Resources for Tenants

Landlord-tenant law is complicated! State law governs many aspects of tenancy and over time case law has clarified how those statutes apply. Localities may add additional regulations (namely rent control) and so the law can vary from place-to-place. It is a veritable layer cake of complimentary codes, statutes and ordinances. Where can a tenant turn for help?

Try a Renters Alliance ‘Explainer’

Online resources and legal guides are helpful to tenants but only
Renters Alliance is the only organization that provides advice for tenants that draws not only on state law but also the Beverly Hills rent stabilization ordinance. We focus on the real-world problems that face tenants every day in Beverly Hills in our series of ‘explainer’ posts. Browse all our explainers by scrolling down to the full list.

Consult a Tenant Guide

The Department of Consumer Affairs has published the California Tenants Guide. This is often our go-to guide for authoritative guidance on state law. Make it your first stop. However it was last updated in 2012 and the Department has said it will not be updated. Still it remains an authoritative reference — especially the footnotes!

Those looking for a deeper-dive on a specific issue should check out the Nolo Press series on landlord-tenant law. That includes the indispensable California Tenants’ Rights (2018), Renters’ Rights (2018) and California Landlord’s Law Book: Rights and Responsibilities (2019).  Sometimes it helps to think like a landlord. So we consult California Landlord’s Law Book: Evictions (2019). Check the Beverly Hills library for some of these titles. The law evolves slowly so even a years-old guide will be useful.

Getting away from legal particulars, we recommend tenant guides for general advice. There are many online but we recommend a few from Los Angeles County including Before You Rent, Living in Your Rental Unit, and Moving Out of Your Rental Unit. The State Department of Consumer Affairs publishes a tutorial on small claims court that comes in handy when the landlord won’t return the security deposit!

Reach Out to the City

We encourage tenants to contact the city’s rent stabilization office. Staff is available to answer questions about the maximum allowed annual rent increase, tenancy terminations, relocation fees and much more. Visit the Rent Stabilization Program online. The city hall office is rooom #200.

The city has two programs that may benefit tenants: free professional mediation and housing rights legal services from Bet Tzedek for income-qualifying tenants.

Renters Alliance Explainers

Got an idea for an explainer? Get in touch!