A lease is a legally binding contract for a specific amount of time, usually for one year. It should be read carefully and fully understood before signing. Once you sign, you must abide by the conditions for the whole length of the lease. If you do not understand the language in the lease, please visit the International Education Counseling House and a staff member will be happy to explain it to you. Please keep in mind that we do not have an attorney on staff; for specific legal questions, we recommend you contact one of the agencies below.

State laws address the following issues:

  • Lease agreements

  • Living conditions

  • Responsibilities for repairs and maintenance

  • Security deposits

  • Privacy

  • Discrimination

  • Procedures for vacating a rental unit

  • Retaliatory evictions

Questions on state laws may be directed to:

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs

500 West Temple Street, Room B96
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (800) 593-8222; (213) 974-1452
Fax: (213) 687-1137
Email: info@dca.lacounty.gov
Website: http://dca.lacounty.gov/

To receive a copy of the Landlord/Tenant Handbook, contact:

Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department

1200 West 7th Street, 1st Floor
Los Angeles 90017
Tel: (866) 557-7368
Website: http://lahd.lacity.org/

Santa Monica Consumer Protection

Fair Housing & Public Rights Unit
1685 Main Street, Third Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8336
Email: consumer.mailbox@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/cpu/

Web sites to visit for information about laws and regulations:

Find Law: http://www.findlaw.com
NOLO: http://www.nolo.com
Rental Housing: http://www.rental-housing.com

Additional Santa Monica Agencies

Santa Monica Building & Safety

1685 Main Street, #111
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8355
Fax: (310) 396-6473
Email: planning@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/buildingandsafety/

Santa Monica City Clerk

1685 Main Street, #102
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8211
Fax: (310) 394-2962
Email: clerk@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/clerk/

Santa Monica City Council

1685 Main Street, #209
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8201
Fax: (310) 458-1621
Email: council@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/council/

Santa Monica Community Services

1685 Main Street, #210
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8310
Email: ccs@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/ccs/

Santa Monica City Attorney

1725 Main Street, #310
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8336
Fax: (310) 395-6727
Email: attorney@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/departments/cao/

Santa Monica Rent Control

1685 Main Street, #202
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 458-8751
Email: rentcontrol@smgov.net
Website: http://www.smgov.net/rentcontrol/