Practice Areas

Rent Control

Alameda

Change is coming for landlords in the City of Alameda.  

 

On May 17, 2017, the Alameda City Council introduced an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 3148 – The Rent Stabilization and Limitations on Evictions Ordinance. Landlords in the City of Alameda should take note because soon they will no longer be able to terminate a tenancy for “no cause.”

 

Though the City of Alameda has a number of just cause provisions, landlords had the option to terminate a tenancy without any cause so long as the landlord complied with certain provisions. Now, with the passage of this amendment, landlords will only be able to terminate a tenancy on the following grounds:

  1. Failure to Pay Rent;
  2. Breach of Lease;
  3. Nuisance;
  4. Failure to Give Access;
  5. Owner move-in;
  6. Demolition;
  7. Capital Improvement Plan;
  8. Withdrawal from the Rental Market; or
  9. Compliance with a Governmental Order.

Prohibiting no-cause evictions puts the City of Alameda in the same ranks as many other Bay Area cities who require just cause to terminate a tenancy. While neighboring cities like Oakland and San Francisco have had long standing just cause requirements, other cities, such as San Jose and Union City, have just this year implemented tenant protections requiring just cause for evictions.

 

The City of Alameda City Council also added a provision that would render null and void no cause evictions between May 3, 2017 and the effective date of the amending of Ordinance No. 3148. Landlords would also need to “refrain from taking action to terminate any tenancy for ‘no cause,’” during this time.  The effect of this amendment is that all evictions on or after May 3, 2107 will require a just cause.

 

The effective date of these amendments is expected to be July 6, 2017. Landlords in the City of Alameda should continue to visit the City of Alameda’s Housing Authority’s Rent Program website for more information: http://www.alamedarentprogram.org/ordinance-3148-overview. For information on how the new amendments to Ordinance No. 3148 affect your property, consult with an experienced attorney.

 

Richmond

 

Last November the city of Richmond passed Measure L: The Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction, and Homeowner Protection Ordinance (“Ordinance”). Effective as of December 30, 2016, the Ordinance establishes rent and eviction controls that drastically effect how a landlord can raise rent and evict tenants. In particular, Richmond landlords need to pay careful attention to the proper process to evict a tenant under the new sections of the Richmond Municipal Code (“RMC”).

 

Under RMC Section 11.100.050, Richmond landlords now face hurdles that determine how they can properly evict tenants. Richmond now requires there to be just cause to evict a tenant. A landlord seeking to evict a tenant must state one of the following causes to be in compliance with the Ordinance:

  1. Failure to Pay Rent
  2. Breach of the Lease
  3. Nuisance
  4. Failure to Give Access
  5. Temporarily Vacate in Order to Undertake Substantial Repairs
  6. Owner Move-In
  7. Withdrawwal from the Rental Market
  8. Temporary Tenancy

The listed causes are on par with other eviction controlled cities, but Richmond has some added nuances that landlords need to be wary of. As an example, a landlord seeking to recover possession for the purpose of using it as a primary residence may be prohibited from doing so if the tenant living in the unit has resided there for at least five years and is either at least 62 years old or disabled or is certified as being terminally ill by the tenant’s treating physician.

 

Further, all notices terminating tenancy must be filed with the Richmond Rent Board (“Rent Board”) prior to serving the tenant. Furthermore, the landlord is also required to file with the Rent Board a proof of service with the time and date that the notice was served to the tenant. Failure to comply with these requirements has repercussions. The Rent Board can authorize the tenant to withhold all or a portion of the rent for the at-issue unit should a landlord fail to file report properly. Additionally, failing to file a notice before the filing of an unlawful detainer is a complete defense to the unlawful detainer!

 

Richmond landlords are encouraged to carefully review the Ordinance in its entirety as non-compliance has additional penalties such as liability to the tenant for actual damages, including “damages for emotional distress” in an action by the tenant for wrongful eviction and should the tenant prevail, the tenant shall recover costs and attorney’s fees.

 

Richmond landlords need to be wary when considering whether or not to evict a tenant. Reviewing the Ordinance is always advised, but for specific questions always consult with an experienced attorney.

San Jose

San Jose is unquestionably the heart of the Silicon Valley. Tech giants have set up shop in and around the San Jose area causing an influx of tech workers. That influx, while a boon for the city in general, is a major contributing factor to the city’s housing shortage.

As the supply of available housing decreases, there is a corresponding demand. Many fear this demand will cause less scrupulous property owners to evict current tenants in favor of tenants willing to pay more. Enter San Jose’s Tenant Protection Ordinance (“TPO”).

San Jose, like many other cities in the Bay Area, has turned toward ordinances that require “just cause” before a property owner can evict a tenant. These ordinances generally prohibit property owners from evicting a tenant without identifying a just cause such as non-payment of rent, material violations of the lease or substantial damage to the rented unit. With the passage of the TPO, a tenant in San Jose cannot be served an eviction notice without stating one of the following just causes:

  1.  Non-payment of Rent
  2.  Material or Habitual Violation of the Tenancy
  3.  Substantial Damage to the Apartment
  4.  Refusal to Agree to a like or New Rental Agreement
  5.  Nuisance Behavior
  6.  Refusing Access to the Apartment
  7.  Unapproved Holdover Subtenant
  8.  Substantial Rehabilitation of the Apartment
  9.  Ellis Act Removal
  10.  Owner move-in
  11.  Order to Vacate
  12.  Vacation of Unpermitted Apartment

It is important to note that San Jose requires the property owner not only serve the tenant the notice of termination but also provide a copy of the notice to San Jose’s Rental Rights and Referrals Program.

Union City

In May of 2017, Union City’s Chapter 5.50 “Residential Landlord and Tenant Relations” went into effect. This new addition to the City’s municipal code was added to regulate the relations between residential landlords and tenants “to increase certainty, stability, and fairness within residential rental market.”

 

Like similar Bay Area ordinances, Chapter 5.50 restricts evictions by requiring “Cause for Termination.” In other words, a landlord must state a just cause to properly evict a tenant. The following are grounds for eviction in Union City:

  1. Failure to Pay Rent
  2. Breach of Rental Agreement
  3. Tenant Illegal Activities
  4. Violations of Applicable Health and Safety Code
  5. Tenant Rejected Written Lease Extension
  6. Unit Will be Substantially Renovated
  7. Landlord Returning from Deployment
  8. Landlord Condominium Conversion
  9. Landlord Will Remove Unit from Market
  10. Landlord Will Move into Unit

Chapter 5.50 also establishes additional criteria that a landlord must show to properly evict a tenant. These criteria are:

  1. The landlord possesses a valid business license and has properly registered the rental unit;
  2. The landlord provided the tenant with a notice of tenants’ rights in accordance with Section 5.50.070;
  3.  The landlord has served a notice of termination that states the reason for the termination and has complied with Federal, State, and local laws when serving the notice;
  4. The landlord has not, nor will accept rent beyond the term of the terminated tenancy; and
  5. The landlord alleges one of the above just causes for termination.

As a landlord in Union City, you must be familiar with the new code, particularly if you are considering evicting a tenant. Failure to comply in the eviction process could lead to civil action and liability by way of costs and attorney’s fees to the tenant. Consult with an attorney to assure compliance before you attempt eviction.