As we near the January 1st implementation of new statewide rent control and eviction protections, news has been circulating of landlords issuing notices of large rent increases or evicting existing tenants to raise rents before the new law officially kicks in. In response, cities such as Milpitas, Redwood City, Daly City, and Santa Cruz in Northern California and Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Pomona in Southern California have been passing their own urgency ordinances to prohibit such rent increases and evictions.
Then, during a week of high winds and numerous wildfires started throughout the state, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency that includes anti-price gouging measures and prohibits rent increases above 10% statewide. While the emergency ordinance is only active for a 30-day period through November 25th, it can be extended by the governor, and it covers all properties, not just those that will be subject to the new law starting January 1st. This declaration of a state of emergency prohibits landlords from evicting tenants and renting to a new tenant for more than 10% over what the previous tenant was paying (Penal Code section 396).
The bottom line for California landlords right now is that raising rents is risky business. Even if you think you have a fair case to be made, there is a patchwork of state and local limits you must navigate and you will definitely want to seek competent legal counsel before proceeding.
If you have property that will be covered by the new law starting January 1st, be sure to check out our upcoming webinar on Understanding California’s New Statewide Rent and Eviction Controls to make sure you are prepared for what lies ahead.