You may be a couple days late on making your rent payment. You may have lost hot water for the fourth time in two months, with your landlord now avoiding your phone calls. You may still be waiting on your security deposit long after you moved out of your last apartment.

Whatever the issue may be, you’re certainly not the first renter in California to wonder what your rights are when living under a landlord. Unfortunately, most tenants don’t wonder until there’s already a problem.

Ken Carlson, a California attorney who specializes in tenant-landlord law, explains that there are good landlords who respect their tenants, charge fair rent and keep long-term tenants. But there are also bad landlords who take advantage of the legal system and threaten eviction to avoid making necessary repairs.

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