I have recently come across some older leases and rental agreements that have provided that jury trials are prohibited. Generally these clauses in the lease or rental agreement read that a tenant cannot request a jury trial in any lawsuit between the landlord and tenant.

These clauses are unenforceable in California. Although the two parties – the landlord and tenant – agreed to such a provision, a California court will not enforce it. Jury trials for unlawful detainers, or evictions, are becoming more common. I have recently come across many landlords who believe a clause prohibiting jury trials would be enforceable; however, as a right, a tenant can require a jury trial for an unlawful detainer, or eviction if done within the required time and manner as required by the courts.

It is important that a lease or rental agreement have clauses that are enforceable under the law. As laws change, so must leases and rental agreements. It is important that a lease or rental agreement that a landlord uses be current to the law. A landlord can also amend a lease or rental agreement to keep it current if the unit is in a jurisdiction not controlled by rent control.

Attorney Anthony Marinaccio drafts leases and rental agreements for residential and commercial properties. Please contact Mr. Marinaccio at (818) 839-5220.