New Landlord/Tenant Laws for 2017

Eviction Cases No Longer Publicly Searchable

Previously, when a landlord filed an unlawful detainer or eviction lawsuit against a tenant, the case was publicly unavailable until 60 days after the complaint was filed. After the 60 days, the lawsuit became publicly searchable on the court website and information was obtainable by phone. This was a useful tool for landlords when screening potential tenants to check for eviction history.

However, starting January 1, 2017, unlawful detainer cases will no longer be publicly accessible unless: 1) the landlord obtains a judgment against the tenant within 60 days from the filing of the complaint or 2) by court order when judgment is entered for the plaintiff after trial, also more than 60 days since filing of the complaint. In other words, most unlawful detainer cases will now be permanently unavailable to the public and landlords can no longer access public records to check the eviction history of potential tenants.

Bed Bugs Disclosure

For new tenants, effective July 1, 2017, and for existing tenants, effective January 1, 2018, landlords must provide copies of pest control reports to tenants whose units have been inspected for pests. If a pest infestation occurred in the common area of a building, landlord must provide copies of pest control reports to all tenants in the building. However, a landlord has no duty to inspect a dwelling unit or common area if landlord has no notice of suspected or actual bed bug infestation. Finally, landlord is prohibited from showing or renting a residential unit if the landlord knows it has a current bed bug infestation. Practically speaking, landlords are responsible for getting rid of bed bugs in a rental unit before the unit is re-rented to new tenants.

Death of Occupant Disclosure

Owners, agents, and landlords are not required to disclose the death of an occupant or the manner of death, if the death occurred more than three years prior to the offer to purchase or lease. Also, no particular disclosure is required where an occupant of the property was living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related complications.

"Junior Accessory Dwelling Units"

Cities or counties may pass ordinances for the creation of junior accessory dwelling units within an existing single family residential zone. Said ordinances must include standards for the creation of the additional unit, deed restrictions and occupancy requirements. In other words, if an ordinance is passed, it may become easier for landlords to legalize in-law units.