Rent And Eviction Controls

There has been a growing trend in California of cities enacting local ordinances restricting rent increases, limiting the grounds for eviction and otherwise regulating the landlord-tenant relationship. In many cases, these ordinances impose additional disclosure, notice and reporting obligations on landlords and add additional procedural requirements for rent increases and evictions. We assist our clients in complying with these ordinances.

Difference Between Rent Control and Eviction Control

The term “rent control” is often used to refer to both rent control ordinances and eviction control ordinances. However, there is a distinction. Rent control ordinances limit the amount of rent that can be charged by the landlord. Eviction control ordinances limit the permissible grounds for eviction.

Cities with Rent and/or Eviction Control Ordinances

Cities with rent and/or eviction control ordinances include the following: Berkeley, Beverly Hills, East Palo Alto, Glendale, Hayward, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, Maywood, Oakland, Palm Springs, Richmond, Ridgecrest, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Union City and West Hollywood.

Exemptions

Under California law (Costa-Hawkins), newly-constructed housing (whether multifamily or single family) issued a certificate of occupancy after February 1, 1995 is permanently exempt from any rental rate controls. (Civil Code § 1954.52(a)(1) & (2)) Likewise, tenancies in a single-family home, condominium, townhouse, stock cooperative or any unit that could be sold or transferred separately are generally exempt from any rental rate controls. (Civil Code § 1954.52(a)(3)) Also, cities with rent and/or eviction control ordinances often contain other exemptions. As such, it is important to review both state and local law to determine whether a rental unit is subject to a rent or eviction control ordinance.

Good Cause For Eviction

For properties subject to an eviction control ordinance, the landlord may only terminate the tenancy if the landlord has good cause as defined by the ordinance. Common examples of good cause include: (1) non-payment of rent, (2) violation of the rental agreement or lease, (3) unreasonable interference with the comfort, safety or enjoyment of other tenants, or damaging the rental unit or the property, (4) using the rental unit or the common areas of the property for an illegal purpose, (5) refusal to renew a lease or rental agreement of like terms and conditions, (6) refusing the landlord reasonable access to the rental unit for repairs, (7) the person in possession of the rental unit at the end of a lease term is a subtenant not approved by the landlord, (8) the landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for use and occupancy by the landlord, the landlord’s relative or a resident manager, (9) the landlord seeks to recover possession to permanently remove the unit from the housing market, (10) the landlord seeks to recover possession so as to undertake substantial renovation work, and (11) the landlord the landlord seeks possession to comply with a government agency’s order.

Special Eviction Requirements

The landlord usually has to comply with eviction control notice requirements, over and above those mandated by statute and other local law. These requirements may include serving a warning notice (i.e. notice to cease) before terminating the tenancy, including special language in an eviction notice and/or eviction complaint, and/or filing a copy of the notice with the local rent board. A failure to comply may require the landlord to start the process over.

Relocation Assistance

In certain jurisdictions, the landlord may be required to pay the tenant relocation assistance (money) if the tenant was not at fault for the eviction (i.e. owner-occupancy eviction)