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Can you restrict a renter's ability to give 30 days notice on a month-to-month tenancy in California?

San Francisco, CA |

California civil code §1946 clearly allows a renter to give 30 days notice of termination at any time on a month-to-month rental agreement. Can a landlord insert language in the agreement which restricts this right, by (a) prohibiting a tenant from giving notice effective mid-month, and/or (b) prohibiting a tenant from giving notice during certain months of the year? I'm no lawyer, but these seems clearly to contradict the law to me.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

No, the landlord cannot in a residential rental agreement restrict the tenant from being able to give notice of termination mid-month, nor may the landlord prohibit the tenant from giving notice during certain months of the year.

If the rental property is located in the City and County of San Francisco, keep in mind that the San Francisco Rent Ordinance might also be in effect.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.

Asker

Posted

Thanks so much - exactly what I needed to know (and what I thought.) I'm assuming that if one had signed an agreement containing these provisions, they could just be ignored since they contradict the law.

Posted

Per your comment, yes, terms that contradict the law are void.

Keep in mind, however, that if you do give notice mid-month, your 30-day notice will terminate mid-month of the next month, meaning that your rent will likely have become due on the first or thereabout.

To avoid a 3-day Notice to Pay or Quit, you should pay the FULL month's rent and then request a reimbursement for the pro-rated half-month along with your security deposit. There might be an argument under CA Civil Code § 1946 that you only have to pay the half-month's rent, but then you leave yourself open to asserting that argument as a defendant in an Unlawful Detainer action based on the 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit for failing to pay the full month's rent.

Kevin King, Principal- Essential Law Services. HTTP://ESSENTIALAW.COM, 415-562-6862. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice for a particular case. This post does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author of the question answered. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with me or another qualified attorney off-site.

Asker

Posted

as the landlord then, should I require the tenant to pay the full month's rent if they gave me 30 day notice that they will be moving out on the 15th of the month? (and then reimburse them the other half when they do move out?)

Posted

No. Any attempt to put language in a lease that contradicts the law will be void and unenforceable.

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