What You Need to Know About California Rent Control Laws

California is the second most expensive state to live in, right behind Hawaii. Residents pay more than average for housing, taxes, food, and more.

Now, thanks to a California rent control bill that became law in January 2020, tenants may be able to catch a break with lower rent. The bill, known as Assembly Bill 1482, passed specific regulations against raising rent, evicting tenants, and more.

Understanding rent control in California can help you understand your rights, your tenant’s rights and understand how to work with the tenant on their lease. 

What You Need to Know About California Rent Control Laws

California Rent Control Laws Limit Rent Raises

According to state law, landlords cannot increase rents within 12 months beyond 5% plus local inflation or 10% (whichever is lower). Market rates and cost of living vary greatly by location, so the total increase in rent depends on where you live.

For example, fair market rent for a one-bedroom in San Francisco County is $2,255. If you are paying that much for rent in 2020, your landlord can only raise your rent by a maximum of $225.50 per month.

The bill is also retroactive, so it considers rent hikes between March 2019 and January 2020. If you raise your tenant’s rent beyond the 10% limit during that time, the law legally requires you to roll back rent to the 2019 rate plus the 5%+ increase that’s allowed.

Rent Control Protects Tenants From Evictions

Because of California’s high living costs, many tenants are in danger of eviction from month to month. To prevent more homelessness, the new rent control bill also includes eviction rules.

If your tenant has lived in your rental home for at least 12 months, the law requires you to provide “just cause” for eviction. Within the bill, two types of cases are acceptable for just cause for an eviction:

  • At-fault just cause: The tenants have failed to pay rent, breached the lease, or committed a nuisance.
  • No-fault just cause: The property owner needs to occupy the lease for themselves or family members, needs to take it off the market, or needs to vacate the property through a government order.

If a tenant is evicted for a no-fault just cause, the law requires you to provide help with relocation or waiving the final rent.

Newer Properties are Exempt From Rent Control

Though the bill is statewide, it exempts some properties. Newer buildings that were constructed within the past 15 years may be exempt, as well as affordable housing units. The law also exempts owner-occupied properties or properties where the tenants share common spaces with the owner when it comes to eviction.

Protect Your Tenant Rights in California

Once you fully understand California rent control laws, you are better equipped to know how to draft and negotiate leases and understand your rights as a landlord. If you face issues, it is important to act quickly to litigate a real estate dispute.

At Law Office of Lisa Wills, a Profesisonal Law Corporation, we stay informed about the latest California real estate laws to make sure we are fighting for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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