The City of Long Beach has enacted a Just Cause Termination Ordinance that prohibits eviction of a tenant unless the landlord has a reason listed under the law to do so. Long Beach renters should be aware that the new City ordinance essentially mirrors the eviction protections of the state’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The City of Long Beach also enacted a Tenant Harassment Ordinance to protect tenants from harassment by their landlord.
Does the City of Long Beach have a rent control ordinance?
No. The City of Long Beach does not regulate the amount a tenant’s rent can be increased. However, Long Beach tenants may have rent control under the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“California Rent Control”). For units covered by the rent-ceiling limitations of State of California rent control, a landlord may only increase the rent each year by 5% plus the annual percent change in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”), up to a maximum of 10%. The California Tenant Protection Act applies to all units in Long Beach that meet the requirements of state rent control. In general, your tenancy may fall under state rent control if you live in a multi-unit building that is at least fifteen years old and you have resided in the unit for at least one year. Please read our guide to determine if your unit is covered by State of California Rent Control rent ceiling protections.
Is my landlord required to notify me in writing about the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
Yes. Owners must provide notice to tenants of their rights through the following ways:
- For tenancies that began on or were renewed after July 1, 2020, landlords must provide an addendum to the lease or rental agreement, or have their tenant sign a written notice and provide a copy.
- For tenancies that began before July 1, 2020, landlords must provide an addendum to the lease or rental agreement or provide written notice to the tenant by August 1, 2020.
Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(g).
The notice or addendum must be in 12-point font and shall include required language as follows:
“California law limits the amount your rent can be increased. See Section 1947.12 of the Civil Code for more information. California law also provides that after all the tenants have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more or at least one of the tenants has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months or more, a landlord must provide a statement of cause in any notice to terminate a tenancy. See Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code for more information.” Id.
Which properties are covered under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
Tenants who live in a unit that is 15 years old or older continuously for at least twelve months have eviction protection. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(a). However, if another adult tenant is added to the lease before the original tenant has resided in the unit for twelve months, the household does not have eviction protection until either (1) all adult tenants have continuously and lawfully resided in the unit for twelve or more months, or (2) at least one adult tenant in the unit has continuously and lawfully resided in the unit for twenty-four months. Id.
The ordinance does not apply to the following properties:
- Housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 15 years.
- Transient and tourist hotel occupancy as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1940 of the California Civil Code.
- Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, or licensed residential care facility for the elderly.
- School dormitories.
- Owner-occupied units where the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner.
- Single-family, owner-occupied residences where the owner rents no more than two units or bedrooms to tenants.
- Duplexes where the landlord has continuously resided in one of the units as their principal place of residence since the beginning of the tenancy.
- Housing restricted by deed, regulatory restriction contained in an agreement with a government agency, such as affordable housing units and Section 8 housing.
- Single-family homes and condominiums are exempt if 1) the owner is not a real estate investment trust, corporation, or limited liability company that has a corporation as a member and 2) the tenants have been provided with a notice claiming the exemption that contains the following statement: “This property is not subject to the rent limits imposed by Section 1947.12 of the Civil Code and is not subject to the just cause requirements of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code. This property meets the requirements of Sections 1947.12 (d)(5) and 1946.2 (e)(8) of the Civil Code and the owner is not any of the following: (1) a real estate investment trust, as defined by Section 856 of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) a corporation; or (3) a limited liability company in which at least one member is a corporation.”
- For tenancies that began before July 1, 2020, the notice may, but is not required to, be provided in the rental agreement. For tenancies that began on or renewed on or after July 1, 2020, the notice must be provided in the rental agreement. Id.
Are unincorporated areas protected under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
Unincorporated areas such as Long Beach Islands do not fall under the City of Long Beach’s jurisdiction but may have rent control and just-cause eviction protections under the Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
Can tenants waive their rights under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
No. Any waiver of the rights shall be void as contrary to public policy. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(h).
What are the just-cause reasons for eviction under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
A landlord must have a just-cause reason to terminate a tenancy in Long Beach. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(b). If a landlord does not have one of the permissible reasons for eviction, they cannot force a tenant out of their home.
The following are the for-fault reasons for eviction:
- Failure to pay rent.
- Breach of a material term of a lease that continues after a written notice to cure (i.e., stop) the complained of breach. The written notice must provide at least three days to cure, and if the breach does not stop within the allotted timeframe, the landlord can then serve the tenant a non-curable notice of termination.
- Maintaining, committing, or permitting a nuisance.
- Committing waste.
- Failure to sign a new lease with similar terms after the expiration of the tenant’s current lease.
- Criminal activity on the property, or criminal activity or criminal threat directed at an owner or manager of the property.
- Assigning or subletting in violation of the lease.
- Refusal to provide the owner access to the unit.
- Using the premises for an illegal purpose.
- Failure of a licensee, agent, or employee of the landlord to vacate after termination of the relationship.
- Failure of a tenant to move out after the tenant gives a notice to vacate or after the landlord and tenant agree in writing that the tenant will vacate.
The following are the no-fault reasons for eviction:
- Owner or owner’s relative (owner’s spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents) want to move into the unit.
- Withdrawal of the unit from the rental market.
- City or county agency requires the unit to be vacated due to uninhabitable conditions.
- Intent to demolish or substantially remodel a unit. Id.
What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant through an owner or relative move-in under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
If the tenancy began on or after July 1, 2020, the lease must either contain a provision that allows an owner or relative move-in or, if the lease does not have such a provision, the tenant may agree to the eviction in writing. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(b)(2)(A)(ii).
Tenants should note that the ordinance is silent on how soon the landlord must move into the unit after the tenant vacates, how long the landlord must live in the property as their principal place of residence, and whether the tenant has a right to re-occupy if the landlord moves out of the unit.
How much notice am I entitled to for an owner or relative move-in eviction under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance
If you have resided in the unit for a year or more, you are entitled to a sixty-day written notice. Cal. Civ. Code § 1946.1. If you have resided in the unit for less than a year, you are entitled to a thirty-day written notice. Id.
Is a tenant protected from an owner or relative move-in eviction under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance if they are elderly or disabled?
No. Unfortunately, the City of Long Beach’s ordinance is silent on whether a tenant has protections from an owner or relative move-in eviction based on the tenant’s age or disability.
What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant through a withdrawal from the rental market under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
There are no specific requirements under the City’s ordinance that provide guidance regarding procedures a landlord must follow to remove their property from the rental market in Long Beach. Generally, all units in a building must be removed or demolished, even the unoccupied units, and the building will have strict re-rental restrictions.
What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant for substantial remodel under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
A substantial remodel means work that requires a permit such as the replacement or substantial modification of any structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system, or requires the abatement of hazardous material such as lead, mold or asbestos, and the work cannot be done safely with the tenant in the unit and cannot be done in less than thirty days. Cosmetic improvements such as painting, decorating, and minor repairs, do not qualify for a substantial remodel. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(b)(2)(D).
Landlords are required to first obtain all the necessary permits before they an serve a notice of eviction to their tenants for a substantial remodel. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020 (d). For the city to approve the necessary permits, the landlord must provide a list of the tenants whose tenancies will be terminated. Id. All notices to terminate for substantial remodel must include the following:
- The scope of the substantial remodeling work.
- An explanation as to why the work cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place.
- An explanation as to why the work requires the tenant to vacate for at least 30 days. Id.
When is a tenant entitled to relocation benefits under the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
When a tenant is evicted for a no-fault reason such as an owner or relative move-in, withdrawal from the rental market, demolition, or a substantial remodel, the tenant is eligible for relocation assistance. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(e). The landlord must pay the tenant $4,500 or provide a waiver of two months’ rent that was in effect when the notice was served, whichever is greater. Id. The notice to terminate must state the amount of the relocation. Id. If the landlord pays the tenant $4,500, it must be paid within 15 calendar days after the service of the termination notice. Id.
If the tenant fails to vacate once the notice expires, the landlord can bring an action against the tenant to recover the relocation payment or rent waiver. Id. If the landlord fails to comply with the relocation requirement, the notice to terminate is void. Id.
Am I protected under the City of Long Beach Tenant Harassment Ordinance?
The ordinance applies to all residential units and tenants. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.101.020.
What type of behavior by landlords is prohibited under the City of Long Beach Tenant Harassment Ordinance?
All property owners, or any person acting as principal, agent, contractor, subcontractor, or any representative of the owner, are prohibited from doing any of the following:
- Interrupt or fail to provide housing services required by a rental agreement or by law, or threaten to do so.
- In bad faith, fail to timely perform repairs and maintenance, to exercise due diligence in completing repairs once undertaken, or to follow appropriate industry repair, containment, or remediation protocols designed to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead, paint, mold, asbestos, or other building materials.
- Abuse the right to enter the unit.
- Influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate their unit through fraud, misrepresentation, intimidation, or coercion.
- Threaten a tenant, by word or gesture, or with physical harm, to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
- Discriminate based on race, gender, sexual preference, sexual orientation, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, parenthood, marriage, pregnancy, disability, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), occupancy by a minor child, or source of income.
- Take action to terminate a tenant based upon facts which the landlord has no reasonable cause to believe to be true or upon a legal theory which is untenable under the facts known to the landlord.
- Provide false written or verbal information to a tenant about local, state, or federal tenant protections. This can include mischaracterizing the nature or effect of a notice to quit or notice to evict, forcing a tenant into a rent repayment plan to take advantage of tenant protections when the law does not require such a plan, or force a tenant to sign a new lease not in the tenant’s primary language if lease negotiations were conducted in the tenant’s primary language, the existing lease is in the tenant’s primary language, or the owner is aware that the new lease is not in tenant’s primary language.
- Bad-faith refusal to acknowledge or accept a tenant’s lawful rent payment, refusal to process or cash a payment for over thirty days, or fail to maintain a current address for delivery of rent payments.
- Bad-faith violation of a tenant’s right to privacy.
- Communicate with a tenant in bad faith in a language other than the tenant’s primary language for the purpose of intimidating, confusing, deceiving or annoying the tenant.
- Interfere with the right of tenants to organize, deny property access to tenant organizers, advocates, or representatives working with or on behalf of tenants living at a property, prevent tenant meetings in spaces that are accessible under the terms of the tenants’ leases, or discourage distribution or posting in common areas of literature informing tenants of their rights.
- Other repeated acts or omissions that substantially interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of any person entitled to occupy the unit and that cause, are likely to cause, or are intended to cause that person to vacate the unit or waive their rights.
Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.101.030.
Can I sue my landlord for violation of the City of Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance?
Tenants may sue the owner of the property for intentionally serving an invalid notice to demolish or substantially remodel the tenant’s unit. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(i). An “owner” includes any person acting on behalf of the owner such as property managers, principles, employees, agents, and the like. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(j)(1). A landlord who is found to have intentionally violated this section of the ordinance shall be liable for up to $15,000 and/or reasonable attorney fees, each to be determined by the court. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.99.020(i).
Can I sue my landlord for violation of the City of Long Beach Tenant Harassment Ordinance?
If a property owner, or any person acting as principal, agent, contractor, subcontractor, or any representative of the owner violates the City of Long Beach’s harassment ordinance, they may be liable for the tenant’s money damages, a penalty of up to $5,000 but not less than $2,000 per violation, and any other relief the court deems appropriate. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.101.040(A). If the tenant is older than sixty-five years old or is disabled, the court may award an additional penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. Id. Further, the court may award reasonable attorney fees and costs to a tenant who prevails in their lawsuit. Long Beach, Cal. Mun. Code § 8.101.040(B). The court may also award reasonable attorney fees and costs to an owner who prevails in the lawsuit if the court determines that the tenant’s action was frivolous.
If your landlord has violated the City Long Beach Just Cause Termination of Tenancies Ordinance or the Tenant Harassment Ordinance, call Tobener Ravenscroft LLP at (415) 504-2165 today to speak with a tenant attorney about your rights.