As real estate investors, property owners have certain rights such as the ability to make a profit on their investment and control who lives in their units. These rights have limitations based on state regulations. When renting a property, landlords and tenants should agree to enter into a contract. The lease agreement provides protection for both parties. Leases include items such as details about the property and who the occupants are, length of the lease, terms of rent payment, terms of use, security deposit, and signatures of both parties. During the rental process, landlords have the right to charge fees and deposits. For example, the application screening fee cannot exceed $42.06 according the California Department of Consumer Affairs. This fee covers the cost of processing a tenant’s rental application. Deposit charges fall under the security deposit umbrella. For an unfurnished property, landlords can charge a deposit equal to two times the monthly rent. Furnished units allow a deposit equivalent to three times the monthly rent. California landlords can also require first month’s rent at move-in.


Rent can be increased and this process is unregulated in most cities. However, there are some requirements. Rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease unless the lease allows for increases. With a periodic rental agreement, landlords can increase the rent with proper advance written notice. California law guarantees at least thirty days’ notice for increases if the increase is ten percent or less. A sixty days’ notice is required if the increase is more than ten percent.


Landlords also have the right to evict tenants for various reasons. These reasons can include nonpayment of rent, violation of the rental agreement, removal of the property from the rental market, demolition of the property or if the owner wants to move in to the property. Tenancy can be terminated by furnishing a thirty days’ notice to tenants who lived in their unit for less than twelve months or sixty days’ notice to tenants who lived in their unit more than one year.