One of the main tenets of the California Constitution is the right to pursue and obtain privacy. Although there's no specific California confidentiality law designed for tenants, landlords, real estate professionals and property management companies are subject to California's privacy laws and must safeguard your personal information.
General Privacy Laws
California maintains a number of general privacy laws that requires your landlord to keep your personal information confidential and to maintain it responsibly. Protections include:
Your personal and financial information must be kept private and secure. California Civil Code section 1798.81.5 requires businesses
-- like property management companies, rental operations and real estate companies -- to safeguard your name, Social Security number, driver's license number, state identification number and financial account numbers. Any third parties your landlord deals with must do the same.
- Your landlord must dispose of your personal and financial information in a responsible manner. California Civil Code sections 1798.80 - 1798.81 and 1798.84 require businesses to shred, modify or erase personal information when disposing of customer records.
- If you wish, your personal information can't be shared for marketing purposes. California Civil Code 1798.83-1798.84 requires companies to allow clients to opt out of marketing information if they ask to do so.
Publication of Private Facts
California law prohibits any individual from publicly disclosing private facts about another person. The Digital Media Law Project explains that in California, private facts refer to personal information that wasn't in the past revealed to the public, doesn't concern the public and would offend a reasonable person through publication.
A landlord or property management agency revealing information about your medical issues, sexual orientation or financial situation could constitute publicly disclosing private facts.
The Digital Media Law Project also notes that to win a publication of private facts claim, you must prove that your landlord or property management company publicly disclosed private facts "with reckless disregard for the fact that reasonable men would find the invasion highly offensive."