Landlord - Tenant Disputes

The Attorney General's role in "Landlord-Tenant" disputes is limited. We are not authorized by law to provide legal advice or private legal services to individual citizens. We can, however, offer you general information which may help you to help yourself.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs offers a Guide to Residential Tenants´ and Landlords´ Rights which covers various topics including when a landlord can force a tenant to move, how many days' notice a tenant has to give a landlord before moving out, and what tenants should do when their rental property needs repairs.

The California Courts’ webpage also provides information on landlord/tenant issues, including information about evictions, foreclosures, rent control, security deposits and legal service programs that are available to help you.

For legal help with a housing or eviction matter:

  • See LawHelpCA and the State Bar for a list of legal aid programs as well as other free or low-cost resources in your area.
  • See Tenants Together, California’s statewide renters' rights organization for information about tenant issues. It also provides a local resource directory.
  • Find help from your local county court.
  • Read about Mediation & Settlement in Eviction Cases for information about resolving your case out of court.
  • The Department of Fair Employment and Housing receives and investigates complaints related to housing discrimination.
  • If your complaint relates to health or safety of tenants, contact your local health department or building and code enforcement department. The name, address and telephone number will be found in your local telephone book under city or county government. You can also enter your city or county name and “code enforcement” in an internet search engine.

If you feel your grievance merits legal action, we may wish to speak with a private attorney to discuss the merits of your case. The State Bar has useful information on finding a lawyer.

For most disputes involving $10,000 or less, you have the option of using the small claims court system. In small claims actions, individuals are responsible for explaining their positions to judges without being represented by an attorney. Individuals are also responsible for producing witnesses or documents which they feel are necessary to support their positions. For more information on this procedure, check with your small claims court, which is usually located in your county courthouse or go to the California Courts website.