This article was posted on Saturday, Jul 01, 2017

On May 9, 2017, the San Jose City Council adopted the Tenant Protection Ordinance. Additionally, the City Council adopted an Urgency Ordinance making the new regulations effective immediately.

The Tenant Protection Ordinance outlines landlord responsibilities and tenant rights regarding notices to terminate.  Under the Tenant Protection Ordinance, landlords of multifamily dwellings, guesthouses and unpermitted units will only be authorized to terminate tenancy under one of the following 12 listed causes:

Just Cause Reasons Based on Tenant Actions

  1. Nonpayment of rent
  2. Violation of the lease
  3. Damage to the apartment
  4. Refusal to agree to a similar or new rental agreement
  5. Disorderly behavior disturbing the peace
  6. Refusing access to the apartment requested in accordance with laws
  7. Unapproved holdover subtenant

Just Cause Reasons Based on Landlord Decision or Consequence of Action

  1. Substantial rehabilitation of the apartment
  2. Removal of apartments from the rental market under the Ellis Act
  3. Owner move-in
  4. City code enforcement actions requiring a move-out
  5. Convert an unpermitted apartment for permitted use

What Types of Buildings “Just Cause” Applies to:

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  • Rent stabilized apartments – (rental units subject to the city’s rent ordinance)
  • Rental apartments, except permitted hotels and motels
  • Guest rooms in any guesthouse
  • Unpermitted dwellings – (a structure of parts of a structure that are being rented as a home, residence or sleeping place where the use is not authorized, permitted or approved by the City) 

Buildings Exempt from “Just Cause”

  • Duplexes
  • Single-family homes
  • Permitted second units
  • Single family condominiums – (condos that have homeowner associations and are owned by individual owners would be treated as single family homes)
  • Townhouses

New Landlord Requirements When Terminating a Tenancy

The Tenant Protection Ordinance states that property owners comply with the below requirements when terminating a tenancy:


  1. Landlords must serve the notice of termination to the tenant AND also provide a copy of that notice to the City’s Rental Rights and Referrals Program
  2.  The notice of termination must include a “just cause” reason


For more detailed information on the Tenant Protection Ordinance, please visit the city of San Jose’s website at


Patricia Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners Association News and Buyers Guide.