As a landlord, you have certain rights and responsibilities concerning your rental property. But what exactly are the rental regulations in Orange County, California?
Orange County Rental Regulatory Landscape
There are several organizations in place to protect tenants and landlords in Orange County. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) is the primary rental regulatory agency across the country. HUD handles certain housing complaints about discrimination and bad landlords.
Meanwhile, Orange County has its own housing counseling agency – the Fair Housing Council of Orange County. FHCOC works to ensure equal access to housing in the region. A member of the National Fair Housing Alliance, the agency offers community education, personal counseling, mediation, and affordable advocacy.
Fair Housing Act Protections
Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must NOT discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, handicap, familial status, or national origin. This includes (but is not limited to)…
- Denying or refusing rent
- Treating rental applicants differently
- Treating residents differently concerning the lease
- Advertising discriminatory housing preferences or limitations
- Providing false information about rental availability
- Harassing, coercing, or intimidating tenants (or prospective tenants) to prevent them from exercising their FHA rights
If a tenant or potential tenant complains that property is unlivable, California and Orange County courts will assess whether it substantially lacks certain standards. For example, it must have working plumbing, electric, and gas systems and the roof, walls, and windows should not leak.
Rental Unit Repairs
By law, landlords must maintain rental units and common areas in habitable condition. That is, unless the tenant caused the problem. In this context, “habitable” means free of issues that could impact the safety and health of tenants or impede the normal use of the property.
In August 2022, California capped rent at 10% for certain covered properties. While a landlord can raise rental prices under 10% and still give the standard 30-days notice, they must give at least 90-days notice if the increase is above 10%.
Upholding The Lease
A rental lease is binding. It grants both the landlord and tenant certain rights for a fixed period of time. Neither tenant nor landlord can terminate the lease without just cause. So, if a tenant breaks the lease in any way (failing to pay rent, damaging the property, etc.), the landlord reserves the right to terminate the tenancy. The same goes for the tenant if the landlord breaks the terms of the lease.
For more common Orange County landlord-tenant FAQs, visit the FHCOC website.
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