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Legal Information: California

Housing Laws

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Updated: 
April 2, 2020

Who does this law protect?

You could be protected under this law if:

  1. you are a tenant in a rental unit; and
  2. you or a member of your household are a victim of:
  • domestic violence;
  • sexual assault;
  • stalking;
  • human trafficking; or
  • elder or dependent adult abuse.1

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(a)

Can a landlord refuse to renew my lease or evict me because I am a victim?

If you are protected by this law, your landlord cannot end your lease or refuse to renew your lease if both of the following are true:

  1. the abuse you experienced has been properly documented; and
  2. the person identified as the abuser in your documentation is not a tenant of the same unit as the victim of abuse.1

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(a)

What documentation do I need to show my landlord to prove that I am a victim of abuse?

You can use any of the following documentation as proof that you or a member of your household are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult:

  • a temporary restraining order, emergency protective order, or protective order for domestic violence, civil harassment, or elder or dependent adult abuse that was issued during the last 180 days that protects you or your household member from abuse;
  • a copy of a written report issued within the past 180 days from a peace officer working in his/her official capacity for a state or local law enforcement agency that says that you or a member of your household are a victim of abuse; or
  • documentation from a “qualified third party” working in his/her professional capacity that states that you or a household member is looking for help for physical or mental injuries that resulted from an act of abuse.1

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B), (a)(1)(C)

Who is considered a qualified third party? What type of documentation do I need from a qualified third party?

A qualified third party is a:

  • health practitioner;
  • domestic violence counselor;
  • sexual assault counselor; or
  • human trafficking caseoworker.1

If a qualified third party is providing you with documentation to show your landlord, the third party should include information showing that you are getting or asking for help for physical or mental injuries or abuse resulting from an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse. The law includes a template that the third party can use when creating a document for you.2

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(e)(3)
2 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(a)(1)(B), (a)(1)(D)

Can my landlord ever evict me if I am a victim of abuse?

This law does not stop a landlord from evicting you for a valid, legal reason. This law keeps a landlord from evicting you because you are a victim of abuse.1 However, your landlord can end your lease or refuse to renew your lease if:

  1. after you show proper documentation that you are a victim of abuse, you still allow the abuser to visit the property or the landlord reasonably believes that the presence of the abuser is a physical threat to other tenants, guests, or other people invited to the property; and
  2. your landlord gave you three days’ notice to fix the issue with the abuser coming to your property or threatening others but it still continues to happen.2

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(b)(1), (b)(2)

Can my landlord tell others about my situation?

Your landlord cannot share information about your situation with others unless:

  • you agree in writing that your information can be disclosed; or
  • the law or a court order requires your landlord to share your information.1

However, your landlord is allowed to speak to the qualified third party who provides your documentation to verify the information.2

1 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(d)(1)
2 Cal.Civ.Code § 1161.3(d)(2)