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What landlords should know about in-home preschools or child cares in California

Dear California Landlord,

This letter is to inform you of the rights of an individual looking to start a family child care home (an in-home daycare or preschool) in their rented property.

Here are some facts for your reference:

  • Family child care homes are limited to either 8 or 14 children depending on whether they are under a small or large license. Children are supervised for less than 24 hours a day while parents or guardians are away. Family child care homes are regulated by the California Child Care Licensing Program.
  • You cannot evict a tenant for starting a family care home in a property they rent from you. You also cannot increase their rent drastically from year to year or increase it because they have started a family child care home. Doing do may violate the Fair Housing and Employment Act and invite a potential lawsuit. All rent increases must be within the local law.
  • You may ask for an increased security deposit but the amount must not exceed the maximum allowed under law. The maximum security deposit for unfurnished residences is equal to 2 months’ rent and the maximum for furnished residences is equal to 3 months’ rent. These amounts are in addition to payment of the first month of rent. See Section D of the California Health and Safety Code Section 1597.40 and Section C of California Civil Code Section 1950.5.
  • Tenants starting family child care homes must either (1) maintain liability insurance coverage, or (2) post a bond, or (3) in lieu of the insurance or bond, keep a file of parent affidavits informing the parent that you do not have liability coverage. They do not have to have liability insurance. They are only required to choose one of the three options. If they purchase liability insurance, and live in a rental unit or in a home covered by an association or covenant agreement, they can name the landlord or association as an additional insured on the policy. The law says that adding you as an additional insured party is only allowed if the addition does not result in a cancellation or non-renewal of the policy and if there is any additional premium that you pay the extra cost. For more information, see California Health and Safety Code Section 1597.531 and page 8 of the CDSS Tenant Rights.
  • The above-mentioned laws still apply even if the tenant lives in Section 8 or HUD supported housing. See page 6 of the CDSS Tenant Rights.
  • If you are worried about wear and tear on the property, understand that family child care directors have a strong incentive to keep areas neat and clean to attract families and adhere to licensing requirements. The Licensing Board spot-checks homes to be sure they are safe and well-maintained.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to email us at [email protected]

The Wonderschool Team


Family Child Care Tenant Rights from the Community Care Licensing Division

Know the Law About Family Child Care Homes in California Rental Property – For Landlords from the Child Care Law Center


Michelle is a freelance writer and content marketing strategist, and content creator for Wonderschool. When she taught preschool in Thailand, her students' favorite word in English was "Octopus!"