State Tenant Protections Under Assembly Bill 1482 May Soon Be Expanded
State Tenant Protections Under Assembly Bill 1482 May Soon Be Expanded
Senate Bill 567 (Durazo) continues to progress through our State Legislature ultimately on its way to the Governor’s desk. This proposed bill will have a significant impact on rental housing providers covered under the state renter protection law, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, or better known as Assembly Bill 1482. Therefore, it is important that property owners understand the proposal’s key provisions.
The intended purpose of the proposed bill is to help in closing perceived “loopholes” and establish a robust enforcement mechanism for violations of the rent limitations and “just cause” eviction protections imposed under Assembly Bill 1482. Senate Bill 567 would revise the “no-fault just cause eviction provisions” of the Tenant Protection Act, and would provide enforcement mechanisms for violations of restrictions on residential rent increases and no-fault just cause evictions. Specifically, under the proposed bill:
Owner or owner’s spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents must occupy the property for a minimum of 12 continuous months as their primary residence and must move into the unit within 90 days after the tenant vacates. An owner is considered any percent that has at least a 51% recorded ownership interest in the property or 100% recorded ownership interest in the property if 100% is divided among owners who are related to each other. However, this no-fault cause for tenancy termination is not available if the intended occupant already occupies a rental unit on the property or if a vacancy of a similar unit already exists at the property.
The written notice terminating a tenancy must contain the name or names and relationship to the owner of the intended occupant.
If the intended occupant fails to occupy the rental unit within 90 days after the tenant vacates, or fails to occupy the rental unit as their primary residence for at least 12 consecutive months (unless the occupant passes away), the owner is required to offer the unit to the tenant who vacated it at the same rent and lease terms, and requires the owner to reimburse the tenant for reasonable moving expenses incurred in excess of any relocation assistance that was paid to the tenant in connection with the written notice. However, if the previous tenant does not move back in and a new tenancy commences within 12 months after terminating a tenancy, the unit must be offered and rented or leased at the lawful rent in effect at the time any notice of termination of tenancy was served.
Ellis Act Withdrawal of Property from Rental Market
For “no-fault just cause” evictions for purposes of withdrawal of residential real property from the rental market, the owner must withdraw all the rental units at the property from the rental market.
Demolition or Substantial Remodel of Property
For “no-fault just cause” eviction for the purpose of demolishing or substantially remodeling the property, a tenant is not required to vacate the residential real property on any days where a tenant could continue living in the residential real property without violating health, safety, and habitability codes and laws.
The bill requires a written notice terminating a tenancy on the basis of this “substantial remodel or demolition” provision to include all of the following information:
(i) A statement informing tenants of the intent to demolish the property or substantially remodel the unit.
(ii) The following statement:
“If the substantial remodel of your unit or demolition of the property as described in this notice of termination is not commenced or completed, the owner must offer you the opportunity to re-rent your unit with a rental agreement containing the same terms as your most recent rental agreement with the owner at the rental rate that was in effect at the time you vacated. You must notify the owner within thirty (30) days of receipt of the offer to re-rent of your acceptance or rejection of the offer, and, if accepted, you must reoccupy the unit within thirty (30) days of notifying the owner of your acceptance of the offer.”
(iii) A description of the substantial remodel to be completed, the approximate expected duration of the substantial remodel, and a copy of the permit required to undertake the substantial remodel.
(iv) A notification that if the tenant is interested in reoccupying the rental unit following the substantial remodel, the tenant must inform the owner of the tenant’s interest in reoccupying the rental unit following the substantial remodel and provide the owner with the tenant’s address, telephone number, and email address.
In the event a notice is issued pursuant to a substantial remodel to abate hazardous materials and does not require any permit, the owner is required to provide a copy of the signed contract with the contractor hired by the owner to complete the substantial remodel, which reasonably details the work that will be undertaken to abate the hazardous materials.
Violations Under the Tenant Protection Act
An owner’s failure to comply with any of the just cause provisions of the Tenant Protection Act renders a written termination notice void. Any owner who attempts to recover possession of a rental unit in material violation of the just cause provisions of the Tenant Protection Act is liable to a tenant in a civil action for actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. In the event evidence shows that the owner has acted willfully or with oppression, fraud, or malice, up to three times the actual damages, then an owner may be subjected to punitive damages for the benefit of the tenant against the owner.
The Attorney General and the city attorney or county counsel in the jurisdiction in which the rental unit is located is permitted to bring actions for injunctive relief based on violations of any of the “just-cause” provisions.
An owner who demands, accepts, receives, or retains any payment of rent in excess of the maximum rent allowed by the Tenant Protection Act liable in a civil action to the tenant from whom those payments are demanded, accepted, received, or retained for all of the following: (i) Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs; (ii) Injunctive relief; (iii) Damages in the amount by which any payment exceeds the maximum allowable rent; and (iv) Upon a showing that the owner has acted willfully or with oppression, fraud, or malice, damages up to three times (3x) the amount by which any payment demanded, accepted, received, or retained exceeds the maximum allowable rent.
Enforcement / Statute of Limitations
The bill empowers the Attorney General and the city attorney or county counsel in the jurisdiction in which the rental unit is located to have the authority to do both of the following: (i) Enforce the rental rate provisions of the Tenant Protection Act; (ii) Seek injunctive relief based on violations of the rent cap provisions of the Tenant Protection Act; and (iii) Provides that in an action for injunctive relief regarding violation of the rent limitation, a tenant is presumed to suffer irreparable harm. Prohibits an action pursuant to the rental rate provisions of the Tenant Protection Act from being brought after three years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
While at the time this article was written, amendments to Senate Bill 567 were still be negotiated, we believe the information provided here materially covers what will ultimately become the final bill. As always, we will keep our members apprised of the status and final outcome of the proposed bill.