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AUDIO: State Senator Lena Gonzalez Likens SB 1482 -- Annual Rent Cap + "Just Cause" Eviction Req'ts + Landlord Payment Of Tenant Relocation Sum -- To Long Beach Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance That Council Enacted (6-3) In June (On Her Motion)


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(July 11, 2019, 4:10 a.m.) -- Less than a month after she was sworn into office and given a seat on the the state Senate Judiciary Committee, state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-southeast L.A. County) told the Committee that "much of" SB 1482 -- a bill that would limit annual rent increases (for residential properties over 10 years old) to 7% plus the percentage change in cost of living or 10% (whichever is lower) and would require landlords to have specified "just cause" for evicting tenants and would require landlords to pay tenants one month's rent for "no fault" just-cause terminations -- "looks exactly like" the Long Beach Tenant Relocation Ordinance (approved June 11 on a 6-3 vote on Gonzalez's motion at her final LB Council meeting.).

Immediately after Judiciary Committee chair Hannah Beth Jackson (D, Santa Barbara-Ventura) spoke in support of the bill, Senator Gonzalez spoke and told the Committee:

...As someone who represents, you know, a large city like Long Beach, who right before I left the Council brought forward a Relocation Assistance ordinance to protect the residents that were in the downtown Long Beach area because we did have a lot of fee increases in rents because of new development, and much of this bill looks exactly like the bill that was passed in Long Beach, which I appreciate, but even with more narrow restrictions. And after looking at this bill, I mean, similar to what Senator Jackson mentioned, a three year sunset, no at-fault inclusions, exemption on new construction and essentially owners can increase their rents by $1,200 over five years, which is significant, so, it's still allowable with this bill. So with that said I will be supporting this today...

Senator Gonzalez added:

The only thing I hate about this bill is that often times it gets divisive, and it doesn't have to be. It actually protects renters and also landlords to many extents, so thank you very much.

To launch on-demand audio of Sen. Gonzalez's statement, click here.

[Scroll down for further.]








The Long Beach Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance actually differs from SB 1482 in a number of significant ways. LB's Ordinance didn't include a rent increase cap and it didn't include "just cause" requirements for eviction. In those respects, SB 1482 goes further than what a LB Council majority, with Mayor Garcia's support, approved. At the same time, SB 1482 exempts residential properties owned by "a real person...who owns and leases no more than 10 units" while LB's Tenant Relocation Ordinance only exempts single, duplex, triplex and some four-plex residential properties. SB 1482 requires landlords to pay certain exiting tenants one months rent while LB's ordinance requires payment of two months rent. (For LBREPORT.com coverage of the politically polarizing LB Council action here, here, and here)..

At the time, a number of LB property owners decried the LB Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance as amounting to de facto "rent control" and "just cause eviction" by another name..but if AB 1482 becomes law, LB and CA will have the real thing on "just cause eviction" plus a government-imposed limit on annual rent increases.

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Detailed legislative coverage

AB 1482 as amended would add the following to CA Civil Code Section 1946.2 in pertinent parts:

1946.2. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, an owner of residential real property, in which the tenant has occupied the residential real property for 12 months or more, with or without a written lease, shall not terminate the lease without just cause, which shall be stated in the written notice to terminate tenancy set forth in Section 1946.1.

(b) For purposes of this section, "just cause" includes either of the following:

(1) At-fault just cause, which is any of the following:

(A) Default in the payment of rent.

(B) A breach of a material term of the lease, as described in paragraph (3) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure, including, but not limited to, violation of a provision of the lease after being issued a written notice to correct the violation.

(C) Maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance as described in paragraph (4) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(D) Committing waste as described in paragraph (4) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(E) The tenant had a written lease that terminated on or after January 1, 2020, and after a written request or demand from the owner, the tenant has refused to execute a written extension or renewal of the lease for an additional term of similar duration with similar provisions, provided that those terms do not violate this section or any other provision of law.

(F) Criminal activity by the tenant on the premises, including any common areas, or any criminal threat, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 422 of the Penal Code, directed at any owner or agent of the owner of the premises.

(G) Assigning or subletting the premises in violation of the tenantís lease.

(H) The tenant's refusal to allow the owner to enter the dwelling pursuant to a request consistent with Section 1954 of the Civil Code.

(I) Using the premises for an unlawful purpose as described in paragraph (4) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(2) No-fault just cause, which includes any of the following:

(A) (i) Intent to occupy the residential real property by the owner or their spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents.

(ii) For leases entered into on or after January 1, 2020, clause (i) shall apply only if the tenant agrees, in writing, to the termination, or if a provision of the lease allows the owner to terminate the lease if the owner, or their spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents, unilaterally decides to occupy the residential property.

(B) Withdrawal of the residential property from the rental market.

(C) Unsafe habitation, as determined by a government agency that has issued an order to vacate, order to comply, or other order that necessitates vacating the residential property.

(D) Intent to demolish or to substantially remodel.

(c) Before an owner of residential real property issues a tenant a notice to terminate tenancy for just cause that is a curable lease violation, the owner shall first give notice of the violation to the tenant with an opportunity to cure the violation pursuant to paragraph (3) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(d) (1) If an owner of residential real property issues a no-fault just cause notice to terminate a tenancy to a tenant who has resided on the residential real property for 12 months or more, the owner shall assist the tenant, regardless of the tenantís income, to relocate by providing a direct payment to the tenant as described in paragraph (3).

(2) If an owner issues a notice to terminate tenancy for no-fault just cause, the owner shall notify the tenant of the tenantís right to relocation assistance pursuant to this section.

(3) The amount of relocation assistance shall be equal to one month of the tenantís rent that was in effect when the owner issued the notice to terminate the tenancy. The owner and tenant may also agree, in lieu of direct payment, to waive the payment of rent for the month after the notice is given.

(e) This section shall not apply to the following types of residential real properties or residential circumstances:

(1) Transient and tourist hotel occupancy as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1940.

(2) Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, or extended care facility.

(3) Dormitories owned and operated by an institution of higher education or a kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, school.

(4) Housing accommodations in which the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner who maintains their principal residence at the residential real property.

(5) Single-family owner-occupied residences, including a residence in which the owner-occupant rents or leases two units or bedrooms, including, but not limited to, an accessory dwelling unit or a junior accessory dwelling unit.

(6) Housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 10 years.

(7) Housing that is a detached single-family residential dwelling unit that meets both of the following requirements:

(A) The owner is a natural person who owns and leases no more than 10 units and does not have an ownership interest in any other rental residential real property through any other entity.

(B) There is a written lease for the dwelling that includes a provision certifying that the owner meets the provisions of subparagraph

(A) and notifying the tenant that the dwelling is not subject to this section.

(f) An owner of residential real property subject to this section shall provide notice to a tenant of the tenantís rights under this section at the beginning of the tenancy by providing an addendum to the lease which shall be signed by the tenant when the lease is signed....

(g) This section does not prevent the enforcement of an existing local rule or ordinance, or the adoption of a local rule or ordinance that is consistent with Chapter 2.7 (commencing with Section 1954.50), that requires just cause for termination of a residential tenancy that further limits or specifies the allowable reasons for eviction, requires longer notice or additional procedures for evicting tenants, provides for higher relocation assistance amounts, or is determined to provide a higher level of tenant protections than this section. (h) Any waiver of the rights under this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.

For AB 1482's full text as most recently amended June 28 and advanced by the state Senate Judiciary Committee on July 9, click here.

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In late May, AB 1482 narrowly passed the Assembly (needed 41 votes, received 43) only after its author agreed to allow property owners a larger annual rent increase than the bill initially proposed (annual 7% rent increase plus inflation [the latter currently a little over 2% statewide] with no "just cause" eviction provision (On the Assembly vote, LB area Assemblyman O'Donnell was recorded as "no vote recorded.") A companion measure, AB 1481 that would have required "just cause" for tenant evictions didn't advance from the Assembly and was considered dead for the year. But in a quiet June 28 maneuver, AB 1482's author inserted a "just cause" provision (text above) and tenant relocation payment into AB 1482 in the state Senate.

By its terms, AB 1482 would apply to all rent increases on or after March 15, 2019. It also exempts local ordinances that impose a more restrictive rent increase cap than the bill.

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What's next?

Following an April 23 Assembly committee vote that advanced AB 1482 as a rent cap [without its just cause and tenant relocation provisions], Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the following statement:

[Gov. Newsom statement] "The California Dream is in peril if our state doesn't act to address the housing affordability crisis. The cost of housing -- both for homeowners and renters -- is the defining quality-of-life concern for people across this state. Housing costs and rising rents threaten to erode our state's long-term prosperity. Families shouldn't be forced to live hours from where they work. Vulnerable residents -- seniors, families with small children and people on a fixed income -- shouldn't have to live in constant fear of eviction. And people across this state shouldn't be forced to spend their whole paycheck to keep a roof overhead. But that's increasingly the case throughout California. I am grateful that members of the Assembly voted today to continue moving forward on one piece of the housing affordability solution -- creating a renter protection package. I look forward to continuing this important conversation as proposals move through the legislative process.

It's currently unclear if Gov. Newsom supports the "just cause eviction" and tenant relocation amendments added to AB 1482. If the bill clears the state Senate with those amendments, and clears the Assembly in a concurrence on the state Senate amendments, Gov. Newsom could sign the bill into law or veto it.


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