In California, a landlord may be able to evict a tenant if the tenant:
  • Fails to pay the rent on time;
  • Breaks the lease or rental agreement and will not fix the problem (like keeping your cat when pets are not allowed);
  • Damages the property bringing down the value (commits "waste");
  • Becomes a serious nuisance by disturbing other tenants and neighbors even after being asked to stop; or
  • Uses the property to do something illegal.

In most cities, the landlord can also evict the tenant:

  • If the tenant stays after the lease is up,* or
  • If the landlord cancels the rental agreement by giving proper notice.*

*If your city has rent control, these 2 reasons may not be good enough to evict a tenant.  Find out if a particular property is in a rent-controlled area or talk to your self-help center, or a lawyer for help.

A landlord cannot evict a tenant for an illegal reason like discrimination or to get back at the tenant for taking action against the landlord, like filing a complaint because the property’s heating system is broken.

Find information on eviction for:

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Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants

Responsibilities of Landlords

Landlords must make sure:

  • The outside walls, windows, and doors protect tenants against water or weather.
  • The plumbing and gas fittings work properly.*
  • There is hot and cold running water, appropriate fixtures, an approved sewage system, and the water supply is not contaminated.*
  • There is a working heater.
  • There is adequate lighting and electrical wiring that meets safety standards.*
  • The premises and common areas must be clean and free from pests.
  • There are adequate garbage containers.
  • The floors, stairways and railings are not broken.

*The landlord must meet the standards in effect when installed as well as current building and house code standards. For more information, read California Civil Code section 1941.

The landlord must also promptly repair problems related to the habitability items listed above. If the tenant gives notice of a problem and the landlord fails to fix it, the tenant may be able to pay for the repair and deduct the cost from the rent. This only applies if the cost is not more than 1 month’s rent. Read Civil Code section 1942.

The landlord must give reasonable notice to the tenant before gaining entrance to the rental unit, unless there is an emergency that requires immediate entry (such as fixing a broken pipe).

There are other responsibilities that landlords have, and you can read about them in the materials from the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Responsibilities of Tenants

Tenants must:

  • Keep the rental unit clean.
  • Dispose of trash in a sanitary manner.
  • Operate electrical, gas, and plumbing fixtures properly.
  • Not damage or remove any part of the rental unit, its facilities, or equipment.
  • Use the rental unit as a home and live, sleep, cook and dine only in the intended areas.

There are other responsibilities that tenants have, and you can read about them in the materials from the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

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