The Rental Housing Provider’s Guide to Required Disclosures

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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD AND HEALTH RELATED DISCLOSURES

DISCLOSURE TYPE: LEAD

REQUIREMENTS:
Housing built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint, a health hazard for tenants. For this reason, owners of units built before 1978 must comply with all of these federal requirements:
• Prior to signing a new lease with a tenant, owners must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling.
• Give the tenant a copy of the federal government’s pamphlet, “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” (available by calling 1-800-424-LEAD).
• The lease or rental agreement must contain a lead warning statement in legally required language.
• Provide tenants with a written “Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead- Based Paint Hazards.”
CITATION: 42 U.S.C. 4852d; 24 CFR Part 35; 40 CFR Part 745

DISCLOSURE TYPE: MOLD

REQUIREMENTS:
Rental housing providers must notify current and prospective tenants about mold that is visible or invisible that they know about or should reasonably know about. Owners are also required to provide their tenants with a consumer booklet, developed by the State Department of Health Services, which describes the potential health risks and impact of mold.
CITATION: Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 26147, 26148

DISCLOSURE TYPE: PESTICIDES AND PEST CONTROL SERVICE

REQUIREMENTS:
Pest control operators must provide rental property owners and tenants, prior to pesticide application, notice that describes, among other things, the pest to be controlled, the pesticide to be used, a warning about the danger of pesticides, and the frequency of treatment. Any such notice provided to the owner, must be provided to new tenants if regular pesticide applications are ongoing.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1940.8, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 8538

DISCLOSURE TYPE: ASBESTOS

REQUIREMENTS:
Residential units and homes built prior 1981 have a higher likelihood of containing asbestos. Although no specific law requires disclosures of asbestos, a best practices approach recommends making disclosures to tenants whenever asbestos is discovered on the property.

DISCLOSURE TYPE: PROP 65 WARNINGS: CHEMICALS CAUSING CANCER & REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY

REQUIREMENTS:
Rental property owners with 10 or more employees must post Prop 65 warning signs to warn tenants about hazardous chemicals found on the property, which may include chemicals from tobacco smoke, motor vehicle exhaust, pesticides, and common household cleaning products. The warning sign should state the following: “WARNING: THIS FACILITY CONTAINS ONE OR MORE CHEMICALS KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE CANCER, BIRTH DEFECTS OR REPRODUCTIVE HARM. CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 25249.5.

Note: Prop 65 regulations are likely to be updated and changed within the next few years. Owners should always stay informed about new laws and regulations affecting the rental property industry to ensure the health and safety of its tenants and avoid liability.
CITATION: Cal. Health and Safety Code § 25249.5

DISCLOSURE TYPE: METHAMPHETAMINE CONTAMINATION

REQUIREMENTS:
Residential rental property that is found to be contaminated with hazardous chemicals associated with the production of methamphetamines must be shut down and cannot be rented out. Current occupants must be vacated until the unit is cleaned up and certified for habitation by the local code enforcement agency. Owners, thereafter, must disclose to prospective tenants of affected units about the prior meth contamination.
CITATION: Cal. Health and Safety Code § 25400.10- 25400.46

DISCLOSURE TYPE: RESIDENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD BOOKLET

REQUIREMENTS:
A bill that passed this year (2016), that will go into effect in 2017, allows rental property owners to limit their liability for any obligation to educate their tenants about common environmental hazards, by providing their tenants with a booklet entitled “Residential Environmental Hazards: A Guide for Homeowners, Buyers, Landlords, and Tenants.” The booklet provides information about hazards such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hazardous waste, lead, mold, and radon. The new law does not change the duty to disclose the known presence of an environmental hazard or the law on habitability.
CITATION: Cal. Business and Professions Code § 10149; Cal. Gov’t Code § 8897; Cal. Civil Code § 2079.7-8

SAFETY RELATED DISCLOSURES

DISCLOSURE TYPE: REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER DATABASE WEBSITE

REQUIREMENTS:
Rental property owners must disclosure to tenants information about the government’s registered sex offender database and website. The following language must be contained in rental agreements: “Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and ZIP Code in which he or she resides.”
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 2079.10a.

DISCLOSURE TYPE: PROXIMITY TO CLOSED MILITARY BASE, AMMUNITION, AND EXPLOSIVES
REQUIREMENTS:
Rental units located within one mile of a closed military base in which ammunition or military explosives were used, must give written notice of this fact to a prospective tenant.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1940.7

DISCLOSURE TYPE: SMOKE ALARMS AND CO DEVICES

REQUIREMENTS:
Under a best practices approach, rental property owners should require their tenants to notify the property owner or manager when a smoke alarm or CO device needs a battery or unit replacement, or is not functional.

RENTAL OCCUPANCY RELATED DISCLOSURES

DISCLOSURE TYPE: NO SMOKING POLICIES

REQUIREMENTS:
Rental property providers must disclose to their tenants where the designated smoking areas are, and where it is prohibited. But note, new no smoking policies are not effective against tenants who signed their leases prior to January 1, 2012, until they renew their lease or there is a properly executed change in terms of tenancy.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1947.5

DISCLOSURE TYPE: INTENTION TO DEMOLISH A RENTAL UNIT (ELLIS ACT)

REQUIREMENTS:
Property owners in rent controlled communities who receive a permit to demolish a rental unit, must give tenants written notice of their intent to demolish. The law, commonly known as the “Ellis Act,” has a number of other requirements.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1940.6

DISCLOSURE TYPE: DEATH IN THE RENTAL UNIT

REQUIREMENTS:
Prospective tenants must be notified about any deaths, including the manner of death, that have occurred in the rental unit within the last three years, unless the death is due to HIV.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1710.2

DISCLOSURE TYPE: IDENTIFICATION OF RENTAL PROPERTY OWNER OR MANAGER

REQUIREMENTS:

Rental property owners must disclose or provide to their tenants the following:
1) Name, telephone number of the owner, manager, or agent;
2) Street address of owner, manager or agent where personal service can be effected;
3) Name, phone, and address of the person to whom rent payments are made;
4) If rent payments may be made personally, the usual days and hours that the person will be available to receive the payments;
a. Alternatively at the owner’s option, the account in a financial institution into which rent payments may be made, and the name and street address of the institution; provided that the institution is located within five miles of the rental property;
b. The information necessary to establish an electronic funds transfer procedure for paying the rent;
5) The form or forms in which rent payments are to be made;
6) A copy of the rental agreement or lease to the tenant within 15 days of its execution by the tenant.

Any successor owners or manager must comply with these rules within 15 days of succeeding the previous owner.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1962

DISCLOSURE TYPE: UTILITIES

REQUIREMENTS:
If gas and electric meters serve other units or other areas of the apartment, owners must disclose the shared nature of the utility to tenants prior to signing a lease. Owners must also disclose the manner by which costs will be fairly allocated.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 1940.9

DISCLOSURE TYPE: NOTICE OF DEFAULT

REQUIREMENTS:
Owners of single-family and multifamily dwellings not exceeding four units, who have received a notice of default with respect to a mortgage or deed of trust, must disclose the default in writing to prospective tenants prior to signing a lease agreement. Penalties for a violation of this rule include a tenant’s option of voiding the lease, tenant recovery of one month’s rent or twice the actual damages, whichever is greater, and return of all prepaid rent. The written disclosure notice shall be provided in English or in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean (if the lease was negotiated in one of these languages) substantially in the following form:

The foreclosure process has begun on this property, and this property may be sold at foreclosure. If you rent this property, and a foreclosure sale occurs, the sale may affect your right to continue to live in this property in the future. Your tenancy may continue after the sale. The new owner must honor the lease unless the new owner will occupy the property as a primary residence, or in other limited circumstances. Also, in some cases and in some cities with a “just cause for eviction” law, you may not have to move at all. In order for the new owner to evict you, the new owner must provide you with at least 90 days’ written eviction notice in most cases.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 2924.85

DISCLOSURE TYPE: LEASE TERMS

REQUIREMENTS:
Rental agreements of a year or more must be in writing. The written rental agreement should, in addition to those requirements listed, specify all the key terms of the agreement including the rent amount, when rent is due, rent increase agreements, the amount and purpose of the security deposit, late fees, return check fees, whether pets are allowed, the number of people allowed to live in the unit, attorney’s fees in the event a lawsuit is filed, the owner’s repair promises, subletting rules or prohibitions, owner inspections rules, the length of time between rent payments, the length of the lease, parking, obtaining permission to have parties, and the respective property owner and tenant obligations. If the lease terms were negotiated in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Korean, then the rental agreement must be translated in that language (unless the tenants have a qualified interpreter).
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code §§ 1940-1954, 1962

DISCLOSURE TYPE: CHANGE IN LEASE TERMS

REQUIREMENTS:
To change lease terms, owners must provide tenants with written notice of his or her intent to change lease terms. The amount of advance notice is typically the same amount of time between rent payments.
CITATION: Cal. Civil Code § 827

DISCLOSURE TYPE: NOTICE TO TERMINATE

REQUIREMENTS:
When terminating a month-to-month tenancy without cause, a notice to terminate must be provided 30 days ahead of time, unless the tenant has been in possession for more than 1 year, in which case a 60-day notice is required. If a tenant breaches a contract, a property owner has the option of giving the tenant a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, a 3-day notice to perform covenant or quit, or a 3-day notice to quit. The last option is appropriate if the breach is not curable; the first option is proper if the tenant failed to pay rent.
CITATION: Cal. Code of Civil Procedure §§ 1946, 1161

DISCLOSURE TYPE: LOCAL DISCLOSURES

REQUIREMENTS:

Each city and/or county may have its own separate disclosure requirements. In rent control communities, for example, owners sometimes are required to disclosure tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, rent increases and tenant rights to a petition, notice of termination submission to the local rent board, presence of bed bugs, just cause for termination of tenancy, local government inspections, and many others. Please check with your local city and county laws.

 

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