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What Is a California Month-to-Month Lease Agreement?

A California month-to-month lease is a short-term lease agreement between the landlord and tenant. A month-to-month rental agreement renews at the beginning of each month. If the month-to-month tenancy arrangement works well between the parties, they may decide to indefinite the end date.

A month-to-month agreement must comply with California landlord-tenant laws. Also, this type of rental agreement should include all of the exact terms of the lease found in a fixed-term residential lease agreement, including:

  • The amount of the monthly rent and when rent payments are due
  • The amount of the late fee
  • The amount of the security deposit
  • Rent increases
  • Whether subletting the rental property is allowed
  • The occupancy information for the rental property
  • The parking policy
  • The pet policy
  • The notice period for lease termination for move out
  • How to deliver a written notice
  • Eviction information

What Laws Apply to California Month-to-Month Lease Agreements?

Many California landlord-tenant laws govern month-to-month lease agreements. They are governed both at the state law level and at the city level. At the state law level:

  • Cal. Civ. Code §§ 789.3; 790 to 793; 827; 1925 to 1934; 1940 to 1954.05; 1954.50 to 1954.605; 1961 to 1995.340; 2079.10a; 2924.85
  • Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 25400.28; 26147 to 26148
  • Cal. Bus & Prof. Code § 8538
  • Cal. Govt Code § 8589.45

You may find that it is much easier to access the California Tenants Guide, which is designed for landlords and tenants. It is a 121 page PDF guide provided for free by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Under California landlord-tenant laws, the amount that a landlord may charge as a security deposit depends on whether rental real estate is furnished. If the rental property is not furnished, the security deposit may not exceed more than two times the monthly rent. If the rental unit is furnished, the landlord may charge a security deposit of no more than three times the monthly rent. The landlord must return the security deposit within 21 days of moving out. The landlord may keep some or all of the security deposit to fix damages to the rental property that exceed normal wear and tear, the cost of cleaning the rental real estate, and nonpayment of rent. The amount of the security deposit kept by the landlord must be reasonable and necessary. The landlord must provide the renter with an itemized statement of deductions unless the repairs cost less than $126 or the tenant waived their right to receive receipts.

California law can be complex. In addition to understanding the various state laws, Landlords and property managers must understand federal law and the city ordinances that affect leases that run on a month-to-month basis. It is helpful for property owners to get legal advice to understand how to give proper notice before entering into rental lease agreements.

Terminating a California Month-to-Month Lease Agreement?

Under CC 1946, the notice period for a lease termination of a California month-to-month lease is 30 days before the lease renews.

Download a PDF or Word Template

California Month to Month Lease Agreement

California Lease Agreement

California Rental Application

California Rent Receipt