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Most multi-unit rentals are protected by a law called the California Tenant Protection Act. Under the TPA, there are two cases in which a property owner can end your tenancy to remodel your home.

– If they plan to do work which requires a permit from a government agency, such as major plumbing, electrical, or structural work.
– If they need to deal with dangerous materials like mold, lead paint, or asbestos.

In both cases, the owner can only end your tenancy to do this work if a) they cannot reasonably do the work while you’re still living in the home and b) the work requires you to be out of the home for more than 30 days. The owner cannot end your tenancy if they can complete the remodeling in fewer than 30 days. Cosmetic improvements like new cabinets, counters, floors, or paint are not allowable reasons to end your tenancy.

What if a property owner needs to do work that meets the above criteria for ending a protected tenancy? They must provide the you with relocation assistance equal to one month’s rent or let you stay the last month in your home for free. The owner must also give you enough advance notice that they want you to move out.

Example 1:
The owner of your home wants to replace the cabinets in your kitchen. They intend to raise the rent after the cabinets are replaced. You have a month to month rental agreement. The owner gives you a letter telling you that you must be out in 60 days and offers you a month of free rent.

In this case, the owner CANNOT end your tenancy, because replacement of kitchen cabinets is only a cosmetic improvement to your home.

Example 2:
You have a severe mold problem in your bathroom. You tell the owner of your home that you’d like them to fix it. They respond by giving you a letter telling you that you need to be out in 60 days. The letter states that the owner has a right to end your tenancy to deal with the mold problem. However, when you talk to the on-site repair person, they tell you that the owner only intends to paint over the problem with a mold-killing paint. You email the owner who confirms this.

In this case, the owner CANNOT end your tenancy, because they do not need you to relocate from your home for more than 30 days in order to address the mold problem in the way they’ve planned to do so.