Rental Laws

California Laws 

(California Civil Codes referenced)

NOTE: From the government sites (listed below), the best way to print a document is to click on the "PDF" icon at the top of the page.

  • Security Deposits (1950.5)
    Know your rights and responsibilities as it relates to your security deposits
  • Repairs and Landlord's General Obligations (California Civil Code, Sections 1941 & 1942)
    • 1941: Landlord must maintain building in condition fit for human occupation
    • 1941.1: Characteristics of a residential unit that a landlord must maintain
    • 1941.2: Tenant's responsibilities for maintaining the condition of the property
    • 1941.4: Telephone jacks and wiring
    • Contact a legal adviser before exercising the rights in the California laws regarding repairs and habitability referenced below:
      • 1942(a): Repair and deduct or vacate untenable rental
      • 1942.4Demand rent after official notice to repair
      • 1942.5Retaliation for exercising tenant's rights
  • A Tenant's Right to Privacy (1954)
    Know what your rights are regarding unwelcome or unauthorized visits from your landlord
  • Rights that can not be waived (1953)
    The following rights can not be modified or waived without voiding the lease/rental agreement
    • Privacy
    • Security Deposits
    • Habitability
    • Retaliation
  • Locks/Security Devices on Doors (1941.3)
    Landlords are obliged to install and maintain an operable dead bolt lock on each main swinging entry door of a dwelling unit.
  • Telephone Jacks and Wiring (1941.4)
    Landlords shall be responsible for installing at least one usable telephone jack and for placing and maintaining the inside telephone wiring in good working order.
  • Screening Fees for Residential Rental Units (1950.6)
    Landlord or agent may charge applicants an application screening fee to cover the actual costs of obtaining information about said applicant.
  • Landlord’s Responsibility to Provide a Copy of Rental Agreement (1962)
  • Shared Utilities (1940.9)
    Landlord must disclose if a utility meter is shared how the bill will be divided among users. This must be a mutually agreed upon arrangement and the agreement must be in writing.

Home Safety

City of Santa Cruz Municipal Codes & Taxes

  • Interest Rates on Deposits (Municipal Code Chapter 21.02)
  • Interim Emergency Rental Housing Ordinances
  • Transient Occupancy Tax. If you are offering and charging guests or students for overnight accommodations, you may be required to register and file monthly tax forms to the City for collection of Transient Occupancy Tax.  As of July 2013, the City levies a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for the privilege of occupying any space where accommodations are offered for hire for periods of thirty (30) days or less. The tax is paid by the guest and collected by the operator. The operator then remits the tax to the City. If your property is subject to the TOT, you are required to register with the City within thirty (30) days of commencing business, and to file monthly TOT returns to avoid significant fines and penalties. For more information, visit the City of Santa Cruz’s TOT information website

City of Santa Cruz Party Policies

(Santa Cruz Municipal Code referenced)