The California Tenant Protection Act
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Statewide Rent Cap + Just Cause = California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019

Statewide Rent Cap

Under the CA Tenant Protection Act, rent can only increase in protected rental homes by a certain amount in any 12 month period. In general, rent in protected homes can only increase each year by 5% plus the percent change in the Consumer Price Index for the region in which the home is located, or the statewide CPI change none exists for your region. The CPI is a measure of how much the cost of living changes over a period of time. In general, even if the change in CPI is very high, the maximum allowable yearly rent increase is 10%.

Exemptions from this law

Unfortunately, the Tenant Protection Act does not cover every renter. If you live in any of the kinds of rentals listed below, you are not protected by the rent cap.

  • Owner-occupied duplexes
  • Units built within the last 15 years
  • Student dormitories
  • Single Family homes owned by natural persons (not a corporation)

Note that Section 8 tenancies are protected by AB1482, with some limited exceptions.

What is Just Cause Eviction?

Just Cause for Eviction means that a landlord can only terminate a tenancy for specific, legal reasons. This protection only applies to your home if:

  1. All tenants have lived in the unit for more than ONE YEAR or
  2. One tenant has lived in the unit for TWO YEARS

In addition to requirements around length of residency, Just Cause protections do not apply to you if you live in a home that fits one of the categories below.

  • Homes where you share a bathroom or kitchen with the owner
  • Owner-occupied duplexes
  • Units built within the last 15 years
  • Student dormitories/elder care facilities/nursing facilities
  • Single family homes or condos owned by natural persons (not a corporation)

If you do not live in one of these kinds of homes, you are covered by Just Cause Protections. If you do live in an exempted single family home or condo, the owner must notify you of this fact in any new lease or have told you in writing before August 1, 2020. The allowed reasons for terminating your tenancy include:

  1. Nonpayment of rent
  2. A breach of lease, including illegal subletting
  3. Nuisance behavior
  4. Committing waste (including damaging or trashing the home)
  5. Refusal to sign a new lease substantially similar to your old one
  6. Criminal Activity
  7. Illegal use of the home
  8. Refusal to allow the owner to enter the dwelling
  9. Failure to move out after signing an agreement to move out by a certain date
  10. Failure to move out after ending an employment relationship with the landlord
  11. Owner move-in, and move-in of certain immediate family members (lease must include this provision)
  12. Withdrawal of unit from rental market
  13. Notice to vacate by government agency
  14. Intent to demolish or substantially renovate property

No-Fault Evictions and Relocation Funds

If your tenancy is terminated for any of the below reasons, the landlord is required to provide you with 1 month’s worth of rent as relocation assistance, within 15 days of delivering a notice terminating your tenancy.

  • Owner move-in, and move-in of certain immediate family members
  • Withdrawal of unit from rental market
  • Notice to vacate by government agency
  • Intent to demolish or substantially renovate property

Protect Yourself and Your Neighbors

The first step in asserting rights to just cause or the rent cap are to find out whether you are covered by these protections. Document interactions with your landlord by using written communication that you can keep records of. Note whether they are complying with notice requirements (such as whether the lease states they can move a family member in, or that the home is exempt from just cause requirements).

After July 1, 2020, new leases must include the language: “California law limits the amount your rent can be increased. See Section 1947.12 of the Civil Code for more information. California law also provides that after all of the tenants have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more or at least one of the tenants has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months or more, a landlord must provide a statement of cause in any notice to terminate a tenancy. See Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code for more information.”

Discuss these protections with your neighbors, especially if you live in multi-unit buildings. Find out if they are receiving illegal rent increases or tenancy terminations. Help us educate the community!