What is the Tenant Protection Act?
The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 took effect on January 1, 2020. Rent control has been a common feature in many major California cities and municipalities for decades. However, for the first time, the state is placing a limit on the annual amount that landlords may raise the rent on their properties. In addition placing limits on rent hikes, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 also puts in place just cause requirements for evictions within properties that are protected under this law.
How Much Can You Raise the Rent Under the New Statewide Rent Control Laws?
Under the new California statewide rent control laws, if the property is protected under the act, a landlord may only raise the rent by 5% per year, plus the increase in the consumer price index in your area. The landlord may only raise the rent twice in order to achieve the maximum increase permissible under the Tenant Protection Act.
What Properties Are Exempt From the Tenant Protection Act of 2019?
The following types of properties are exempt from the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 and are NOT subject to state wide rent control nor just cause requirements for eviction:
- Any property subject to a local rent control ordinance that is deemed to be more restrictive than statewide rent control by law.
- Any property built within the last 15 years.
- If your property was built 14 years ago, it will become subject to the Tenant Protection Act next year unless it falls under another one of the other exceptions below.
- Any property which a tenant has lawfully and continuously occupied for less than a year.
- If your tenants have not lived at the property for more than a year, then your property is not subject to statewide rent control nor just cause requirements for eviction.
- Any property set out as affordable housing or subject to an agreement that provides housing subsidies.
- For example, if your unit is restricted to low income tenant by government regulation or if your tenant’s rent is subsidized under a Section 8 housing program, then your property is not subject to statewide rent control.
- Any property in which the tenant is sharing bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner
- If you are merely renting out a room in your home, then your property is not subject to statewide rent control protections
- Any property that is a single-family owner-occupied home, so long as the owner does not rent out two or more units or bedrooms.
- If you are renting out 1-2 accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) on the property in which you live, your property is not subject to statewide rent control.
- If you are renting out one bedroom with a kitchen and its own bathroom within a single family home, you are not subject to the tenant protection act,
- Any property that is used a hotel or for transient/temporary occupation AND that is or would be subject to tax under Section 7280 of the Revenue and Taxation Code
- Any property that is licensed for and is being used as a hospital or for elder care
- Any housing accommodations within religious facilities
- Any properties being used a dormitories for a school
The above list is not exclusive. If you have any questions about whether your property is subject to statewide rent control and just cause eviction requirements, we recommend you call our offices and speak with an attorney immediately.
Are Single Family Residences or Condominiums Subject to Statewide Rent Control?
The Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act does not allow for local government to effectuate rent caps on single family residences or condominiums. However, it does NOT bar the state from imposing such rent caps.
If you are renting out a single family residence or condominium, your property may be subject to statewide rent control and just cause eviction requirements.
A single family residence or a condominium is subject to the Tenant Protection Act, without exception, if the property in question is owned by:
- A real estate investment trust
- A corporation, OR
- A limited liability company in which at least one owner is a corporation
If your property is not owned by one of the above type of entities, then it still may be subject to the Tenant Protection Act if you have not provided the proper type of statutory notice to your tenants. This notice requires specific stautory language and the requirements as to how it may be provided to the tenant varies based on when the lease was entered into.
For all leases entered into before July of 2020, the landlord may provide notice that the property is exempt from statewide rent control within the lease agreement, but it not required. If your lease begin before July of 2020, you may provide your tenant with notice at any time by merely serving a notice, which can be prepared by our offices.
For all leases entered into after July of 2020, the statutory notice described above must be provided within the lease agreement. If it is not, then your single family residence or condominium is subject to statewide rent control unless it falls within one of the other exceptions prescribed by law.
We highly recommend calling our offices if you intend to serve such a notice or incorporate such notice within a new lease agreement. The language required in order for such notice to be effective is extremely specific and if any error is made, your property may inadvertently become subject to statewide rent control.
What Are “Just Cause” Eviction Requirements and How Do They Affect Your Rights As A Landlord?
Just cause eviction laws typically enumerate a list of conditions that are permitted to form the basis for an eviction. Evictions are, then, not permitted for any reason not listed. In some jurisdictions, even when a lease ends, tenants can only be evicted based on the enumerated criteria. In this situation, tenants are in effect provided with the right to renew their lease or to remain in their unit on a month-to-month tenancy, as long as one of the bases for eviction is not present. When these policies apply, a landlord must notify a tenant of the basis for the eviction and other procedural requirements often apply. Some jurisdictions impose penalties on landlords that fail to comply with just cause eviction procedures.
How Can I Evict My Tenant Under Statewide Rent Control Laws? What Are The “Just Cause” Evictions Permitted Under the Tenant Protection Act?
There are two types of just cause, as defined by the Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
The first type of just cause laid out under the new statewide rent control law is at-fault just cause, meaning that you are evicting your tenant for doing something wrong. Such at-fault just causes include, but are not limited to:
- Non-payment of rent
- Breach of the any provision within the lease agreement
- Maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance
- Committing waste
- The tenant had a written lease that terminated on or after January 1, 2020 and after a written request or demand from the owner, the tenant has refused to execute a written extension or renewal of the lease for an additional term of similar duration with similar provisions, provided that those terms do not violate this section or any other provision of law.
- Criminal activity by the tenant on the residential real property
- Assigning or subletting the premises in violation of the tenant’s lease
- The tenant’s refusal to allow the owner to enter the residential real property
- The property is being used for an unlawful purpose (e.g. the tenant running a restaurant out of a house contrary to local zoning laws)
- The tenant was an employee, such as a property manager, who failed to vacate upon termination of their employment
- The tenant fails to deliver possession of the residential real property after providing the owner written notice of their intent to vacate
The second type of at-fault just cause laid out under the new statewide rent control laws is no-fault just cause. Under the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, if a landlord is evicting based on no-fault just cause, the landlord must provide relocation assistance to the tenant in the form of payment equal to one month of rent. There are extremely specific requirements as to how such payment must be rendered and additional notice requirements surrounding such payments. If you plan on evicting your tenant for a no-fault just cause, we recommend you call our offices immediately so that we can assist you with this highly technical and complicated process.
No-fault just causes under the new statewide rent control laws include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The owner’s intent to withdraw the residential real property from the rental market
- The owner’s intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property.
- The owner’s intent to occupy the residential real property by the owner or their spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents.
- For leases entered into on or after July 1, 2020, such just cause only applies if the tenant agrees in writing OR if a provision of the lease allows the owner to terminate the lease if the owner, or their spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents, unilaterally decides to occupy the residential real property.
- The owner complying with any of the following:
- An order issued by a government agency or court relating to habitability that necessitates vacating the residential real property.
- An order issued by a government agency or court to vacate the residential real property.
- A local ordinance that necessitates vacating the residential real property.
- NOTE: If it is determined by any government agency or court that the tenant is at fault for the condition or conditions triggering the order or need to vacate under clause (i), the tenant shall not be entitled to relocation assistance .
*****The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. If you seek to pursue an eviction, please call our offices. We will be happy to provide legal advice and to assist you with the eviction process in any way that we can.