Owning rental property can be a great investment. But while California law recognizes your right to invest in a rental property, it also grants tenants certain rights. Every landlord dreams of a tenant who pays their rent on time, uses the property per the terms of the lease agreement and does not pick fights with their neighbors. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
There are instances when you may need to evict a tenant from a rental property such as when they consistently do not pay rent on time or when they use the property for illegal activities. But, there are also limits to your authority to evict tenants. These are two instances when evicting a tenant can land you in trouble.
When the eviction is motivated by discrimination
Per the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against your tenants on grounds of their family status, gender, race, color, nationality of origin and other protected characteristics. Likewise, California laws prohibit eviction on medical grounds. If you evict a tenant on any of these grounds, you may be found liable for discriminatory eviction.
When the eviction is motivated by retaliation
Like with any relationship, it is not uncommon to have a tenant with whom you simply do not get along or one who is constantly picking fights with their neighbors. However, you cannot kick out a tenant for something they say or do that you simply dislike, especially if they did not do anything illegal and did not violate the terms of their lease. For instance, if a tenant reports an issue with their unit, you may not evict them because you are upset that they brought it up. Likewise, you cannot evict a tenant because they reported you to the housing authority or the health department over unfixed repair work.
Safeguarding your rights
If you are a landlord, you probably know things do not always go smoothly with every tenant. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about California landlord-tenant laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests if you ever desire to evict a tenant.