Topic No. 251: General Lease Issues

A tenant’s breach of a lease or rental agreement may provide the landlord with a just cause for eviction under the Rent Ordinance. Tenants should review their lease or rental agreement closely to determine what is and is not permitted. The Rent Board cannot give legal advice to landlords or tenants regarding lease issues. Landlords and tenants should consult an attorney about such issues.

State law requires the landlord to provide a copy of any written lease or rental agreement to the tenant within 15 days of signing the lease and annually thereafter, within 15 days of a tenant’s request. There are additional requirements under state law for leases which are not covered in this topic.

Certain information must be disclosed to the tenant in writing, whether the lease is oral or written. Landlords must disclose the name, telephone number and address of any person authorized to manage the premises and/or act on behalf of the landlord for purposes of receiving rent, service of process, notices and demands. The landlord must also disclose whether rent payments are to be in cash, by personal check, money order, cashier’s check or through an electronic funds transfer procedure. A landlord is prohibited from requiring cash as the sole form of payment for rent and may only demand cash if the tenant bounced a check in the previous three months.

Where there is a written lease agreement between the parties, the terms of the agreement may state the day the rent payment is due and whether the terms provide a grace period for the payment of rent. A written lease agreement may also contain provisions regarding pets, late payment fees, parking, storage, and other terms related to the tenancy.

Non-renewal of a lease does not mean that the tenant has to move. Generally, when the lease term expires, a fixed term lease simply becomes a month-to-month tenancy under the same terms and conditions.

 

June 2019