Rent Control in San Diego

One of the biggest cities in California, San Diego’s rules and regulations for rent control have been changing constantly, especially with the introduction of AB 1482. Distinguishing the specific laws for different properties and areas has become increasingly complex. So, this guide is here to help you with all the key aspects and laws that might affect your rental home in San Diego. 

Understanding What Is Rent Control?

Rent control is a set of legislations or regulations restricting the amount by which landlords can increase rents on residential properties. The aim is to protect tenants from significant and arbitrary rent hikes, ensuring that housing remains affordable. 

AB 1482

AB 1482 came into effect on January 1, 2020, and has implications for multifamily units aged over 15 years. The age threshold adjusts annually, affecting properties built in or before a specified year.

The following properties are exempted from AB 1482. 

Rent Caps

AB 1482 imposes rent caps for affected properties, as explained below. 

Annual rent increases cannot exceed 5% plus the change in the cost of living, capped at 10% in total. Landlords are limited to two increments over 12 months.

Just Cause Eviction

Regarding No-Fault terminations, landlords must provide a relocation payment equal to one month’s rent, regardless of the tenant’s income. This payment must be made within 15 days of serving the notice, with the option to waive the last month’s rent.

SB 91 (Senate Bill)

Senate Bill 91, effective since February 1, 2021, acknowledges the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides relief for tenants and landlords. 

A key facet of SB 91 is its influence on rent control, specifically applying the just-cause eviction provisions outlined in AB 1482 to all properties. While it adopts just-cause eviction reasons from AB 1482, it doesn’t incorporate other aspects of the AB 1482 bill, focusing on eviction provisions.

Eviction Ban

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors introduced an eviction ban in early May 2021, which brought in a set of measures and rules. 

No matter if the notice has already been given, it’s no longer valid due to this ban. During the ban, the just cause provisions outlined in AB 1482 or the San Diego Just Cause ordinance will no longer be applicable.

Price Gouging 

Governed by Penal Code Section 396, California’s stance on price gouging extends tenant protections, particularly during states of emergency. The law imposes a 10% limit on rent increases for a specified period following the declaration of a state of emergency. This restriction applies whether the unit remains occupied or becomes vacant. 

Even if a property falls outside AB 1482 provisions, there are constraints on rent hikes as long as the emergency order remains in effect in California. 

Like any regulatory framework, rent control policies in San Diego have advantages and disadvantages for landlords and tenants. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Advantages of Rent Control For Tenants 

Stability and Predictability

Protection from Excessive Increases

Just Cause Evictions

Disadvantages of Rent Control For Tenants 

Quality of Housing

Limited Rental Options

Advantages of Rent Control For Landlords 

Stable Rental Income

Long-Term Tenancies

 Reduced Administrative Burden


Also Read: Section 8 in San Diego: How it works?

Disadvantages of Rent Control For Landlords 

Limited Profit Potential

Maintenance and Upgrades


Wrapping it up, rent control in San Diego isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. But we hope this blog has helped you understand its complexities, as these rules are essential for tenants and landlords to stay in the loop. 

However, not all homes are covered by these rules, so it’s crucial to know the details. You can hire a property management professional from Sunset PM for free rental analysis. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How much rent can a landlord increase in San Diego?In San Diego, landlords are bound by rent control regulations, and they can’t hike up the rent by more than 10% total or 5%, along with the percentage change in the cost of living—whichever happens to be lower—over a span of 12 months. 
  2. What is the Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482)?AB 1482 is a statewide rent control law in California that came into run on January 1, 2020. It mandates landlords to provide a “just cause” to terminate a tenant, but it does not cover all rental units, and there are exemptions based on several factors. 
  3. How many times are landlords allowed to raise the rent in California?In California, landlords can’t raise the rent more than once a year. This rule is set by the Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482) and local rent control rules. Clear communication with tenants is vital. Landlords should be transparent about planned rent increases and provide ample notice to ensure compliance with applicable laws. 


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