With the enactment of Assembly Bill 1482, signed by Governor Newsom in October 2019, the California legislature imposed a “just cause” limitation on lease terminations, non-renewals, or evictions for most California residential landlords, and also imposed a cap on the amount of annual rent increases allowable for many of the same landlords. Although several large California cities have long-standing rent control ordinances that impose varying degrees of rent increase protection for tenants and typically include “just cause eviction” limitations, this is the first state-wide limitation of this nature.
Neither the rent increase caps nor the just cause eviction standards are optional with local governments. They operate directly as limitations on landlords and their agents in the conduct of residential rental leasing transactions and evictions, and they also do not involve the creation of a new administrative agency either at the state level or at the local level. The new law does not supersede existing just cause eviction and rent control ordinances that are lawfully adopted at the local level, however, whether retrospectively or prospectively, to the extent these local ordinances are more protective of tenants’ rights. Also, although AB 1482 does not lift the restrictions of the CostaHawkins law on the adoption of local rent control for new construction, it does exempt leases of housing from both the rent increase limitations and the “just cause eviction” limitations of the new statute for a period of 15 years after issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, whether the Certificate of Occupancy was issued prior to the effective date or after the effective date of the statute.
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