Landlord and Tenant Issues: Mandatory Disclosures

California law requires landlords to make certain mandatory disclosures to tenants, most of which are usually found in the lease or an addendum to the lease, and generally concern the health and safety of potential building inhabitants. It is important for both landlords and tenants to be aware of the mandatory disclosures. If a landlord does not make a required disclosure, or fails to disclose dangerous conditions on the property, the landlord can later be found liable for damages the tenant suffers.


  1. Registered Sexual Offender Database

    The California Civil Code provides the exact language landlords must put in a lease about the online registered sexual offender database. (Cal. Civ. Code § 2079.10a)

  2. Paying for Utilities of Others

    Before a tenant signs a rental agreement, the landlord needs to let the tenant know if gas or electric service to the tenant’s unit also serves other areas that are not used by the tenant. If it does, the landlord must disclose how costs will be allocated. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.9)

  3. Toxic Mold

    The landlord needs to let the tenant know in writing if there is toxic mold that exceeds permissible exposure limits or poses a health threat in the residence. (Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 26147, 26148)

  4. Ordinance Locations

    If there is a former federal or state ordinance within one (1) mile of the rental property, the landlord must inform the tenant. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.7)

  5. Pest Control Service

    If the rental property is serviced for pest control, the landlord needs to tell the tenant about any disclosures the landlord received from the pest control company. This could include what kind of pest is being controlled, what pesticides are used and their active ingredients, whether the pesticides are toxic, and how often the property will be treated. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.8, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 8538)

  6. Intent to Demolish

    If a landlord has applied for a permit to demolish a rental unit, he or she must give prospective tenants written notice before accepting any deposits or screening fees. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.6)

  7. No Smoking Policy 

    If a landlord prohibits or limits smoking on the rental property, the lease needs to specifically describe the areas where smoking is limited or prohibited. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1947.5)


On top of California’s mandatory disclosures, there may be additional mandatory disclosures outlined by federal law and local ordinances. For example, federal law requires that landlords disclose if they know about any lead-based paint hazards in the rental premises.

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