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City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance

The City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance went into effect September 12, 2019.  The ordinance limits the amount a tenant’s rent can be increased annually and prohibits evictions of tenants unless there is a just cause to do so.  An amendment to the Ordinance was placed on the 2020 ballot that would have adopted more restrictive measures and provided tenants with relocation benefits for certain evictions, but the voters failed to pass the amendment. 

Can tenants waive their rights under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

No.  Any provision in a lease or rental agreement that waives a tenants rights under the ordinance is against public policy and void.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.100.

When will the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance sunset?

The City’s ordinance is in effect until December 31, 2024.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.150.

Which properties are covered under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

Almost all multi-unit residential buildings built before February 1,1995 are covered under the Tenant Protection Act for both rent caps and just-cause eviction. 

The following properties are exempt from the ordinance:

  • Units built after February 1, 1995.
  • Single-family homes, condominiums, and stock cooperatives.
  • Units which a tenant shares a bathroom or kitchen with the property owner.
  • Units that the landlord or the landlord’s immediate family occupy as their primary residence.
  • Hotels, motels, inns, tourist homes, or rooming and boarding houses that are rented for a period of less than thirty days.
  • Hospitals, medical care facilities, residential care facilities, asylums, or group homes for seniors or the disabled.
  • Transitional housing programs for the homeless.
  • Convents and monasteries.
  • Fraternity houses, sorority houses, and a dormitories owned and operated by an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Units that are either owned, operated, or subsidized by a government entity or low income housing.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.030

Does my tenancy fall under the State of California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 or the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

The rent-ceiling and just-cause eviction protections under the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“California Rent Control”) apply to all units in the City of Sacramento that are not covered by the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance and that otherwise meet the requirements of state rent control.  In general, the city’s rent-ceiling and just-cause for eviction protections apply to multi-unit buildings built before February 1, 1995.  If your Sacramento building was built after February 1, 1995, or is one of the exempt buildings under the city’s ordinance, please read our guide to determine if your unit is covered by State of California Rent Control rent caps and just-cause eviction protections.


ALLOWABLE RENT INCREASES UNDER THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO TENANT PROTECTION ORDINANCE


How much can my rent be increased under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

A tenant’s rent may only be increased once every twelve months up to 5% plus the annual increase in the California Price Index (CPI), the sum of the two not to exceed 10%.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.050.  Effective July 2020, the annual rent adjustment maximum rate is 6% as the current CPI is 1%.

Can my landlord file a petition to increase my rent beyond the annual allowable rent adjustment amount under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

Landlords may file a petition to increase a tenant’s rent above the allowable annual rent adjustment percent if the landlord can demonstrate that the adjustment is necessary to provide a fair rate of return.   Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.060. 

Can tenants file a petition to decrease their rent under certain circumstances under the City of Sacrament Tenant Protection Ordinance?

In most rent-controlled jurisdictions, a tenant may petition the local rent board for various issues such as a reduction in rent due to a reduction in services or for an illegal rent increase notice.  The City of Sacramento does not have a rent board like other jurisdictions.  Instead, tenants may file a complaint with the city’s hearing examiner when their landlord violates the ordinance.  It is unclear what relief the city’s hearing examiner may provide to a petitioning tenant. 

Are landlords allowed to “bank” rent increases under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

The ordinance is silent on whether a landlord can “bank” rent increases not taken annually and impose them at a later date.


JUST-CAUSE EVICTION PROTECTIONS UNDER THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO TENANT PROTECTION ORDINANCE


What are the just-cause reasons for eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

Once a tenant has resided in the unit for twelve or more months, the landlord must have a just-cause reason to terminate a tenancy covered by the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090.  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 the lease or rental agreement after the tenant has been served with a notice to cure the violation and refuses to do so.
  • Refusal to give the landlord access to the unit.
  • Engaging in criminal activity or creating a nuisance.  Id.

The following are the no-fault reasons for eviction:

  • The landlord in good faith seeks to make substantial repairs to the unit to bring the unit into code compliance.
  • The landlord seeks in good faith to move into the unit or move a member of their immediate family into the unit. (Owner or relative move-in eviction)
  • The landlord seeks in good faith to withdraw the building from the rental market. (Ellis Act eviction).  Id.

What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant for substantial repairs to the unit under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

To evict a tenant for substantial repairs, the landlord must obtain necessary permits, the work must render the unit uninhabitable for at least thirty days, and before the tenant vacates, the landlord must offer the tenant the right to reoccupy the unit at the same rent once repairs are complete or to move to a comparable rental unit owned by the landlord for the same rent as the vacated unit.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090.

How much notice am I entitled to for an eviction for substantial repairs under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

A tenant is entitled to an advanced written notice of at least 120 days.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090. 

What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant for an owner or relative move-in under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

A landlord wishing to move themselves or a family member into a unit must have good faith to reside in the property for at least twelve months.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090.  The landlord must also be a natural person (not a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, association, or trust company) and own at least 51% of the building.  Id.

Under the ordinance, “immediate family” means spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child and grandchild, whether related by blood, birth, adoption, marriage or registered domestic partnership.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.020. 

The ordinance does not say how long after the tenant vacates that the landlord or family member must remain in the unit.  The ordinance is also silent on a tenant’s right to return to the unit if the landlord fails to move.  

How much notice am I entitled to for an owner- or relative-move-in eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

A tenant is entitled to an advanced written notice of at least 120 days.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090. 

Am I protected from an owner- or relative-move-in eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance if I am elderly or disabled?

No.  The ordinance does not provide elderly or disabled tenants special protections from owner- or relative move-in evictions.  

What requirements must be met by the landlord to evict a tenant through an Ellis Act eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

To withdraw the unit from the rental market, the landlord must seek in good faith to withdraw all units in the building.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090.  A rental unit withdrawal notice must first be filed with the City before the landlord can provide notice to the tenant.  Id.

How much notice am I entitled to for an Ellis Act eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

A tenant is entitled to an advanced written notice of at least 120 days.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.090. 

Am I protected from an Ellis Act eviction under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance if I am elderly or disabled?

Generally, tenants are not protected from an Ellis Act eviction, but a tenant may be entitled to a longer notice period.  Cal. Gov. Code § 7060.4.  If you are at least 62 years old or are disabled and have resided in your rental unit for at least one year you may be entitled to a one-year extension.  Id

Am I entitled to relocation benefits if I am evicted for a no-fault reason under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

No.  At this time, the ordinance does not require landlords to pay relocation benefits to tenants that are displaced due to a no-fault eviction such as an eviction for owner or relative move-in, Ellis Act, or to conduct substantial repairs. 

Are there any requirements under the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance for a tenant and landlord to enter into a buyout agreement to terminate a tenancy?

No.  There are no regulations regarding buyout agreements in the City of Sacramento.


PENALTIES FOR A LANDLORD WHO VIOLATES THE LAW


Can I sue my landlord for violating the City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance?

Unfortunately, tenants do not have a private right of action under the ordinance to sue their landlord.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 5.156.120.  However, a landlord that violates the ordinance may be subject to criminal sanctions, civil action, and administrative penalties brought by the City of Sacramento.  Sacramento, Cal. Mun. Code § 1.28.010.  In certain circumstances, tenants may have common law rights to pursue claims for unfair business practice, negligence, trespass or fraud. 

The City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Ordinance is relatively new and the city acknowledges it is still a work in progress. 

Tenants who have questions about the law or who believe their landlord has violated the ordinance should call Tobener Ravenscroft LLP at (415) 504-2165 to speak with a tenant attorney.

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