Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Landlord's Responsibilities

What to Expect from a Landlord

You have the right to know what is expected of a landlord, and the limitations or requirements that apply to them that are set forth by the by the state.


The landlord has a legal responsibility to maintain the property so that it is habitable for you, the tenant. This means that they are responsible for keeping the rental unit compliant with current health and building codes. However, it is not the landlord’s responsibility to make any repairs that were directly caused by you or your guests.

Habitable conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection
  • Working plumbing, gas, and heating facilities
  • Electric system in good working order
  • Clean and sanitary building and grounds
  • Adequate trash receptacles
  • Undamaged floors, stairways, and railings

The landlord may also be required to make additional, less serious repairs, as noted by the rental agreement. This includes repairs made to appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, or washing machines. Always check with your landlord if you are unsure whether a repair is your responsibility or your landlord’s.

Entering the Unit

According to California law, a landlord may enter a rental unit in the following circumstances:

  • In an emergency
  • When the tenant has moved out or abandoned the rental unit
  • To make repairs, as agreed-upon with the tenant
  • To show the unit to prospective tenants or to workers who are to perform work on the unit
  • Under a court order
  • To inspect the installation of a waterbed

The landlord must also provide written advance notice, unless you are present at the time of entry and give verbal permission. “Advance” notice is generally agreed to be approximately 24 hours before the time of entry.


With a month-to-month lease, a landlord can terminate the agreement with 30- or 60-days advance written notice to the tenant. Although such notice often presents a reason for the termination of tenancy, the landlord is not required to state one.

The landlord may also issue a 3-day termination notice under the following circumstances:

  • If you failed to pay rent
  • If you violated any part of the lease
  • If you have interfered with and been a nuisance to other tenants
  • If you committed domestic violence or sexual assault against another tenant
  • If you used the property for illegal purposes

Under these circumstances, if the problem is fixable, such as not paying rent, the landlord must give you an option to correct the problem within the three-day period. However, if the problem is not fixable, the landlord can simply ask you to leave the property after three days.

Resolving Problems with a Landlord

Communication is the most important aspect in dealing with your landlord. If you ever have any questions or problems regarding the property, it is best to talk to your landlord first to see if they are able to correct the problem. Similarly, your landlord is expected to speak with you first if they have any issues with you or the apartment. If your landlord does not address your concerns after you have spoken with them, it is advisable to write a letter or e-mail describing the problem, its effect on you, how long the problem has existed, what you have done to try to correct the problem, and what you would like the landlord to do. If the landlord still does not respond to your letter or e-mail, you may need to contact a third party.

If your landlord is not addressing your concerns, we recommend speaking with someone in the Office of Student Services. We are happy to assist you with any serious issues you may have with your landlord or housing situation by providing you with resources you need to resolve the issue.