self-managing landlord

Disclosures: What Self-Managing Landlords Should Know

It can be difficult to keep up with ever-changing laws and regulations when it comes to being a self-managing landlord.


There are disclosures required by local and state laws you must provide to your tenants. Ignoring these disclosures, or failing to provide them to tenants, can result in serious legal issues for the landlord or property.

In California, there are many disclosures that are required. The below disclosures cover those required for landlords to provide to their tenants. In the instance of selling a home or buying a home, there are even more.  See fourteen of the disclosures you may want to look out for below.


Asbestos Disclosure

This disclosure applies to both residential and commercial properties and is essential any landlord managing a building that was built before 1979, if they have knowledge of the building utilizing any asbestos-containing materials. It is essential to give notice to all tenants if it has been determined that there is a risk to asbestos exposure.

If a landlord does not provide the proper disclosures, the landlord could be held liable for any damages caused by airborne fibers to the tenants.


Bed Bug Disclosure

Bed bug disclosures apply to residential properties. It is essential to provide tenants with a statutory disclosure with information about bedbugs, as well as instructions on how to report an infestation to the property owner/landlord. The disclosure must be given to all current and future tenants.


Carbon Monoxide Detector Compliance

This disclosure applies to residential properties. All landlords are required to provide carbon monoxide detectors in each unit or home in the event of the unit containing a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, or fireplace. It is also required if the unit contains an an attached garage and was built on or before July 1, 2011 in a single-family home, or before January 1, 2013 for all other units.

While there isn’t a disclosure required, the installation and maintenance is required in each unit.


Death Disclosure

Death disclosures are required by landlords if the death occurred within the last three years. If the death took place prior to the three-year requirement, the landlord is not obligated to provide information to tenants about the death or the manner of death.

It is essential that all communication regarding a death that has taken place within the last three years is represented accurately and respectfully. Landlords and property owners are within their rights to deny answering questions regarding any information regarding the individual’s health status who passed. This could include questions regarding HIV or AIDS. The landlord or property manager will be best served to not indicate that any information is known at all. 


Flood Disclosure

When creating a lease agreement with a tenant, the landlord or property owner must share, in writing, any insurance issues that may come up, along with information about floods. They must also disclose if the property is located in a flood hazard area, which would require flood insurance, or if they are located in an area of potential flooding. This can include the risk created by the presence of a nearby dam.


Identification of Landlord or Manager

When you first acquire a tenant in the case of a new owner or manager, the individual signing the lease agreement (typically the landlord), they are required to share all available channels for communication for the landlord to receive notices. It must be made clear if there are any other entities who are approved to act on behalf of the owner, receive notices, receive rental payments and in what form they may be received.

A copy of the lease agreement provided to the tenant is required within 15 days of signing. Any new management must also abide by these disclosure guidelines.


Lead Hazard Pamphlet and Disclosure

For all units built prior to January 1, 1978, landlords must give tenants information regarding lead hazards. This includes disclosing the usage of lead-based paint. The landlord must provide a statement to the tenant who must then sign the document to confirm they have read, and understand, the information in the pamphlet.

Short-term rentals (100 days or fewer), housing for elderly or handicapped individuals (unless children will also be residing in the unit), housing that has been certified free of lead paint, and zero-bedroom dwellings are exempt from this required disclosure.

Failure to disclose any of the required disclosures can have serious consequences. If a landlord does not provide information about lead hazards or provide the proper disclosures, they are subject to fines, and will be held responsible for damage to renters whether or not the unit was a short or long-term rental. In some severe cases, the landlord could even face jail time.


Military Ordinance Location

If the dwelling is located within one mile of a military ordinance location, it must be disclosed to the tenant in writing. This disclosure must convey that the former military ordinance location/training ground may contain explosives or potentially explosive munitions.


Mold Disclosure

Landlords managing residential properties are required to provide a mold booklet to all prospective tenants, starting January 1, 2022.

While there isn’t any existing inspection requirement, the existence of any toxic mold in the unit should be remediated by the landlord as soon as possible.


Rent Cap and Just Cause Eviction Disclosure

Residential properties are required to provide a disclosure with general information regarding rent caps or just cause evictions. This disclosure applies to any tenancy that started or was renewed July 1, 2020 and after. Notice must be provided prior to August 1, 2020.

Failure to provide notice can result in serious consequences such as receiving a fine, or tenants suing their landlord for damages after a failure to disclose in some cases. We believe that abiding by all local, state and federal laws is the best way to keep your property safe, tenants happy, and avoid legal trouble. 


Smoke Alarm Compliance

All residential units or properties must have a smoke alarm located outside of each sleeping area to remain compliant. Newly constructed units or homes must have a hard-wired smoke alarm present in each bedroom.

While there is not a disclosure obligation, it is essential to observe the installation requirement.


Water Heater Bracing Compliance

Due to the presence of earthquakes in California, it is required that landlords brace, strap, or anchor water heaters in their units or home in an effort to avoid falling.

If the water heater is not secured properly, it is considered to be a violation of the law. Despite there not being a disclosure requirement for landlords or property managers, it is incredibly important to remain compliant by meeting the installation requirements.


Water Submetering

If a landlord or property manager intends on charging tenants separately for water use on a property that utilizes submeters, they must very clearly disclose a comprehensive list of information. This disclosure applies to properties that contain two or more units.

We want to see self-managing landlords protect themselves in the necessary ways. It is essential to ensure avoid potential fines, liability for damage to tenants, or even jail time as a direct result of not following the guidelines.

It is essential to understand what you are required to provide to your tenants. Although it is complicated, not understanding the laws or required disclosures is not an excuse for now following them. Make sure you are compliant in every area to avoid real consequences down the road. You can learn more about these disclosures by visiting the California Association of Realtors website.


If you were surprised by any of the above disclosures, or are unsure what to do with this information, you’re not alone! It can be complicated to navigate the world of being a landlord. If you have questions about managing your property, reach out to us today here.


This article is not intended to be used as legal advice.

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