California law heavily favors residential tenants, but when it comes to commercial tenants, few legal protections exist. If you are one of the many renters of commercial space in the Golden State, it is important that you understand what rights you do have so that you can protect yourself should issues with the landlord arise.

According to SFGate, residential tenants in California have the right to a livable space that is free of hazards and that includes working lights, electricity, plumbing and heating. Commercial tenants, on the other hand, have no such rights. Your landlord has no obligation to make repairs unless the lease specifically says he or she will. Even then, he or she does not have to make the repairs promptly, and you cannot hold him or her accountable for any liability associated with your business.

Per California law, residential landlords cannot raise the rent on tenants unless they give tenants a 30- to 60-day advance notice. This is true even with month-to-month rental agreements. Again, commercial tenants do not have that protection. Your landlord can raise the rent on you at any time, unless the lease has stipulations saying otherwise.

Your rights are minimal as a commercial tenant. For this reason, SFGate recommends writing whatever rights you do want into the lease. Go over the lease carefully, and have a knowledgeable third party, such as a lawyer or real-estate advisor, review it. If you want to enjoy certain protections, make sure to write them into the lease, as verbal agreements are difficult to enforce.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.

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