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Landlord Disclosure to Tenants

California Landlord-Tenant Attorney

California landlords and property owners are required to follow their federal, state, and local laws about informing tenants of policies, facts, and rules about the rental property and its surrounding area. Any information that is shared with a renter about the property or a renter’s rights is considered disclosure. Landlord disclosures can either be included in the lease or rental agreement, or some other form of writing, and are typically shared with the tenant before moving in. These disclosure requirements protect the tenant’s rights, health, and well-being. As a tenant, if you believe that your right to disclosure has been breached, it is crucial to seek legal help from a seasoned San Francisco landlord-tenant lawyer to help you defend your rights. At Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C., we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients throughout the Bay Area in a wide range of residential and commercial landlord-tenant matters. We have extensive experience in handling all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship from beginning to end. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, we are here to advocate for you and represent you in your disclosure issues and other landlord-tenant disputes. Contact us now and schedule an initial consultation.

Real Estate Disputes?

Whether you're dealing with a landlord-tenant dispute or addressing a real estate concern in California, our San Francisco real estate attorneys are here to protect your rights.

What are required landlord disclosures?

San Francisco disclosure to tenants California landlords must make several disclosures to tenants. Because the requirements vary by state, it is important to have your lease agreement looked over by a knowledgeable San Francisco landlord-tenant attorney to make sure you are including all required disclosures correctly. If you are a tenant, before you sign a lease or rental agreement and move into a house or rental unit, you have the legal right to know certain things about the property that you are about to inhabit.

Presence of Lead Paint

One of the most important disclosures that a landlord is required to make involves the presence of lead-based paint. Under the Federal Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1982, landlords must provide tenants with specific lead-based paint pamphlets and forms when renting certain buildings built before 1978. This is the only federally required landlord disclosure; all others are required by state or local law. The landlord must give you a pamphlet informing you of the hazards of lead-based paint, provide you with information regarding the location of lead-based paint, and attach a lead-warning statement to your rental agreement. It also offers tips to renters to help counter the effects of lead exposure. An attachment to the lease, or language within the lease document should include a “Lead Warning Statement” verifying that you, the landlord, have complied with all legally mandated lead paint notification requirements. Failure to disclose lead-based paint hazards can have devastating consequences, especially for renters with children, as prolonged exposure can cause irreparable damage to the brain and nervous system.

Registered Sexual Offender Database

Tenants must be informed about the existence of California’s registered sex offender database. This website allows the public to access the names and addresses of all registered offenders. Landlords are not required to inform prospective tenants of any nearby offenders listed on the database.

Information Regarding Payment of Shared Utilities

In San Francisco, many residential units have a single gas or electric meter, meaning that each tenant’s gas and electricity use is not individually monitored. Before signing a lease or rental agreement, landlords must disclose whether gas or electric service to the tenant’s unit also serves other areas. In this case, California Civil Code makes it very clear that the landlord must disclose this information to the tenant and ensure that the tenant’s responsibility for the shared utilities is agreed to in writing.

Knowledge of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine production may significantly contaminate the space in which it is produced. When a local health officer deems a property to be contaminated, an order prohibiting the use or occupancy of the property is issued and served on the property owner and all tenants. If landlords know that the property was used to manufacture methamphetamine, this must be disclosed to the prospective tenants. The tenant has to acknowledge receipt of the notice in writing before signing a rental agreement, and the landlord must attach the notice to the rental agreement. Failure to comply may allow the tenant to void the contract.

Presence of Toxic Mold

Landlords must disclose any potentially hazardous conditions, including the presence of toxic mold. If a landlord knows about any toxic mold in the unit, they must let prospective tenants know about it in writing. State law doesn’t require the landlord to prevent or clean up any mold in the unit, but tenants may be able to withhold rent or repair the issue and deduct any mold-related costs from rent under the warranty of habitability. In addition, landlords must also provide a consumer handbook to tenants, developed by the State Department of Health Services describing the potential health risks from mold.

Periodic Pest Control Treatments

If the landlord is actively working with a pest control company, they must provide certain information about this process to their tenants. The landlord must give a copy of this notice to every new tenant who will occupy a unit serviced under the contract. The following information must be disclosed to the tenants:
  • Type of pest being treated
  • Pesticides being used and their active ingredients
  • Written warning with specific cautionary language about the potential risks of pesticide exposure
  • Frequency and schedule of pest treatments

Smoking Policy

This information must be provided before the tenant signs a lease agreement. For rental units with a no-smoking policy, the lease agreement must contain a clause letting tenants know where smoking is prohibited or limited. Tenants must sign an acknowledgment that they received this information.

Death in the Rental Unit

Landlords must inform prospective tenants if a former occupant died within the previous three years. The disclosure must be made at the time an offer is made. The landlord may disclose the manner of death, but not if the prior occupant was ill with or died from AIDS. If asked a direct question, however, the landlord cannot intentionally misrepresent the cause of death.

Flood Disclosures

If a landlord knows that the rental unit is in a potential flood zone, they must disclose it in the lease agreement. This rule applies to leases or rental agreements signed after July 1, 2018. The disclosure must also advise tenants to get flood or renter’s insurance in case of property loss due to a flood.

Demolition Permit

When a demotion permit has been applied for, the landlord must inform prospective tenants of this fact before accepting any fee from the tenant or entering into a lease agreement. The expected demolition dates and expected duration of the tenancy must be stated in the notice. For current tenants, including those who haven’t moved in yet, the landlord must give notice of the intent to apply before applying for the permit.

Bed Bug Information

Tenants must be informed if bed bugs have been found in the unit or adjacent units within the previous year. If so, California landlords are required to provide tenants with general information about bed bugs including what they look like, when they usually appear, and how to get rid of them. If tenants request it, they must be provided the most recent date that the units were officially checked for bed bugs and received notification that the units were clear. Tenants must also be informed about the importance of prompt written reporting of suspected infestations to the landlord.

Real Estate Disputes?

Whether you're dealing with a landlord-tenant dispute or addressing a real estate concern in California, our San Francisco real estate attorneys are here to protect your rights.

Call A Reputable San Francisco Landlord-Tenant Attorney Now!

While it may be tempting for landlords to hide certain aspects of their rental property from potential tenants, the law requires them to disclose important information. California landlords must have a list of disclosures that are presented to the prospective tenant and signed off by the tenant before occupancy. It is equally essential to keep up to date on any changes in the law concerning required disclosures. On the other hand, if you are a tenant who has not been given the disclosures, it is crucial to protect your legal rights and hold your landlord responsible. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice from our competent San Francisco landlord-tenant attorneys at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. Our landlord-tenant law firm has successfully resolved numerous landlord-tenant disputes and real estate issues for decades. We will help you navigate the complex laws governing landlord disclosures. Schedule an initial consultation about landlord disclosure issues in the Bay Area. Our legal team will review your case thoroughly and recommend the best course of action for your situation.
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