California’s Tenant Protection Act
August 24th, 2022
Contributor: Justin A. Goodman
Assembly Bill 1482 (“AB 1482”), otherwise known as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, introduced the first of its kind, statewide, price limits and eviction protections of landlord/tenant law in California. The broad scope of the Act is not necessarily new. Federal law prohibited the eviction of tenants in good standing under the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942. And, of course, there have been many examples of statewide emergency price and eviction controls during the pandemic years.
Starting in the late 1970s, however, California cities began enacting evergreen regulations, not based on emergency powers, but their constitutionally conferred “police power” to enact health and safety laws, which took the form of modern rent and eviction control. AB 1482 breaks new ground for introducing “local” style rent control ordinances at the state level.
Rent and eviction limits generally go hand in hand, because price limits would be illusory if a landlord could simply terminate the tenancy and offer the same accommodations to a new tenant at a market rate. AB 1482 limits year-over-year rent increases to the lesser of 5% plus area CPI or 10% of the contract rent.
AB 1482 then protects these price limits by dictating that landlords may not terminate a residential tenancy without certain, enumerated “just causes” for eviction. Just causes under AB 1482 include “fault-based” causes, like nuisance, non-payment of rent, and other breaches of lease, or “non-fault” causes, like an owner’s desire to reside in the property or withdraw the accommodations from the rental market. The non-fault evictions require the payment of relocation assistance. Landlords must disclose these protections in new residential leases.
AB 1482 exempts certain properties, like new construction (having been completed within the last 15 years), “separately alienable” (i.e., single-family homes and condominiums) owned by small property owners, and other, more transient accommodations (like dormitories and hospital rooms). On the other hand, AB 1482 pays deference to local ordinances that either predate it, or those that were enacted later but with specific findings that they provide more protective tenant protections.
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Categories: Landlord/Tenant Issues