While the rental housing industry in California has been abuzz about the latest rent control and “just cause” eviction law (more on that below), Gov. Newsom has passed five other rental laws. From extended rent increase notices to the mandatory acceptance of Section 8 vouchers, you won’t want to miss these other hot-off-the-press laws.
Statewide Rent Control and “Just Cause” Eviction Regulations
Rent control has finally passed, and with it are quite a few additional provisions and required notices. This new law limits annual rent increases to 5% plus a change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for up to a maximum total annual increase of 10%. It imposes “just cause” eviction rules for renters living in rental properties for 12 months (or 24 months if an additional renter moves into the same property) on and after January 1st, 2020. It also requires relocation assistance or a rent waiver equal to one month’s rent for “no-fault” evictions. Be mindful that you will either need to provide notice if you are or aren’t subject to this law. There are also additional notice requirements regarding rent raises.
Extended Notices for Rent Increases
Notice times are changing for month-to-month tenancies as well. This new law requires a 90-day notice for rent increases that are more than 10%. However, the notice requirements (30 days) for rent increases that are less than 10% stays the same.
Mandatory Acceptance of Section 8
The Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on their source of income. This law expands on the definition of “source of income” to include section 8 housing vouchers, making it illegal for any rental property owner in California to deny a tenancy based on an applicant’s Section 8 enrollment.
Currently in California, housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information is prohibited. This law would expand upon the protected classes above by including veteran or military status. By extension, rental property owners are now prohibited from refusing to accept Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers.
Lower Security Deposits for Active-Duty Servicemembers
The security deposit amount for active-duty U.S. military members has been lowered. For active-duty service members, security deposits are restricted to one month’s rent for unfurnished units and 2 months’ rent for furnished ones.
Allowances for Tenants to Shelter those at Risk of Homelessness
With written approval of the rental property owner, this law permits renters to temporarily allow a person at risk of homelessness to live with them – regardless of the existing lease terms. It also enables property owners to adjust the rent payable terms under the lease as compensation for their occupancy, in which the new rent payable terms would need to be agreed to in writing by both the owner and renters. If an agreement is not met, rental property owners would have to provide 7 days’ notice to the renter in order to evict the person at risk of homelessness. Of course, the additional occupancy of the person at risk of homelessness cannot be permitted if it violates building occupancy limits or other building standards. It also does not apply to federally funded or assisted low-income housing. This new law will sunset on January 1, 2024.