Should You Use a California Association of Realtors Residential Lease Agreement?

California Association of Realtors Residential Lease Agreement Deciphered

Maintaining a smooth landlord-tenant relationship is one of the central pillars of a successful property lease. The parties can easily achieve this and protect their rights by signing a lease agreement. Many Californians opt for the version made by the California Association of Realtors (CAR), a real estate institution based in Los Angeles.

If you aren’t familiar with the CAR residential lease agreement, read our article and get acquainted with the essentials of this form. DoNotPay offers some practical tips on handling your California lease agreement and other legal documents in a matter of minutes.

What Is a CAR Residential Lease Agreement?

The CAR residential lease agreement is a specific form this institution offers to landlords and tenants as an alternative to a standard lease agreement

The CAR contract template contains a ready-made list of all recommended and obligatory provisions a lease agreement should cover. Besides that, it stands out from other California lease agreement templates because it:

  • Has a favorable structure that explains each section in detail
  • Is revised by lawyers 
  • Gets updated regularly
  • Aligns with the landlord and tenant rules proposed by the Civil Code of California Law

Disadvantages of a CAR Lease Agreement

Many realtors use the lease agreement made by CAR, but not all of them choose this version. This contract can also only be used in California—it will be useless for you if you live in another state.

The contract form looks comprehensive, but the parties may spend a lot of time filling it out as it’s 22 pages long. This can be too much if you have only a few terms to establish. Another disadvantage is that modifications are limited to the blank spaces only—you cannot add your own clauses.

Does a CAR Lease Agreement Require Notarization?

Having a lease contract notarized isn’t mandatory in California, regardless of the form the parties are using. The agreement becomes enforceable when all the parties involved accept the proposed rules and sign it. You can have your signatures validated for extra security, but there are no state laws that impose this.

What Does a CAR Residential Lease Agreement Cover?

The table below shows the contents of the CAR lease agreement:

General information
  • Names of the landlord and the tenants
  • Physical addresses of the parties
  • Contact details
  • Signatures of all parties involved
  • Date of signing
Lease details
  • Start and end date of the lease
  • Property description
  • List of available premises
  • Condition of the premises, including available furniture, appliances, landscaping, alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Neighborhood conditions
  • Parking and storage
  • Responsibilities regarding utility payments
  • Availability of gas meters, electric meters, and water submeters
  • Payment amount, due date, and method
  • Late charge and returned checks
Security deposit
  • Amount
  • What the tenant can use a security deposit for
  • Returns
Additional clauses
  • Move-in costs
  • Repairs and alterations
  • Maintenance and reporting
  • Pet and smoking policy
  • Keys and locks
  • Landlord’s right to enter the property
  • Sublease option
  • Photographs, signs, and advertising
  • Joint and individual responsibilities and obligations
  • Duties upon vacating premises
  • Breaches and termination
  • Insurance and potential damage

The revised versions of the California Association of Realtors lease agreement from 2018 and 2019 propose two new mandatory disclosures:

  1. Bed Bug Addendum
  2. Tenant Flood Hazard Disclosure

How To Get the Best out of Your Contracts With DoNotPay

If you decide to write a California lease agreement yourself, you may face a real challenge due to specific requirements. When drawing it up, you should consider:

  • Current state laws
  • Your writing style and potential mistakes
  • All mandatory and recommended disclosures

Attorneys can easily compose a professional lease agreement, but most people can’t afford their assistance. Luckily, this is not the only option you have! 

DoNotPay offers a user-friendly tool that lets you choose the desired document template and customize it according to your needs. Tell us what details you want to add to your contract, and watch us generate it in a heartbeat!

that is universal and applicable in any state. We can also generate:

How To Draft Your Residential Lease Agreement With DoNotPay

Here’s how you can use our service:

  1. and log in to your account
  2. Enter the name of the template in the search field
  3. Respond to our chatbot’s questions to help us structure your contract

Once we process your information and create your contract, you can get it notarized within the same app if you want to add legal weight to it. 

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