Commercial Month-to-Month Leases and Tenant Rights in California

Commercial Month-to-Month Leases and Tenant Rights in California

Most businesses in America are tenants, according to the California Tenant Law site, because they don’t have the office, store or warehouse that they operate out of. This can be an advantage, because it relieves them of the burden of property management and property taxes. Industry tenants have few legal protections if they have problems with the landlord.


Residential tenants have a right to livable space, free of safety hazards and vermin, together with working electricity, lights, heating and plumbing. Commercial tenants don’t have any such rights, the Tenants Legal Center states, unless they’re spelled out in the rental agreement. Even if the lease obligates the landlord to make repairs, then perhaps it doesn’t need him to make them promptly or give him any accountability for related business problems — that the roof leaking over your computers, for instance. California law does, however, need your landlord to notify you beforehand if there is a toxic mould infestation on the property.

Time Frame

In spite of a month-to-month agreement, California landlords can not increase the rent on residential renters, the Tenants Legal Center states: Rental increases must be declared at least 30 times and sometimes 60 days beforehand. Commercial tenants don’t have that protection: The landlord may insist on trekking another month’s lease at any time, unless there is something in the rental agreement to prevent it.


If a landlord decides to evict you mid-month, the Legal Match site states, it is going to go much quicker than if you’re a residential tenant: Whatever you get in California is a three-day notice to resolve the issue, or you have to leave. If your landlord evicts you for nonpayment of rent and overstates the debt by 20 percent or less — asserting you must pay him $2,400 when it’s just $2,000, for instance — you must pay that much to protect against the eviction, provided the landlord used the proper legal forms.


1 advantage to a short-term rental, the Legal Corner site states, is that if your company folds, as most new businesses do, then you won’t lose over a month’s lease. Should you take out a five-year lease and your company goes under in six months, you could still be on the hook for 4.5 decades of payment. Nevertheless, Legal Corner urges a one- to two-year rental with options to renew instead of a monthly arrangement.


Most of your rights, California Tenant Law states, are the ones which you write into the lease. Proceed carefully, attracting a legal or real-estate adviser if you don’t have the abilities, and make certain to understand exactly what you’re committing to. If there are any clauses you need for your own protection — the landlord making all repairs immediately, for instance — have them composed in, as an oral agreement might be hard to enforce. When everything is signed, have a copy away with you to reduce anyone altering the document after you signed.

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