Month: January 2024

California Rent Control Laws: Overall Look of What Landlords Need to Know in 2024

California has strict rent control laws to protect tenants, all outlined under the Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482). Here’s what you need to know if you’re a landlord.

Rent Increase Limits in California

California’s Tenant Protection Act caps 12-month rent increases at 10%, or 5%, plus the percentage change in the cost of living, whichever is lower. 

As a landlord, you’re also responsible for adhering to any local rent control laws that may be in place, such as from the city or county. 

Additionally, remember that, at times, a city or county may have a price gouging ordinance in effect, or there may be a proclamation made as the result of a local emergency. These can apply to rental housing and have an impact on rent increases.

Retaliation Is Against the Law

It’s important to understand that it’s illegal to retaliate against a tenant (such as threatening to evict them) if they inform you a rent increase is unlawful. 

How to Notify Your Tenants of a Rent Increase

You must provide tenants with a formal written notice (not an email, call, or text) of a rent increase that gives them 30 days’ notice. 

Other Important Laws to Take Note Of

New This Year: Security Deposit Cap

Starting July 1, 2024, a new cap on security deposits for leases that limits them to one (1) month’s rent will go into effect. 

There is one exception of note. Landlords who own up to two residential rental properties (including up to four dwelling units) are excluded. To get more details on the exclusion, read the article we published on the topic.

There Are Two Types of Evictions: At Fault and No Fault

Under California’s Tenant Protection Act, evictions are split into two categories, one where the tenant is allegedly “at fault” and another where the tenant is at “no fault.” Here’s the difference: 

At fault evictions can occur when a tenant:

  • Fails to pay rent
  • Breaches a term in the lease or refuses to sign a new lease
  • Conducts criminal activity on the premises
  • Refuses lawful entry

No fault evictions can occur if:

  • The owner decides to move in or otherwise remove the unit from the rental market
  • There’s going to be a substantial remodel (where the work cannot be done safely with the tenants inside) or demolition of the unit
  • There’s a government order or local law that requires the tenant to leave

It’s important to note that locking a tenant out of a unit is illegal. You must go through the courts to properly evict a tenant.

You Must Keep Units Safe and Well Maintained

This hasn’t changed in 2024, but it’s important to revisit it. As a landlord, you’re legally required to ensure your units are habitable, which means they have things like:

  • Safe and operational plumbing, heating, and electrical systems
  • Working locks on doors and windows
  • Effective waterproofing

Additionally, your property must be free from vermin, such as roaches. 

However, it’s important to note that tenants must legally follow standards themselves, such as keeping the unit sanitary and not damaging anything.

Need Legal Advice?

As a landlord, you must stay informed about California’s rent control laws, as well as your other legal obligations. If you need assistance understanding the laws or are in a dispute with a tenant, our attorneys can help. Book a consultation with us today.

California Caps Security Deposits at One (1) Month’s Rent

In November Governor Newsome signed into law California legislation which limits security deposits to one (1) month’s rent for both furnished and unfurnished residential units. The new cap on security deposits for Leases takes effect July 1, 2024.

San Francisco Assembly person Matt Haney authored AB 12, which passed both the Senate and the Assembly houses in September. The legislation is a monumental shift from existing law, which allows up to two (2) months’ rent as security for an unfurnished unit and up to three (3) months’ rent for a furnished rental.

There is a major primary exception to AB 12. The law excludes landlords who own up to two (2) residential rental properties – which collectively include up to four (4) dwelling units offered for rent.  To qualify under the “limited number of units” exception, the owner must hold the property as (a) a natural person, (b) a limited liability company – in which all members are natural persons, or (c) under a family trust. If one satisfies these conditions, a “limited number of units” Owner is permitted to collect up to two (2) months’ rent as a security deposit.

As always, there is an exception – to the exception of every Rule. The “limited number of units” exception does not apply when the prospective tenant is a military service member.

Once again, the Law takes effect next Summer on July 1, 2024, which provides landlords time to make the necessary adjustments.

Contact one of our seasoned Landlord-Tenant Attorney’s to determine how California’s latest legislation impacts you.