There are sixteen cities in California that have Rent Control laws. Rent Control is a collection of laws that puts limits on how much a landlord can raise rent and defines reasons for which the landlord can evict a tenant. The reason eviction is defined in rent control laws is because it prevents a landlord from evicting a tenant as a loophole to getting around the limits placed on how much rent can be raised. Each city has their own ordinances and these supersede state law.

Registration

Some cities require that landlords register their units with the local rent board. Failure to do so can create issues when evicting a tenant even though the landlord has a valid reason to evict the tenant.

Just Cause

Just Cause defines the reason for which a landlord can evict a tenant. Most rent controlled cities enforce just cause to some degree. In a normal month-to-month contract a landlord can give the tenant a 30 day or 60 day notice for any reason, but in a rent controlled city the tenant must have Just Cause. The most common reason is for failure to pay rent, but can also include:

Tenant refusing to give the landlord access to the property to make repairs when notice has been given.

Landlord or a relative is moving into the unit.

Remodeling – due to the ease of which this can be abused, this is severely limited as cause to evict a tenant.

Condominium conversion or Demolition – If landlord is going to permanently remove the unit from the rental market and convert to a condo or remove the unit by way of demoltion.

Violation of Rental Agreement – the violation must be serious otherwise a judge may not grant the eviction. Violation should also be in the original agreement and not an amendment.

Damage to the Premises – Tenant is causing severe damage to the unit or disturbing the neighbors.

Illegal Activity occurring on the Premises –  Serious illegal activity. Keep track of an complaints, police reports, etc.

16 Cities Enforcing Rent Control in California

Berkeley

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after 6/3/80. Owner-occupied single-family residences, and duplexes.

Registration – Required otherwise landlord cannot raise rent.

Just Cause –  Required.

 

Beverly Hills

Exempt Properties – Units built after 10/20/78. Single family residences. Rented condominium units.

Registration – Not required.

Just Cause – Required.

 

Campbell

Exempt Properties – Rental units on lots with 3 or fewer units.

Registration – Not required

Just Cause –  Not required.

Eviction – 3 Day, 90 day, and unlawful retainer procedures governed by state law.

 

East Palo Alto

Exempt Properties – Units built after 11/23/83. Units owned by landlord who own less than 4 units in the city.

Registration – Required

Just Cause –  Required. Non-payment of rent is considered Just Cause and a standard 3 Day notice to pay rent or quit can be used.

 

Fremont

Exempt Properties – None. All properties in the city offered for rent are affected.

Registration – Not required

Just Cause –  Not required.  3 Day, 30 Day, and unlawful detainer procedures fall under state law.

 

Gardena

Exempt Properties – None. Applies to all properties for rent.

Registration – Not required.

Just Cause –  Not required.

 

Hayward

Exempt Properties – Units occupied after 7/1/79. Units owned by landlords who own 4 or less units in the city.

Registration – Not required

Just Cause – Required. Non-payment of rent, intentional damage to the property, and tenant refusing agree to new rental agree after the previous agreement has expired are all valid reasons.

 

Los Angeles

Exempt Properties  – Units constructed after 10/1/78. Single family residences, except when two or more units are located on the same lot.

Registration – Required

Just Cause –  Required.

 

Los Gatos

Exempt Properties – Lots with 2 or fewer units. Single Family residences. Rented condo units.

Registration – Not required.

Just Cause –  Not required.

 

Oakland

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after 1/18/84.

Registration – Not Required.

Just Cause –  Month-to-month agreement can be canceled if tenant has failed to pay rent.

 

Palm Springs

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after 4/1/79. Owner occupied single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes.

Registration – Required

Just Cause –  Required

 

San Francisco

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after June 1979.

Registration – Not required

Just Cause –  Required. Termination must state reason for ending contract.

 

San Jose

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after 9/7/79

Registration – Not required.

Just Cause –  Not required. 90 day notice is required to terminated month to month contract.

 

Santa Monica

Exempt Properties – Units constructed after 4/10/79. Owner occupied single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes.

Registration – Required.

Just Cause –  Required.

 

Thousand Oaks

Exempt Properties – Does not apply when tenant moved in after 1987 resulting in very few units that have rent control. Units built after 1980 are also exempt.

Registration – Required.

Just Cause –  Required.

 

West Hollywood

Exempt Properties –Units constructed after 7/1/79

Registration – Required.

Just Cause –  Required. Also applies to new construction even though it is not subject to rent control.

 

Non-Rent Controlled Cities with Just Cause Protection

San Diego

While not actually a rent controlled city, just cause must be provided to evict a tenant who has lived in the property for 2 years or more. Valid reasons are listed below.

Nonpayment of rent

Refusal to give landlord reasonable access to the property

Refusal to accept lease agreement renewal with similar conditions of the original lease.

Failure to make necessary repairs.

When landlord plans to withdraw all rental units from the rental market and or occupy the unit  him or herself.

Glendale

Nonpayment of rent.

Unauthorized subtenant has possession at the end of the lease.

Tenant refuses to give landlord access to property when sufficient notice has been given.

Tenant fails to accept new lease agreement of at least one year.

Landlord plans to demolish the unit.

 

If you are a landlord in a city that has Rent Control or Just Cause conditions, make sure you are aware of all the steps that must be followed prior to starting an eviction. This depends greatly from city to city and whether you are required to register your properties and what if any just cause protection is given to the renter. If you are unsure about any of the steps then consult with a real estate attorney in your area who has experience with rent control evictions. While it might be costly up-front it can end up saving you thousands in the long run.

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