Newly Enacted Laws Provide Additional Renter Protection
According to a recent study, there are more renters in California than any state - 5.73 million households, or 13.6 percent of the nation’s 42 million rental homes. Given this data, the Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482), which passed in 2019, created significant new protections for tenants. However, Governor Newsom recently signed several new laws with reference to California renters - Assembly Bill 12, which will prohibit landlords from charging more than one month’s rent as a security deposit; Senate Bill 567 tightens current tenant regulations ensuring that landlords do not illegally evict tenants.
An overview of the Tenant Protection Act is provided below but for additional resource see, Know Your Housing Rights Fact Sheet - View in English (PDF) or California Tenants Guide
The Tenant Protection Act caps rent increases for most tenants in California. Overall, landlords cannot raise rent more than 10% total or 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living – whichever is lower – over a 12-month period. If the tenants of a unit move out and new tenants move in, the landlord may establish the initial rent to charge. (Civ. Code § 1947.12.). Notably, these limitations should be construed with local rent control laws that further restrict how much a landlord can increase rent annually.
The Tenant Protection Act also creates new statewide eviction protections for most tenants who have been living in their units for at least a year. The law sets out two kinds of evictions: "at fault" evictions (where the landlord moves to evict the tenant where the tenant is allegedly “at fault”) and "no-fault" evictions (where the landlord moves to evict the tenant through “no fault” of the tenant).
“At fault” evictions include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Breach of a material term of the lease
- Nuisance, waste, or using the unit for unlawful purposes
- Criminal activity on the premises or criminal activity off the premises directed at the owner or agent
- Refusal to allow lawful entry
- Refusal to execute a new lease containing similar terms
“No fault” evictions include:
- Owner move-in
- Intent to demolish or substantially remodel the unit
- Withdrawal of the unit from the rental market
- The owner complying with a government order or local law that requires the tenant to leave
Landlords can only evict a tenant for one of the reasons listed above, see Civ. Code § 1946.2.
The Tenant Protection Act applies to ALL rental units in the state except:
- Single-family homes not owned or controlled by a corporation (the Act does apply to single-family homes owned or controlled by a corporation)
- Units covered by a local rent control ordinance that is more protective than the Tenant Protection Act
- Units constructed in the past 15 years (this is a rolling timeline, so tenants will gain protection once their building turns 15)
- Mobile homes that are not owned and offered for rent by the owner or manager of a mobile home park
- Duplexes where the owner is living in one of the units at the time the tenant moves into the other unit, but only as long as the owner continues to live there
- Housing that is restricted as affordable housing by deed, government agency agreement, or other recorded document, or that is subject to an agreement that provides housing subsidies for affordable housing
This article is for educational purposes only.