As a landlord in California, you must make specific disclosures to a potential tenant before they rent your property. Such disclosures are necessary for the tenant to decide whether to rent the property.
The information you need to bring to light before the tenancy commences ranges from unsafe conditions at the property to other matters that may concern the tenant. Here are some of the disclosures you must make as stipulated by California law.
Potential health hazards on the property
You must disclose the presence of any harmful substances such as asbestos, toxic mold, lead-based paint or other carcinogenic chemicals that the tenant may be exposed to at the property.
The presence of a military base or explosives
If you know that the property is within a mile of a closed military base where explosives were used, you must notify the prospective tenant before they sign the lease agreement.
Regular pest control services
If you have periodic pest control at the property, you must inform the potential tenant about it and provide information on the pesticides to be used.
Death in the dwelling unit
You must also disclose to a tenant if a death occurred on the property within the last three years and how it happened. While you are not required to disclose that the dead occupant was living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related reasons, you should not misrepresent facts when directly asked by the tenant.
Other disclosures that you should make include information on bedbugs, possible methamphetamine contamination, potential flood hazard, information that points to the existence of California’s registered sexual offenders’ database and if you have the intent to demolish the property, among others.
Protect yourself from liability
Failure to provide these disclosures could open you up to legal trouble. For instance, you may be fined or held responsible for the costs incurred by renters who wish to move out when they learn of something you should have disclosed earlier.
It’s better safe than sorry when it comes to legal compliance. Ignorance is no defense. Therefore, if you have any questions about these disclosures or other areas of the tenancy agreement, it is best to seek informed counsel to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.