Free California Rental Lease Agreement

Sample California Rental Lease Agreement


THIS RESIDENTIAL LEASE (the "Lease") dated this ___ day of ____________________,20___.



(the "Landlord")

- AND-


(the "Tenant")

(individually the "Party" and collectively the "Parties")

IN CONSIDERATION OF the Landlord leasing certain premises to the Tenant and other valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which consideration is hereby acknowledged, the Parties agree as follows:

    Leased Property

  1. The Landlord agrees to rent to the Tenant the house, municipally described as ______________________, ______________________, California, ______________________ (the "Property"), for use as residential premises only.
  2. No guests of the Tenants may occupy the Property for longer than one week without the prior written consent of the Landlord.
  3. Term

  4. The term of the Lease is a periodic commencing at 12:00 noon on _____________of _____________, 20___ and continuing on a month-to-month basis until the Landlord or the Tenant terminates the tenancy.
  5. Rent

  6. Subject to the provisions of this Lease, the rent for the Property is $_____________ per week (the "Rent").
  7. The Tenant will pay the Rent weekly, on or before ______________ of each and every week of the term of this Lease to the Landlord at ______________________, ______________________, State of California, ______________________ or at such other place as the Landlord may later designate by Cash.
  8. Tenant Improvements

  9. The Tenant will obtain written permission from the Landlord before doing any of the following:
    1. applying adhesive materials, or inserting nails or hooks in walls or ceilings other than two small picture hooks per wall;
    2. painting, wallpapering, redecorating or in any way significantly altering the appearance of the Property;
    3. removing or adding walls, or performing any structural alterations;
    4. installing a waterbed(s);
    5. changing the amount of heat or power normally used on the Property as well as installing additional electrical wiring or heating units;
    6. placing or exposing or allowing to be placed or exposed anywhere inside or outside the Property any placard, notice or sign for advertising or any other purpose; or
    7. affixing to or erecting upon or near the Property any radio or TV antenna or tower.
  10. Insurance

  11. The Tenant is hereby advised and understands that the personal property of the Tenant is not insured by the Landlord for either damage or loss, and the Landlord assumes no liability for any such loss.
  12. Attorney Fees

  13. In the event that any action is filed in relation to this Lease, the unsuccessful Party in the action will pay to the successful Party, in addition to all the sums that either Party may be called on to pay, a reasonable sum for the successful Party's attorney fees.
  14. Governing Law

  15. This Lease will be construed in accordance with and exclusively governed by the laws of the State of California.
  16. Severability

  17. If there is a conflict between any provision of this Lease and the applicable legislation of the State of California (the "Act"), the Act will prevail and such provisions of the Lease will be amended or deleted as necessary in order to comply with the Act. Further, any provisions that are required by the Act are incorporated into this Lease.
  18. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this Lease will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Lease.  Such other provisions remain in full force and effect.
  19. Amendment of Lease

  20. This Lease may only be amended or modified by a written document executed by the Parties.
  21. Damage to Property

  22. If the Property should be damaged other than by the Tenant's negligence or willful act or that of the Tenant's employee, family, agent, or visitor and the Landlord decides not to rebuild or repair the Property, the Landlord may end this Lease by giving appropriate notice.
  23. Care and Use of Property

  24. The Tenant will promptly notify the Landlord of any damage, or of any situation that may significantly interfere with the normal use of the Property or to any furnishings supplied by the Landlord.
  25. The Tenant will not engage in any illegal trade or activity on or about the Property.
  26. The Parties will comply with standards of health, sanitation, fire, housing and safety as required by law.
  27. The Parties will use reasonable efforts to maintain the Property in such a condition as to prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold. The Tenant will promptly notify the Landlord in writing of any moisture accumulation that occurs or of any visible evidence of mold discovered by the Tenant. The Landlord will promptly respond to any such written notices from the Tenant.
  28. If the Tenant is absent from the Property and the Property is unoccupied for a period of 4 consecutive days or longer, the Tenant will arrange for regular inspection by a competent person. The Landlord will be notified in advance as to the name, address and phone number of the person doing the inspections.
  29. At the expiration of the term of this Lease, the Tenant will quit and surrender the Property in as good a state and condition as they were at the commencement of this Lease, reasonable use and wear and tear excepted.
  30. Rules and Regulations

  31. The Tenant will obey all rules and regulations of the Landlord regarding the Property.
  32. Address for Notice

  33. For any matter relating to this tenancy, the Tenant may be contacted at the Property or through the phone number below. After this tenancy has been terminated, the contact information of the Tenant is:
    1. Name: _______________
    2. Phone: ______________________
  34. For any matter relating to this tenancy, whether during or after this tenancy has been terminated, the Landlord's address for notice is:
    1. Name: _______________
    2. Address: ______________________, ______________________, State of California, ______________________

      The contact information for the Landlord is:

    3. Phone: ______________________
  35. General Provisions

  36. All monetary amounts stated or referred to in this Lease are based in the United States dollar.
  37. Any waiver by the Landlord of any failure by the Tenant to perform or observe the provisions of this Lease will not operate as a waiver of the Landlord's rights under this Lease in respect of any subsequent defaults, breaches or non-performance and will not defeat or affect in any way the Landlord's rights in respect of any subsequent default or breach.
  38. This Lease will extend to and be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, as the case may be, of each Party. All covenants are to be construed as conditions of this Lease.
  39. All sums payable by the Tenant to the Landlord pursuant to any provision of this Lease will be deemed to be additional rent and will be recovered by the Landlord as rental arrears.
  40. Where there is more than one Tenant executing this Lease, all Tenants are jointly and severally liable for each other's acts, omissions and liabilities pursuant to this Lease.
  41. Locks may not be added or changed without the prior written agreement of both Parties, or unless the changes are made in compliance with the Act.
  42. The Tenant will be charged an additional amount of $25.00 for each N.S.F. check or checks returned by the Tenant's financial institution.
  43. Headings are inserted for the convenience of the Parties only and are not to be considered when interpreting this Lease. Words in the singular mean and include the plural and vice versa. Words in the masculine mean and include the feminine and vice versa.
  44. This Lease may be executed in counterparts. Facsimile signatures are binding and are considered to be original signatures.
  45. This Lease constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties.
  46. During the last 30 days of this Lease, the Landlord or the Landlord's agents will have the privilege of displaying the usual 'For Sale' or 'For Rent' or 'Vacancy' signs on the Property.
  47. Time is of the essence in this Lease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF _______________ and _______________ have duly affixed their signatures on this ___ day of ____________________,20___.

Landlord: _______________

Tenant: _______________

The Tenant acknowledges receiving a duplicate copy of this Lease signed by the Tenant and the Landlord on the _____ day of ______________________, 20____.

Tenant: _______________


Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Property: ______________________, ______________________, California, ______________________
Landlord: _______________
Tenant: _______________

Landlord's Disclosure


  1. The Landlord has NO knowledge of any lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in or about the Property.
  2. The Landlord has NO records or reports relating to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in or about the Property.
Date: ___ day of ____________________,20___

 Landlord: _______________

per: _________________________________

Tenant's Disclosure

The Tenant ACKNOWLEDGES receipt of:

  1. the information contained in the above Landlord's Disclosure including the above-mentioned reports and records; and
  2. the pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home (EPA-747-K-99-001) or an equivalent pamphlet that has been approved for use in the state by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Date: ___ day of ____________________,20___

 Tenant: _______________

per: _________________________________

The pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home can be ordered in hard copy or can be printed from the website

Asbestos Disclosure

Property: ______________________, ______________________, California, ______________________
Landlord: _______________
Tenant: _______________

Landlord's Disclosure


  1. The Landlord has investigated and there is no asbestos in or about the Property.
  2. The Landlord has NO records or reports with respect to asbestos in or about the Property.
Date: ___ day of ____________________,20___

 Landlord: _______________

per: _________________________________

Tenant's Disclosure

The Tenant ACKNOWLEDGES receipt of the information contained in the above Landlord's Disclosure including any reports and records.

Date: ___ day of ____________________,20___

Tenant: _______________

per: _________________________________

California Rental Lease Agreement

California is a dream home for most people, yet there is an increasing number of people who find themselves on the wrong side of the law for contravening landlord-tenant laws in rental lease contracts.

If you are thinking of making California home, you should be aware of all the laws that govern rental lease agreements in California.

  • The Official Rules and Regulations

    • California Department of Consumer Affairs – Landlord Tenant Rules

    • A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities (PDF)

    • California Health and Safety Code

    • Title 5: Chapter 4: Identification of Property Owners - Cal. Civ Code §§ 1961 – 1962.7

    • Title 5: Hiring of Real Property - Cal. Civ Code §§ 1940 – 1954

Detailed Landlord and Tenant Rental Lease Agreement Laws in California

Security Deposits

What is the maximum security deposit allowed?

Tenants need to pay two months’ rent for unfurnished dwellings and three months’ rent for furnished dwellings.

Is there a stature for security deposit interest?

There is no state-wide statute on security deposit interests, but on about 15 localities, there are rental control ordinances which require that you pay interest. The localities include Los Angeles.

Is there a statute for separate security deposit bank account?


Are there pet deposits and additional non-refundable fees?

No, they aren’t allowed.

What is the deadline for returning the security deposit?


When can the landlord withhold the security deposit?

  • Security deposit is withheld in the following cases:

    • In case of unpaid rent

    • Repairing damages, besides the normal wear and tear resulting from the tenant’s actions.

    • For cleaning the rental unit when a tenant moves out – only to make the unit as clean as it was before the tenant moved in.

    • When the lease agreement allows, the withheld amount caters for the cost of restoring/ restoring furnishings, furniture and other personal property.

Should there be a written description or an itemized list of damages and charges?

Yes. There, although there is no need for documentation and receipts to accompany itemized lists if the cost of cleaning and the repairs cost less than $126,

Is record keeping of the deposit withholdings necessary?


What happens in case of non-compliance?

If there is a bad faith claim or retention by a landlord, then these may subject the landlord to statutory damaged up to twice the total amount of the security, in addition to the actual damages.

Lease, Fees, and Rent

When is rent due?

Unless there is a contract to the contrary, and if the rental lease is for less than a year, then the rent is due at the end of every month. In most leases, the rent is due at the beginning of the month.

What are the payment methods acceptable?

According to the statutes, the landlord should allow at least one form of payment that isn’t cash or an electronic funds transfer. This is the case unless the tenant has insufficient funds to pay or they stopped making payments through money orders – if this is the case, the landlord may require cash payments.

How long is a rent increase notice?

In California, there is a 30-day notice for rent increase when the increase is less than 10 percent the lowest amount of rent charged in the last 12 months. If the rent increase is more than 10 percent the lowest amount of rent charged in the last 12 months, then, a 60 days’ notice is necessary.

Are late fees allowed?

Yes. However, the fees should be reasonable, and also, the fees should obey the rent control laws. The fees are also only enforceable if specified in the lease agreement.

How much are the application fees?

The application fees are adjustable annually based on the changes in the Consumer Price Index as from January 1, 1998. By 2012, the maximum allowable application fee is $44.51.

Is prepayment of rent acceptable?

Yes. The landlord can collect one month’s pre-paid rent during the first month, as well as two or three months’ security deposit.

How much are the returned check fees?

The fees are equal to the actual bank fee. Also, the landlord could charge a flat (service) fee of $25 for the first occurrence and $35 for subsequent occurrences.

Can the tenant withhold rent for the landlord’s failure to provide essential services like heat and water?

Yes. This is because the property is under the “implied warranty of habitability.”

Can the tenant repair and deduct rent?

Yes. But, the deduction shouldn’t e more than one month’s rent. Also, the tenant cannot use this remedy more than twice in a 12-month period.

Can the landlord recover court and attorney fees?


Can the landlord make a reasonable attempt to mitigate the damages to the lessee, in an attempt to re-rent?


Notices and Entry

Is notice to terminate tenancy possible on a fixed end date lease?

No notice is necessary though it is safe to offer a 60-days’ notice.

Is notice to terminate any periodic lease of a year or more necessary?

Well, the landlord has to give a 60-days’ notice is all the tenants have lived in the building for more than a year.

Do you need the notice to terminate a periodic month-to-month lease?

Yes, the landlord must give a 30-days’ notice, and the tenant should also give a 30-day notice.

What are the laws governing the notice to terminate a periodic week-to-week lease?

The landlord should give a 30-days’ notice, and the tenant must give a 7-days’ notice.

What are the conditions on the notice to terminate a lease because of the sale of the property?

  • A 30-days’ notice for periodic tenancies require notice is ALL these conditions are true:

    • The landlord contracted to sell the rental unit to another person who intends to occupy the rental unit for at least one unit after the tenancy elapses.

    • The landlord should have opened an escrow account with a licensed agent or a real estate broker.

    • The landlord should give a 30-day notice no later than 120 days after they open the escrow account

    • The landlord shouldn’t have previously given you a 60 or 30-day notice.

    • The unit should be one that can be sold as a separate unit from the other dwelling units.

How long is the notice of date/ time of a move-out inspection?

48 hours

How long is a notice of non-payment?

Three days

How long is an eviction notice for lease violation?

Three days to remedy the lease violation or the landlord can just file an eviction. Also, the landlord can terminate the lease of subletting without any permission or in case of illegal activities on the premises.

How long is the required notice before entry?

24 hours

Is entry allowed with a notice for repairs and maintenance issued?


Is entry allowed during a tenant’s extended absence?


Is there a statute on giving notice to tenants for the use of pesticides?


Are lockouts allowed?


Is utility shut off allowed?


Disclosures and miscellaneous notes

  • Under this section of the lease agreement contract, landlords have to educate tenants on matters relating to bedbugs.

    • The disclosure also contains the copy of the lease,

    • Accepting the first qualified applicant

    • Utilities and San Francisco utilities

    • Move in conditions,

    • Mold

    • Demolishment

    • Sexual offenders

    • Ordinances

    • Smoking

    • Proof of domestic violence status

    • Proof of domestic violence status

    • Pests disclosures

    • Special treatment

    • Locks.

    • Abandoned property

    • Retaliation

Legal and Court-related issues

  • Small claims court limits

    • $10,000 but the landlord may not file a suit for over $2,500 more than twice in a year.

    • Small Claims Court Limits – Los Angeles: $10,000

    • Small Claims Court Limits – San Diego: $10,000

    • Small Claims Court Limits – Orange County: $10,000

    • California Courts – Judicial Branch – Small Claims

Eviction cases are not allowed

Business Licenses

There are no state-wide statutes for business licenses, but some localities require the licenses

In Daly City, all landlords/ property managers who don’t live in shared rental units have to get business licenses.

If you are in agreement with these laws and you’d like to get you California rental lease agreement, you can fill in our rental lease agreement forms here.


CA Rental Lease Agreement

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