California Lease Agreements

Yearly leases

Rental property leases in California are required to be in writing if they are for one year or longer. If the lease agreement is not in writing, then it is presumptively month-to-month.

Yearly leases terminate on their expiry date unless they are renewed for another year beforehand. If no notice is given, and if the tenant remains and the landlord approves, then absent a lease renewal for another year, the lease reverts to a monthly lease.

Monthly leases

Monthly leases are renew automatically unless a 30-day notice has been given by either the landlord or the tenant to terminate the lease.

In the event the tenant has lived at the property for more than one year, then the notice period is 60 days; however, if the tenant has received a landlord's 60-day notice and wishes to leave earlier, then the tenant may deliver a 30-day notice.

Rent increases

In California, except for rent controlled property which varies by municipality, the rent may typically be increased between 5% and 5% + the CPI for the present year. A general rule of thumb is that 10% is the maximum by which rent may be increased.

Assignments and sublets

An assignment is a full transfer by the tenant of their interest in the rented property to another person. A sublet is a new lease for the property, executed between the tenant and another person, but for a shorter period of time than the original lease as between the tenant and the landlord.

Whether a tenant may assign or sublet a rental property is dictated by the terms of the lease agreement.

Rental property maintenance

As with assignments and subleases, the maintenance of property grounds like a backyard garden may be agreed to by the lease agreement. If nothing is mentioned, then it is presumed to be maintained by the landlord.