For San Diego rental property owners, the last couple years have been somewhat bewildering, first with the implementation of AB 1482 and then the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been difficult to keep up with all the changes that has caused, and the new ordinances have many owners wondering which properties are actually affected. Here at Sunset Property Management, we have spent many hours of time in an effort to understand all the new regulations, and we have passed that information on to our clients. In this article, we’ll be discussing how the ordinances and San Diego rent control California laws might be affecting your rental property.
What rent control California boils down to is the process of managing any rental increases associated with a building or a property. Laws regarding rent control will generally limit the amount of rent that can be imposed annually. For the most part, these laws are intended to protect tenants rather than landlords. If there were no restrictions on rent pricing, landlords could raise rents by any amount they choose to, regardless of whether it’s reasonable or not.
When rent increases are imposed, they might refer to an actual price, e.g. a two-bedroom unit cannot exceed $1750, or the increase might be in the form of a flat percentage, e.g. rent cannot be raised by more than 5% in any given year. In some cases, rent control California laws refer to how frequently rent can be raised. Not all states and cities do have rent control laws, but some of the biggest metro areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, do have them.
This new law went into effect after January 1, 2020 and it primarily affects multi-family units which are greater than 15 years old, as well as properties that are either partially or completely owned by a corporation. Here are some exemptions to the new law:
- housing which is governed by a deed, some kind of regulatory restriction, or a similar recorded document such as an affordable housing document
- college dormitories
- housing which is subject to other limiting ordinances regarding rent control
- properties which have been constructed during the last 15 years
- owner-occupied housing where the owner maintains a principal residence and shares either kitchen or bathroom facilities with tenants
- an owner-occupied duplex
- condominiums and single-family homes, and the condominium owner cannot be a corporation, an LLC, or a real estate investment trust
- non-profit hospital occupancy, residential care for elderly occupancy, and religious facility occupancy.
AB 1482 also has provisions for capping the rent of affected properties. Any rent increases during a calendar year must not be greater than 5% plus the percentage change in cost-of-living over the previous year. Also, the rent increase cannot be greater than 10% in total. Landlords cannot increase rent more than twice in a given calendar year. AB 1482 also affects the way just cause eviction provisions might apply to your property. First of all, the provisions don’t apply until an entire year after the tenancy starts. Under AB 1482, there are two different categories of just cause eviction reasons, those being At Fault and No-Fault. Here are some of the At-Fault reasons for just cause eviction:
- Refusal to provide access
- failure to vacate
- default on rent payment
- criminal activity
- breach of lease terms
- nuisance activity
- unlawful purpose
- assigning or subletting.
These are the No-Fault reasons:
- Government order
- withdrawal from rental market
- relative or owner occupancy
- intent to remodel or demolish the home.
Since San Diego has its own just cause ordinances, it’s more than likely that your property will be affected by one of the two groups above. It is advisable to consult with a rental attorney, before initiating any kind of eviction action.
This ordinance was passed in January 2021 with the intention of protecting landlords and tenants who were financially impacted by the pandemic. It’s actually an extension of AB 3088, which was passed in 2020. The greatest impact of SB 891 in terms of rent control is that the just cause eviction provisions of AB 1482 were extended to include all properties, even if they had previously been considered exempt under AB 1482.
In May 2021, an eviction ban was passed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and it applies to the entire county. One effect of this ban is that virtually all evictions are prohibited, unless a given tenant is considered a safety threat. It means no landlords will be able to issue a notice to vacate to any tenant, and it also installs rent caps on some properties within county borders. If you had given your tenant a notice to vacate, that notice would now be considered invalid. No new notices to vacate can be posted by landlords, and the statute makes void any notices which were previously posted.
In 2018, AB 1919 was passed by the state of California, and this declared that rent for a home that is increased by more than 10% during an emergency is a misdemeanor. The emergency declaration would have to be a formal one issued by the governor, and it would be in response to a flood, fire, or earthquake. In 2020, a law was passed to expand on AB 1919, and the terms of the new expansion were issued in SB 1196. This bill declared that the types of emergency declaration could also include pandemic and disease. The emergency order is still in effect in the state of California, so until such time as that emergency declaration has been lifted, you should be cautious about any rental increases.