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Consumer Rights: A New Tenants' Rights Law Showcases California's Commitment to Its Consumers

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California continues to shine as a model of consumer protection, especially in terms of rules targeting the landlord-tenant relationship. This article focuses on a specific aspect of consumer rights, the rights of California tenants, following a new law effective January 1, 2017.

Assembly Bill 551, entitled "Rental property: bed bugs", clarifies the landlord's ongoing duty to provide a building fit for human occupation. The law now specifically prohibits a landlord from showing, renting, or leasing a vacant unit when the landlord is aware of a bed bug infestation adversely impacting that unit.

In addition, the new law places a duty on California landlords to provide a certain bed-bug related notice to tenants. As of July 1, 2017, the landlord must deliver the notice to the prospective tenant before creating the new lease. As of January 1, 2018, the landlord must provide the same notice to all tenants. The law details the language mandated with respect to the notice. In essence, that notice must include each of the following:

  • a detailed description of bed bugs, to better enable the tenant to identify such pests;
  • a detailed overview of the life cycle and reproduction habits of bed bugs; and,
  • details regarding the common signs and symptoms of a possible bed bug infestation, including what to look for on the linen and the appearance/effects of bed bug bites.

As a tenant, realize the landlord's bed-bug duties activate only following awareness of a possible infestation. Therefore, if you witness such an infestation, you must alert the landlord. "Paper trails" —notes written either during or soon after transactions— minimize confusion as regards who said what to whom when. The wise tenant not only promptly notifies the landlord, but also keeps all related notes in a single receptacle, such as a notebook. Those notes will likely prove quite valuable if your landlord ignores your alert.

Contact us if you confront a dilemma with your landlord. Our attorneys stand ready to assist in protecting your rights.



Knowing You Rights as a Tenant

Thursday, February 23, 2017

As the housing shortage continues and more people are becoming renters, it’s a growing concern for the consumer rights of tenants. Knowing your rights as a tenant is an important matter for you. Many renters are unsure of their rights, many don’t realize they rights at all.

The reality is that you, as a renter, have many rights that you may not know. What’s more, many landlords bank on the fact that you do not know that you have certain rights that you are entitled to and they often take advantage of this fact in their dealings with tenants.

Almost everyone is aware that the landlord can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, or age, as well as other reasons. Many states have laws against discrimination on marital status and sexual orientation as well. Did you know that the landlord can’t end your lease of any of these reasons?

Tenants have the right to a certain amount of privacy. A landlord can’t come into your apartment without either giving you ample notice or unless there is an emergency such as fire or flood that is an immediate threat.

Knowing the rights that you have is an important part of being a tenant and there several things that you can do to assure that you are afforded your rights.

Take pictures or video of your apartment when you move in. in many cases that go to court, the judge will be to award in your favor when they have seen actual conditions that you have recorded. This weighs heavier than testimony.

Document all interactions with the landlord including what was said and what was done. Include as much information as possible in this because after a certain amount of time has passed, memory fades and facts are forgotten. Properly documenting the facts is a way to protect yourself against disputes.

If you are ever denied an apartment, be sure that you find the reasons why. Many times a landlord will use sources other than credit reports and previous landlords to determine your eligibility to rent from them. If this is the case and they deny your application, you have the right to know the specifics of this denial. This is covered under the fair credit reporting act.

There are many rights that are afforded to the tenant in the landlord /tenant laws. Many of these are not as widely known and you might not be aware of them. They are there for your protection and you should feel safe in relying on them.

The most common mistake that renters make is taking the law into their own hands because of misinformation from friends who are not familiar with how the law works. The laws are there to protect you but you need to know how to use them. The help of an experienced and competent tenant’s right attorney will assure that you are using these to the best advantage.

If you feel that your rights have been violated, please start by contacting us for a free consultation




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