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Real estate leases in California

When people are preparing to lease property, they will most likely be presented with a lease that contains standard terms. If the lease contains clauses that are against public policy, however, those clauses will be unenforceable and treated as invalid.

Standard lease terms outline the rights of both the tenant and the landlord. The lease should include the names of the contracting parties, a description of the property to be leased, the duration of the lease and the amount and due date of the rent. Other items that should be included in the lease are the amount of any security deposit, the tenant's and landlord's responsibilities concerning maintenance, whether late fees may be assessed and in what amount, and the required termination notice.

Prohibited clauses that will be considered unenforceable include several different things. A landlord may not provide a clause in which the tenant agrees for the landlord to repossess the property in the event the tenant falls behind on the rent. Another type of unenforceable clause includes an agreement that the tenant will pay more money than ordered by the court if court litigation occurs. Landlords may also not include a provision that they can enter the property at any time without notice or that the tenant will pay for all damages to the property without a finding of fault.

Lease disputes may sometimes arise. Although a lease does not have to be memorialized in writing, it is easier to enforce if its terms are explicitly written out. In the event a landlord's lease contains unenforceable clauses, the tenant may want to meet with a business law attorney who accepts real estate cases. An attorney may help by reviewing the agreement and providing advice regarding its enforceability. He or she may litigate on behalf of his or her client to reach a resolution to the dispute.

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