California's AB1482 is a new law that affects landlords and tenants in California in a number of ways. It's important to know what is in the law and how it will impact you in various situations.
What is AB1482?
AB1482 is also known as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The key provisions are that it:
- Caps annual rent increases at 5% plus a cost of living increase registered by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- Requires landlords to have just cause to evict tenants who have occupied a unit for at least 12 months (24 months when an adult tenant is added to the lease).
Landlords can still evict at any time for a good reason, such as failure to pay rent or criminal activity. They can also evict for certain legitimate no-fault reasons, such as if they plan on occupying the property themselves, if they intend to remove the property from the market, or substantial remodeling. However, they have to provide a waiver of a month's rent for relocation assistance as needed. The bill is currently set to sunset in 2030.
When Did this Law Go Into Effect?
AB1482 was passed in October, 2019 and went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Is AB1482 a Rent Control Law?
Yes and no. It's being touted as state rent control by some, but it is in fact a bill to control rent increases. Traditionally, rent control imposed an absolute limit on the amount of rent you can charge. Technically, AB1482 is a rent-stabilization law, as it allows for periodic rent increases. However, to many people this is a somewhat pedantic definition and it's likely that AB1482 will mostly be called rent control. The sponsor of the bill, David Chiu, calls it an "anti-rent-gouging" bill, and the fairly high cap compared to other rent stabilization laws points towards that.
What Protection does AB1482 Offer to Tenants?
The primary purpose of AB1482 is to protect tenants from untenably high rent hikes (the law does not prevent a landlord from raising the rent for new tenants). It also prevents landlords from evicting tenants without a good reason.
Obviously, it doesn't protect you from being evicted if you fail to pay your rent or break the lease. Specifically, you can still be evicted if:
- You fail to pay your rent.
- You breach a material term of the lease.
- You commit a "nuisance" or waste.
- You did not sign your lease renewal in time.
- You engage in criminal activity on the property.
- You threaten your landlord.
- You sublet without permission.
- You refuse to allow the owner to enter the property (as long as they follow by the rules).
- Your landlord intends to occupy the property or allow an immediate family member to occupy it. After July, this will only be allowed if a clause in the lease specifies it.
- The property is being removed from the market.
- The owner is complying with a court order relating to habitability, or any other court order or local ordinance.
- The owner intends to demolish or substantially remodel the property. "Substantially" means basically that it wouldn't be safe for the tenant to remain.
The tenant has to be notified of lease violations and given a chance to correct them. Also, if you're evicted for something that's not your fault, such as remodeling, the landlord must either give you a payment to help relocate or give you the last month rent free. This fixes the issue in the past where landlords were allowed to evict without stating a reason; this basically removed protections against retaliation.
The law doesn't apply to:
- Residential facilities for the elderly.
- College dorms.
- Owner-occupied duplexes including ADUs.
- Housing that is 15 years old or younger, in order to cover building expenses.
- Affordable housing, which has its own separate rules.
- Single-family homes.
How Does this Affect Residents in Cities which Already Have Rent Control?
If the rent control in your jurisdiction is as good as or better than AB1482, AB1482 does not apply. That is to say, if you already have rent control, you most likely won't be affected by the law. However if, for example, the rent control limit in your city is 6% rather than 5%, AB1482 will apply. In short, cities and counties may apply rent control laws that are more favorable than the ones in AB1482, but not less.
The law does not affect any tenant protections that are not related to rent raises or eviction.
How Are Landlords Reacting to AB1482?
Needless to say, some landlords and landlord organizations are reacting poorly. Doug Bigby, president of the National Multifamily Housing Council, argued that it would discourage investment and actually reduce the availability of affordable housing. Others, however, felt that it was of some value. Vacancy decontrol, for example, stays in the law; this means that when a unit is vacated, apartment owners can raise the rent to market rate.
Some landlords actually bought more units that are already under rent control when the bill was announced, hoping that they would be more predictable. The California Apartment Association, the largest landlords' organization in the state, withdrew its opposition during final negotiations. In other areas with rent control, landlords have converted buildings to condos to make more money.
For other landlords, the law may have minimal impact due to the relatively high cap (most local rent control laws have caps of between 1 and 4 percent). However, it will mostly impact tenants in cheaper apartments that tend to see higher rent increases. Most developers don't feel that the new law will in any way reduce new construction.
AB1482 is basically intended to prevent landlords from raising rent by ridiculous amounts (hikes of 10% or more have not been unknown) or evicting tenants because they complained. It is not traditional rent control, but should provide something of a break on the high rent increases often seen by lower income residents.
VerticalRent offers services to landlords and tenants including the ability to pay rent online and help landlords screen tenants so as to reduce problems and evictions. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today.
About the author
Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America.