California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019, A New Step in Rent Control
Understanding the latest in California statewide rent control laws and how they affect you
This article will help clarify and explain the provisions in AB 1482 (Tenant Protection Act), how it works and how it affects tenants. Since 2019, California has extended limits on landlords’ ability to impose rent increases and controls on evictions to include places where they don’t already exist. Most cities and counties in the state already have rent and eviction control laws that go beyond the state’s protections. For those 47 cities and counties, landlords are still required to adhere to the strictest laws that protect the tenant.
The Tenant Protection Act covers three categories that are relevant to tenants and landlords.
These categories include:
Civil Code §1947.12 creates Rent Cap at 5% + the regional percentage change in cost of living (CPI) annually to a maximum of 10% from the lowest “gross rent” in the preceding 12 months applied to increases on or after March 15, 2019. The landlord may only impose a maximum of 2 rent increases during the 12 month Cap period. Civil Code §1947.12 has a vacancy decontrol provision such that the rent cap does not apply to the initial rental rate for a new tenancy where there are no previous tenants in the unit. Cal. Civ. Code § 1947.12(c) (2022) applies in cases of sub-tenancy and states rent paid by the tenant plus the rent paid by the subtenant cannot exceed the amount of rent allowable under the Protection Act.
Civil Code §1946.2 establishes Just Cause for termination of tenancies after 12 months. The caveat is if additional adult tenants are added to the lease before an existing tenant has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months, then the just cause rules only apply if either of the following are satisfied:
(1) All of the tenants have occupied the property for 12 months or more.
(2) One or more tenants have occupied the property for 24 months or more.
In cases where there is a curable just cause reason, the landlord must give a notice of violation to the tenant and an opportunity to cure (a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or a Notice to Perform Covenant or Quit). If at that point the tenant still fails to cure, the tenant can then be served with a 3–Day Notice to Quit without providing an opportunity to cure.
Exclusions and Exemptions exist for rent cap in certain categories of units and in certain Just Cause cases
In some cases, exemptions and exceptions exist for both Rent Control and Just Cause. The “Just Cause” aspect is broken into both “at fault” and “no fault” and there are further provisions the landlord must provide the tenants with when evicting.
“At Fault” includes the following:
(A) Default in the payment of rent.
(B) A breach of a material term of the lease.
(C) Nuisance activity.
(E) 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 refused to sign a written lease extension or renewal.
(F) Criminal activity.
(G) Assigning or subletting in violation of the lease.
(H) The tenant’s refusal to allow the owner to enter the property.
(I) Using the premises for an unlawful purpose.
(J) The employee, agent, or licensee’s failure to vacate after termination.
(K) When the tenant fails to deliver possession after the tenant has given their written notice to vacate or makes a written offer to surrender that is accepted in writing by the landlord.
Importantly, “No-Fault” includes the following:
A) Intent to occupy the property by the owner or their spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents or grandparent. Leases entered on or after July 1, 2020 must specifically allow this.
(B) Withdrawal of the property from the rental market.
(C) The owner complying with any of the following:
(i) A governmental or court order relating to habitability that necessitates vacating the property.
(ii) A governmental or court order to vacate the property.
(iii) A local ordinance that necessitates vacating the property.
(D) Intent to demolish or to substantially remodel (involving heavy structural or safety issues) the residential property.
Relocation Provision: In these “no fault” cases, the landlord must provide relocation assistance by paying the tenant one month’s rent, or by waiving in writing the tenant’s obligation to pay the last month’s rent before it becomes due.
Just Cause also does not include the following types of housing:
(1) Transient and tourist hotel occupancy.
(2) Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed residential care facility for the elderly, or an adult residential facility.
(3) School dormitories.
(4) Housing accommodations in which the tenant and owner share bathroom or kitchen facilities and the owner who maintains their principal residence at the property.
(5) Single-family owner-occupied residences where the owner doesn’t rent more than two units in the residence.
(6) A duplex in which the owner occupied one of the units as the owner’s principal place of residence.
(7) Where a certificate of occupancy was given within the previous 15 years.
(8) Property that is separately alienable from the title (a standalone property that can be sold on its own). The exemption doesn’t apply where the owner is not a REIT, a corporation, or a limited liability company. The tenants must be provided written notice on the lease letting them know about this exemption.
(9) Affordable Housing.
If you have any more questions or believe you have a case regarding tenant protection, it would be advisable to reach out to our offices.
Aziz Yellin LLP
This article is merely informational and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Use of any information from this article is for general information only and does not represent personal legal or tax advice, either express or implied. Readers are encouraged to consult Aziz Legal, or another attorney, for any specific legal matters.