What are tenants responsible for during the term of the lease?

According to Civil Code Sections 1929, 1941.2, tenants are required by law to take reasonable care of their rental units, as well as common areas such as hallways and outside areas. Tenants must act to keep those areas clean and undamaged. Tenants also are responsible for repair of all damage that results from their neglect or abuse, and for repair of damage caused by anyone for whom they are responsible, such as family, guests, or pets. They must additionally do all of the following, unless a landlord agrees in writing to clean the rental unit and dispose of the trash:

  • Keep the premises “as clean and sanitary as the condition of the premises permits.”
  • Use and operate gas, electrical, and plumbing fixture properly. (examples of improper use include overloading electrical outlets; using large, foreign objects down the toilet; and allowing any gas, electrical, or plumbing fixture to become filthy.)
  • Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.
  • Not destroy, damage, or deface the premises, or allow anyone else to do so.
  • Not remove any part of the structure, dwelling unit, facilities, equipment, or appurtenances, or allow anyone else to do so.
  • Use the premises as a place to live, and use the rooms for their intended purposes. For example, the bedroom must be used as a bedroom, and not as a kitchen.
  • Notify the landlord when deadbolt locks and window locks or security devices do not operate properly.

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