Below are questions asked by rental property owners regarding California property management, followed by answers provided by the law firm of Simone and Blevins.
Effective June 24, 2023, the city of San Diego enacted the new Residential Tenant Protections. Ordinance No. O-21647. This new ordinance amended and replaced the Tenant’s Right to Know Ordinance that was enacted in March 2004. The new law requires certain landlords in the city of San Diego to comply with new just cause termination requirements and provide relocation benefits to tenants.
If your property is subject to the new law, you must provide the following notice to your tenant(s) no later than September 22, 2023 (within 90 days of June 24, 2023) with a copy of the San Diego Tenant Protection Guide:
Notice to Tenant of Residential Tenant Protections “California law limits the amount your rent can be increased. See California Civil Code section 1947.12 for more information. Local law also provides that a landlord shall provide a statement of cause in any notice to terminate a tenancy. In some circumstances, tenants who are seniors (62 years or older) or disabled, may be entitled to additional tenant protections. See Chapter 9, Article 8, Division 7 of the San Diego Municipal Code for more information.”
The new ordinance and Tenant Protection Guide is found here:
Q: I own an apartment complex in the city of San Diego. The new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections does not say anything about rent caps. My tenant’s rent is $1,200 and I want to raise the rent to $1,500. Can I raise my tenant’s rent by 25%?
A: No, the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (the “Act”) caps the percentage you may increase the rent. Since your property is located in the city of San Diego, you must comply with the rent caps of the Act and the Just-Cause termination requirements of the San Diego Residential Tenant Protections. Under the Act, an annual rent increase is limited to 5 percent, plus the percentage change in the local cost of living but not to exceed 10%. Under the Act, the “Percentage change in the local cost living” or inflation, is defined as the percentage change from April 1st of the prior year to April 1st of the current year in the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the region where the residential rental property is located. This data is published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The San Diego Metropolitan Area’s annual inflation rate was 5.3%, so you can raise your tenant’s rent by 10% (5% + 5.3% capped at 10%). If the tenant’s rent was $1,200 as of September 1, 2023, you could raise monthly rent by as much as $120.00.
All buildings constructed in the last 15 years are exempt from this rent cap provision. However, this exemption is also a rolling exemption, which means that the rental cap will apply to buildings 15 years after the date of construction.
Q: I own a four-plex in the city of San Diego. My tenants are on a month-to-month agreement and they have lived at my property under one-year. Do I have to give my tenant just cause under the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections?
A: Yes, just cause requirements under the San Diego Residential Tenant Protection s apply on the first day of tenancy if the tenancy is for more than 30 days.
Q: I am having issues with one of my tenants that lives in my apartment complex in the city of San Diego, and I want to terminate their tenancy. Do I have to give my tenant just cause under the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections to terminate their tenancy?
A: Yes, you can only terminate the tenancy with just cause. Which means you are required to provide a 60-day notice with just cause. However, if your issues with the tenant deal with a curable lease violation then, you must first give the tenant notice of the violation and allow them an opportunity to cure the violation. If the tenant fails to cure the violation within the time period set forth in your notice, you may terminate the tenancy by serving a three-day notice to quit without an opportunity to cure.
Q: I am a homeowner in the city of San Diego that rents one of my rooms out to a tenant. I want to terminate their tenancy. Do I have to give just cause under the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections? Are there any types of tenancies that are exempt from giving just cause?
A: No, you do not have to give just cause. The just cause requirements do not apply to single-family owner-occupied residences where the owner rents or leases no more than two bedrooms.
Q: I gave my tenant a 60-day notice with just cause and the tenant is telling me that I must pay them relocation benefits under the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections. What are relocation benefits and when does a landlord have to pay them?
A: Under the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protection, a landlord is required to pay relocation benefits for all no-fault just cause terminations by a direct payment or rent waiver equal to two month’s rent or three months to tenants who are seniors (62 years or older) or disabled, regardless of the tenant’s income. No-fault just cause reasons include terminations to have the owner or owner’s relative occupy the unit, withdrawal from the rental market, a government order, or intent to demolish or substantially remodel the unit. These termination notices are highly technical and should not be served without consulting counsel.
Q: I own a multi-unit rental property in the city of San Diego and I know that new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections apply to my property. Do I have to follow both the California Tenant Protection Act and this new law enacted in the City of San Diego?
A: In general, the just cause provisions of the California Tenant Protection Act do not apply to properties that are subject to local just cause ordinances that are more protective than the Act. The new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections is more protective and will apply to your property. You must still comply with the rent caps of the Act.
Q: If I have more questions about the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections what should I do?
A: Review the new San Diego Residential Tenant Protections and contact your attorney if you are unsure how to proceed.
The law firm of Simone & Blevins has been doing evictions for over 28 years. The 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].