The Tenant Protection Act, AB 1482, is a new law affecting all of California, and it can be broken out into five major subject matters. Today, we are talking about “at fault” evictions.
Please remember that we are early in the process with this law, so we’ll be working out the details for months. Processes, recommendations, and impacts are likely to change as this legislation is implemented and better understood. Every housing situation is unique. Please contact an attorney for specific legal advice.
AB 1482: An Overview
AB 1482 is a rent control law. It caps the amount of rent increases on most properties that are impacted to no more than 5 percent plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) on an annual basis. If CPI exceeds 5 percent, the cap is a maximum 10 percent gross.
Additionally, just cause evictions apply to those properties that are impacted, which restricts a housing provider’s authority to remove residents to a limited list of reasons. And in some of those instances, relocation costs are required to be made payable by the owner to the resident.
AB 1482 and Updated Lease Verbiage
If you have a property that is not exempt, and we have spoken previously about the various exemptions, it is mandatory that you put in your rental contracts the following lease verbiage in 12 point font:
“EFFECTIVE AS OF JANUARY 1, 2023, California law limits the amount your rent can be increased. See Section 1947.12 of the Civil Code for more information. California law also provides that after all of the tenants have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more or at least one of the tenants has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months or more, a landlord must provide a statement of cause in any notice to terminate tenancy. See Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code for more information.”
For new and renewing contracts, this must be in place by July 1, 2020. For existing contracts, it must be in place by August 1, 2020.
At Fault Reasons for Eviction
Let’s go through the list of tenant behavior issues whereby you as the landlord might be permitted to evict the tenant and take the property back:
- The tenant has a written lease that terminates 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. This is a justified at fault reason to terminate tenancy.
- The employee, agent, or licensee’s failure to vacate after their termination as an employee, agent, or a licensee.
- When the tenant fails to deliver possession of the residential real property after providing the owner written notice.
- Default in the payment of rent.
- The tenant’s refusal to allow the owner to enter the residential property with proper advanced notice.
- Any criminal activity or criminal threat that is directed at any owner or agent of the owner of the residential real property.
- Committing waste. This is damage to the property that is serious and significant enough that it will diminish the value of the property.
- A breach of a material term of the lease. This could be something written in the lease that the tenant is not abiding by.
- Criminal activity by the tenant on the residential real property, including any common areas.
- Using the premises for an unlawful purpose.
- Assigning or subletting the premises in violation of the tenant’s lease. You must have it written into your rental contract that the tenant cannot do this in order for this term to be in effect.
- Maintaining, committing or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance. Parties every week will upset the neighbors and become a nuisance.
The last 5 points above are often very difficult to prove.
This is why you must document everything. When you have indications that there are violations or possible at fault reasons why the tenant might be required to vacate, you must have the correct documentation. Often times the owner does not have firsthand information that any violation is occurring. They are hearing it from other sources. In order to prove situations like this, it will require the involvement up to and including court testimony of adjacent residents.
Legal Notice Process
In order to remove a tenant properly with the at fault just cause process, you have to make sure that you properly serve a Three Day Notice to Cure or Quit. This is basically giving the tenant a chance to correct what they are doing wrong. If initial notice expires without correction, follow it with service of a Non-curable Three Day Notice to Quit. Thereafter, commence eviction proceedings.
There are some instances and behaviors that do not require a notice period to cure. The subletting and criminal activity are two examples. In these instances, however, you do want to speak with your attorney.
Delayed Just Cause
Just Cause applies if either of the following are true:
- All tenants on the original contract have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more.
- At least one original tenants has occupied the property for at least 24 months.
Just Cause vs. Lease
Continuous occupancy for 12 months means if a tenant moves in with a fixed term lease of one year or more, they are “protected” by just cause provisions as of day one. So it is entirely possible for properties that are under AB 1482 that fixed term leases will fall into disfavor. The first 12 months very well may be considered a probationary period for those tenants to make sure that as the housing provider you want to have a long term relationship with that resident. Once they have the protections the decision to vacate with very few exceptions is in their hands and not the housing providers.
Please contact us at DeDe’s Rentals for further clarification. This is a complicated law, and it’s likely to get more complex. As I said before, I am not an attorney and if you have questions please contact your attorney for legal advice.