You may have heard stories of landlords or their agents harassing tenants out of their homes. While no one would wish to experience harassment by our landlords or their agents, we should all be informed on how California protects tenants from harassment as well as what behavior is expected of landlords.

California Law on Harassment

California law offers many protections against landlord harassment, but some cities through their own local ordinances expand on California law to offer tenants greater protections. Whether you are protected and what remedies are available may be dependent on the city in which you reside.

Landlord Entry

California law limits a Landlord’s ability to enter a renter’s home. Except for emergencies, a landlord or agent of a landlord such as an apartment manager can enter your home without consent by providing 24-hour notice in order to:

1. Make necessary or agreed-upon repairs

2. Showcase the property to potential renters

(California Civil Code § 1954)

If these things are happening to you, it could be a sign of harassment:

  • Landlord locks you out of your home (violation of California Penal Code § 418)
  • Utilities are shut off without warning
  • Failure to make crucial repairs
  • Failure to maintain property
  • Landlord enters premises without permission
  • Use of threat or force in order to make you move out

I Think my Landlord is Harassing Me, What Can I Do?

If you think you are being harassed by your landlord, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Document the Alleged Harassment

The San Francisco Tenants’ Union recommends keeping documentation of any and all activity that you think constitutes harassment. This documentation may become evidence in the future should legal action be necessary.

  • Keep a log of every incident of harassment
  • Keep in contact with any witnesses
  • Record the harassment
  • Write a letter to the landlord asking for the activity to stop
  • Call the police if you feel threatened
  • File for a restraining order.