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Under CA landlord-tenant laws, what are legal grounds for a landlord to reject a prospective tenant lease application?

San Francisco, CA |

There are 2 cottages built on one lot in San Francisco. Owner occupants live in one, and we own the other. Our cottage has become vacant and a former tenant of that cottage wants to move back in. She was an excellent tenant, however did not get along with the other cottage residents. The garage and laundry facilities are shared by both cottages.

We have received very strong feedback from the owner/occupants of the back cottage asking us not to re-rent to "Jane". They said she was disrespectful and basically made their lives miserable. They are, in essence, providing us with an extremely bad reference as former neighbors of "Jane".

Based on this, are we legally allowed to reject her application and refuse her request to rent our cottage again?

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Attorney answers 1


A landlord may reject a prospective tenant's rental application for any reason or no reason, so long as it's not an improper reason. By "improper" I mean discriminating against a prospective tenant based on race, religion, nationality, family status, etc. If you have a policy against renting to rude people, that is perfectly legal. Plus you probably don't want a tenant in there that doesn't get along with the neighbor as you will likely be drawn into future squabbles.

Disclaimer: You should discuss your situation with a local attorney, as the above statement is a general overview and does not take into account all of the factual considerations in your case. Nothing in this statement creates an attorney-client relationship.

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