Q: I am advertising my single-family residence for rent. I received an inquiry from an interested woman asking if I accept section 8 tenants. Can I refuse to rent to tenants that have section 8 vouchers?

A: No, effective January 1, 2020, landlords with properties in the state of California cannot refuse to rent to a prospective tenant or terminate a tenancy based only on the tenant’s source of income, including rental assistance from programs like Section 8. A landlord is required to consider all Section 8 payments or any other assistance program payments as part of the prospective tenant’s annual income. Also, it is illegal to advertise that you do not take Section 8 tenants.  Landlords can still screen applicants according to lawful screening practices. 

Q: I read an article online saying that the rent caps and just cause requirements of the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) does not apply to Section 8 tenants. Is that true?

A: No, the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) does not state that Section 8 contracts are exempt from the rent caps and just cause requirements of AB 1482.  There are certain exceptions for low income housing, however, Section 8 tenancies do not qualify because they do not require the housing provider or landlord to agree to rent the property at a below market rate. Section 8 tenancies require the housing provider to accept a portion of the market rent from the tenant and a portion from the Federal housing authority. Section 8 tenancies will only be exempt if the property is exempt for another reason. 


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Q: I rent one of my properties to a family that receives Section 8 payments and the family’s 6-month lease has expired. When I called Section 8 to ask what notice to serve to a section Section 8 tenant who has lived in my property for less than one year, they told me the proper notice to serve is a 30 day notice to quit. Is that the correct notice to serve?

A: No, you cannot terminate a Section 8 tenancy with a 30-day notice to quit or a 60-day notice to quit. Since Section 8 leases/rental agreements are contracts with a governmental agency, you must give at least 90 days’ written notice of the termination. Additionally, the 90-day notice to quit must include cause pursuant to the HUD Tenancy Addendum of your Section 8 contract as well as cause based on any applicable rent control or just cause laws.  If you have questions regarding what notices you should serve a Section 8 tenant, please consult an attorney. 

Q: I have a Section 8 tenant who is on a month-to-month agreement after his lease expired. I want to terminate his tenancy because he is disturbing the neighbors. What type of notice should I serve? 

A: It depends. If rent control applies to your property, you must first give the tenant an opportunity to fix the problem by serving a three-day notice to perform covenant or quit. If the tenant continues to disturb his neighbors after expiration of the notice, then you can serve a 90 Day Notice to Quit with Cause.  If rent control does not apply to your property, then you can serve a 90 Day Notice to Quit with Cause without first giving the tenant an opportunity to cure. You should always review your Section 8 contract carefully to ensure that you have a valid cause for termination, which are found in the Tenancy Addendum of your Section 8 contract.  You must clearly state the cause for termination in your notice so that the tenant is aware of the reason for termination.  Remember to serve both the tenant and Section 8 representative with the notice.

Q: My condominium is rented to a Section 8 tenant who is behind in rent. I want to serve my tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. How much rent can I demand on the three-day notice to pay rent or quit?

A: If your Section 8 tenant has not paid their rent portion, you may serve the tenant with a 3-day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  The notice may only demand the tenant’s portion of the rent. This notice must be served by personal, substituted service, or posting and mailing.  Additionally, a copy of the notice must be served on tenant’s Section 8 representative. Failure to serve the tenant’s Section 8 representative may cause the landlord to lose an unlawful detainer.

Attorney Franco Simone, of Simone & Associates and The Landlords’ Legal Center, has been doing evictions for over 20 years.  He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego.  Mr. Simone’s office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Tel: 619-235-6180, website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email [email protected]