Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

How can I get my deposit back?

A landlord often requires a security deposit.

Normally, the landlord may keep only that part of the deposit reasonably necessary to pay for unpaid rent, to repair damages to the dwelling caused by the tenant and warranted cleaning.

Your landlord may no claim monies for damages or defective conditions that existed before your tenancy.

Call PPSC to better understand your rights.

Do I have to pay if I don’t give notice of my plans to move far enough in advance of leaving the premises?

Yes, written notice of your plans to leave must always be given in advance.

Oral notice is not legally enough even if you have an oral rental agreement.

Call PPSC for more info on your responsibilities as a tenant.

How do I get my landlord to make repairs?

If your dwelling is in need of serious repairs, you may consider using either of the following approaches to pressure your landlord to fix the problem.

RENT WITHOLDING, A court decision has said that in each rental agreement there is an implied warranty of “habitability” (i.e., a landlord must put a building into a condition fit for human occupancy). You cannot sign away your right to this warranty of “habitability”.

If you decide to withhold rent, it can be complicated process and you should speak with a lawyer, contact PPSC for information on how to proceed.

REPAIR AND DEDUCT, you can also try to get the repairs made using the steps outlined in a law which says that a landlord must repair all problems which fall under minimum obligations of habitability.

Contact PPSC for information on how to proceed.

Can a landlord raise my rent?

During a month to month tenancy your landlord can raise your rent any amount if he/she gives you written notice.

A 30-day notice must be given, however a 60-day notice is required in its place if the rent increase plus any increased in the previous 12 months add up to more than 10%.

So in calculating to see if the most recent increase is over 10% you will also need to include any increases 12 months prior as a combined total calculation.


Can my landlord enter my dwelling?

You have a basic right of privacy which your landlord should respect.

Your landlord may enter your place only in the following cases:

  • As a result of a court order.
  • In an emergency.
  • To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to perspective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers or contractors to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1905.
  • When you have abandoned or given up the premises.
Can a landlord discriminate against certain kinds of tenants?

A property owner/manager or agent is prohibited from discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex-(included sexual harassment), sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, medical condition, familial status or source of income in the sale or renting of housing.

This includes arbitrary discrimination (e.g., welfare, long hair, etc.). A landlord cannot refuse to rent to tenants just because the household includes one or more children.

Both federal and state law prohibit “ADULT ONLY HOUSING”, but apartment complexes or mobile home parks that meet the legally designated standards for senior housing may exclude families with children.

A landlord or manager is also prohibited from making any inquiry regarding the immigration or citizenship status of any tenant or prospective tenant.

During tenancy a landlord is prohibited from treating one class of residents differently than another, for example responding more slowly, or performing work haphazardly for minorities, families, or any sub-group resident.

Rules should be the same for everyone and not overly restrictive, in particular a property owner/manager/agent cannot place limitations in regard to terms, conditions, privileges, services, or facilities based on the residents ages.

If you fee you have been discriminated against you may file a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). PPSC has the necessary forms to assist you in this course of action.

What is a Three Day Notice?

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A landlord can use a written three-day notice or eviction notice if the tenant has done any of the following:

  • Failed to pay your rent,
  • You violated any provision of the rental agreement,
  • Materially damaged the rental property,
  • Used the premises for an unlawful purpose,
  • Substantially interfered with other tenants – or in other words committed a
  • Committed domestic violence or sexual assault against or stalked another tenant or
    subtenant on the premises,
  • Engaged in drug dealing, unlawfully used, cultivated, imported or manufactured
    illegal drugs,
  • Using the building or proper to conduct dog fighting or cockfighting,
  • Or were involved with unlawful conduct involving weapons or ammunition.

If the landlord gives you a three–day notice because you have not paid the rent, the
notice must accurately state the amount of rent that is due. In addition the notice
must state include the name, address and telephone number of the person to whom
the rent must be paid.

If the payment may be made in person, the usual days and hours that the person is
available to receive the rent. If the address does not accept personal deliveries,
then you can mail the rent to the owner at the name address state in the three-day

If you can show proof that you mailed the rent to the stated name and
address, for example with a receipt for certified mail, the law assumes that the
payment is received by the owner on the date of postmark. The landlord normally
cannot require that you pay the past-due rent in cash.

If the three day notice is based on any of the other conditions listed earlier the
notice must either describe your violation of the rental agreement, or describe you
improper conduct.

The three- day notice must be properly served on the tenant.

Depending on the type of violation the notice can demand that either the tenant
correct the violation or leave the rental or they must leave, or that you must leave
the unit.

If the violation involves something that the tenant can correct, like you
have not paid your rent or you have a pet and lease does not allow for pet, the
notice much give the tenant the option to correct the violation.

Failing to pay the rent and most violations of of the terms of the rental agreement can
be corrected.

In these situations, the three-day notice must give the tenant the
option to correct the violation.

However if the conditions cannot be corrected then
you must leave in the three days.

What is the Eviction Process?

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If a landlord wants to terminate or end a month to month tenancy they can serve a
written 30-day or 60-day notice on the tenant. Generally, these notices don’t have
to state the landlord’s reason for ending the tenancy.

If you receive a 30 or 60 day notice that has been properly served you, you should either
move out or try to make arrangements with the landlord to stay.

If you want to continue to occupy the rental unit, ask the landlord what you need to do to
make that possible.

While a landlord is not required to state a reason for the notice, most landlords do have a
reason for terminating a tenancy.

If the landlord agrees that you can continue to occupy the rental, it is important that
your agreement with the landlord be in writing.

If the landlord does not agree to your stating, you will have to move out. You should
do so by the end of the 30th or 60th day. Take all of your personal belongings with
you, and leave the property at least as clean as when you rented it. This will help with
the refund of your security deposit.

If you have not moved out at the end of the 30th or 60th day you will be unlawfully
occupying the rental and the landlord can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, this is
typically called an eviction.

If you believe that the landlord has acted unlawfully in giving you a 30 or 60 day
notice, or that you have a valid defense to an unlawful detainer lawsuit, you should
carefully weigh the pros and cons of contesting the landlords’ likely eviction lawsuit
against you if you do no move out.

As part of your decision making process, you may want to consult with a lawyer or
legal aide. Please refer to the attached documents to better understand this process.