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How to Tell if You Landlord is Illegally Harassing You in California

Harassment by an owner to either force tenants out of their apartments or surrender their rights is illegal in California and under most California local ordinances, like this one.

Though there is no state statute that address landlord buyout offers, many local jurisdictions have enacted local ordinances that prohibit landlords to contact you about a buyout offer unless certain requirements are met. For example, in Los Angeles, a landlord may not make a buyout offer unless:

  • The landlord first gives to the tenant the Rent Stabilization Ordinance Disclosure Notice, which must be signed and dated if the tenant chooses to accept the offer.
  • The Buyout Agreement is in the primary language of the tenant.
  • The Buyout Agreement states in 12-point bold language above the signature line as follows: “You, (tenant name), may cancel this Buyout Agreement any time up to 30 days after all parties have signed this Agreement without any obligation or penalty.”
  • The landlord must file a copy of the signed and dated RSO Disclosure Notice and Buyout Agreement with HCIDLA within 60 days of both parties signing the Buyout Agreement.

Similarly, in San Francisco, a landlord may not make a buyout offer unless a landlord discloses in writing to the tenant prior to buyout negotiations that the tenant may:

  • Refuse to enter negotiations or a buyout agreement
  • Consult with an attorney
  • Rescind the agreement within 45 days
  • Visit the rent board for information on other buyouts in the tenant’s neighborhood

In Berkeley, a landlord may not make a buyout offer unless a landlord gives the tenant a written disclosure of the tenant’s rights, including:

  • The right not to enter into a buyout agreement
  • The right to consult an attorney before signing the agreement
  • The right to rescind the agreement up to 30 days after signing
  • The right to consult the Rent Stabilization Board regarding the agreement.

If your landlord is trying to get you to vacate a dwelling and they do any of the below things, then this it's classified as harassment in California and is illegal.

  • Threatens you with the use of force
  • Steals, remove, or otherwise take property from you
  • Over charges for a rent-regulated apartment
  • Fails to provide necessary repairs or utilities
  • Deliberately causes construction-related problems
  • Threaten to disclose information regarding or relating to the immigration or citizenship status
  • Locks you out of your apartment illegally
  • Removes outside doors or windows

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.