New 2017 Tenant Laws
2017 ushered in a host of state and local laws that affect your legals rights as a tenant:
New State Tenant Laws
The California legislature enacted several laws protecting tenants, including creating new laws related to bed bugs, regulating condominium pesticide treatment notices and procedures, and augmenting rules pertaining to public accessibility of court records in unlawful detainer proceedings.
AB-551 – “Bed Bug Law” (Effective 1/1/17)
This law establishes a landlord’s duty to ensure prompt treatment and control of bed bugs. Starting July 1, 2017, a landlord must provide written notice to a prospective tenant that includes:
- Information about bed bug identification, behavior, and biology; the importance of cooperation for prevention and treatment; and the necessity of prompt written reporting of suspected infestations; and
- The procedure to report suspected infestations to the landlord.
The law also prohibits retaliatory action against a tenant who has notified the landlord of a bed bug infestation. It also prohibits a landlord from leasing, or offering to rent any vacant unit that the landlord knows or should reasonably know has an active bed bug infestation.
AB-2819 – “Unlawful Detainer Masking” (Effective 1/1/17)
Prior to the enactment of this law, if a tenant did not prevail in an eviction lawsuit within sixty days, all court records relating to the case became public. This meant that even if a tenant ultimately won, they would still have a record of involvement in an eviction on their record. The new state-wide law reforms California Code of Civil Procedure section 1161.2 to ensure that all court records during an eviction proceeding remain private unless a landlord prevails within sixty days of filing the lawsuit.
AB-2362 – “Condominium Pesticide Treatment Law” (Effective 1/1/17)
The Condominium Pesticide Treatment Law requires a homeowner association to give tenants living in condominiums at least forty-eight hours’ notice whenever the unit or common areas are to be treated with pesticides by an unlicensed exterminator. The notice must include the following information:
- The pests to be controlled;
- The name and brand of the pesticide products to be used;
- The approximate date, time, and frequency with which the exterminator will apply the pesticides;
- Additional language specified in the newly-added California Civil Code section 4777.
New Rental Ordinances Passed in 2016
For the first time in history, voters in Richmond and Mountain View approved measures granting broad protections to tenants, including caps on rental increases and eviction protections.
Richmond Measure L (Effective 12/30/16)
Richmond voters approved a rental ordinance that caps annual rent increases at 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index, creates a five-member rent board, and requires just cause for evictions. As a result, some Richmond tenants will see their rents rolled back to the amount they were paying on or before July 21, 2015, or if they moved in after this date, their initial rental amount. Additionally, landlords of rent-controlled units are prohibited from raising rent until September 1, 2017. At that time, the rent can only be raised by a specific amount, which the Richmond Rent Board will soon determine.
For more information, please refer to our full Richmond Rent Control article.
Mountain View Measure V (Effective 12/23/16 – Currently Suspended in Part)
This law limits annual rent increases to between 2% and 5%, based on the Consumer Price Index. Additionally, the law now requires landlords have just cause to evict certain tenants in Mountain View. It also created a five-member Rental Housing Committee to set base rents, determine allowable annual rent adjustments, establish penalty amounts, and establish regulations.
Unfortunately, Measure V is currently being challenged in court. As a result, pending hearings and a court ruling that will likely take place in early 2017, all portions of the measure, except for the just cause for evictions provision, are temporarily suspended and unenforceable. Until the case is heard, Mountain View tenants have just cause for eviction protections but do not have rent increase protections. Tobener Ravenscroft LLP will update all relevant material upon the finality of a court ruling. During this time, landlords must still offer a six-month and twelve-month lease option to all new and renewing tenants under Mountain View’s Right to a Lease Ordinance.
For additional information, please read our complete Mountain View Tenant Assistance and Relocation Program article.
Rental Ordinance Amendments
Voters in several Bay Area cities approved measures amending existing rental ordinances. Although tenants in these cities already enjoy certain rental protections, these changes increase tenants’ rights and enhance existing rent ordinances.
Oakland Measure JJ (Effective 2/1/17)
Measure JJ made the following changes to the Oakland Municipal Code:
- Landlords of rent controlled units are now required to obtain preapproval from the Rent Board for rent increases above 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index;
- Eviction protections under the city’s existing just cause for eviction ordinance are now expanded to rental units constructed on or before December 31, 1995;
- The Oakland Rent Board has enhanced authority to strengthen public information and awareness by providing yearly notice to tenants about the amount of the annual rent adjustment, banking past rent increases, and information about the rental ordinance and rent board procedures such as challenging a rent increase.
For further information, read our guide on Oakland Rent Control.
Berkeley Measure AA (Effective 12/18/16)
This measure amends Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance in the following ways:
- Requires that landlords pay $15,000 to all tenants in units evicted for owner move-ins;
- Prohibits owner move-in evictions of families with school-age children during the academic year;
- Clarifies that only units that received a certificate of occupancy after June 30, 1980 are exempt from rent control, but landlords of such units must still file eviction notices with the Berkeley Rent Board;
- Clarifies that security deposits shall bear interest at a rate in accordance with the Berkeley Rental Ordinance.
Please read our Berkeley Rent Control Guide for a complete review of Berkeley’s rent control laws.
Alameda Measure L1 (Effective 12/6/16)
This law requires mediation for rent increases above five percent, requires just cause for most evictions, and requires landlords to pay tenant relocation fees when terminating certain tenancies, such as those where the tenants are senior or disabled. The law does not establish a base rent or provide rent increase caps, but provides mediation services related to proposed rent increases over five percent.
Be sure to read Tobener Ravenscroft LLP’s full Alameda Rent Control article.
East Palo Alto Measure J (Effective 12/5/16)
The new amendment to the city’s existing Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance simplifies and clarifies various provisions of the law. Most notably, that a landlord may only increase rent once per year, and that the increase may not exceed 10 percent of the tenant’s current rent.
New State Tenant Laws
In 2016, the California legislature enacted several laws protecting tenants, including creating new law related to bed bugs, regulating condominium pesticide treatment notices and procedures, and augmenting rules pertaining to public accessibility of court records in unlawful detainer proceedings.
Tobener Ravenscroft LLP is a full-service tenants’ rights firm representing tenants. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, please consider legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact Tobener Ravenscroft LLP at (415) 504-2165.