Cities beef up tenant protections

Even ritzy Beverly Hills jumps on renter bandwagon

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Back when tenant life seemed simpler – rents were lower, parking was easier, and lead paint was still considered a great invention – landlord-tenant laws were pretty basic. Today, rents are taking a larger bite from income, parking spaces are harder to come by, and lead paint has been banned. In response, some cities have crafted new laws to help tenant consumers know and understand their rights. The City of Beverly Hills, Calif., recently enacted some lustrous new tenant rights laws, which provide some bright ideas worth plugging into. According to Bart Swanson, code enforcement manager for Beverly Hills, the new laws were designed "to let tenants know upfront what their statutory rights are before legally obligating themselves." The new law has several features, starting with requiring landlords to provide a packet of written information to the prospective tenant at least 24 hours before even signing a lease or rental agreement. The required packet covers a variety o...