancy and being liable for additional rental amounts or creating a subsequent lease agreement for an entire year. Tenants must also provide the landlord with 30 days’ notice to make necessary repairs prior to using California’s repair and deduct remedy where tenants can repair defects and deduct up to one month’s rent.
Exceptions for Tenants
Tenants who request a repair from the landlord for emergency items such as heat during the winter may use their repair and deduct remedies without providing the landlord with the opportunity to repair the defects within 30 days. In this case, a shorter time may be reasonable, depending upon the specific defect and surrounding circumstances. Additionally, California law allows active military service members to provide less notice if they receive orders to move or for deployment.
Since landlord-tenant laws can frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.
- California.gov: California Department of Consumer Affairs: The Eviction Process
- California.gov: California Department of Consumer Affairs: Terminations and Evictions
- California.gov: California Department of Consumer Affairs: California Tenants’ Guide
- Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. "America's Rental Housing 2020," Page 9. Accessed March 20, 2020.
- Nolo. "State Laws on Landlord's Access to Rental Property." Accessed March 20, 2020.
- Nolo. "How Evictions Work: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers." Accessed March 20, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Housing Discrimination Under the Fair Housing Act." Accessed March 20, 2020.
Jill Stimson has worked in various property management positions in Maryland and Delaware. Stimson worked for the top three property management companies in the commercial industry and focuses her career on property building logistics and tenant relationships. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in psychology.