Federal, state, and local eviction moratoria are starting to expire and will soon be a thing of the past. But if you’re a residential landlord with problem tenants, the end of those emergency restrictions doesn’t mean a return to pre-pandemic eviction-as-usual.
The lease termination process you will need to navigate in 2021 is far different from the one you were used to in 2019. That’s because, on October 8, 2019, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) was signed into law. That Act instituted a statewide system of residential rent control and restrictions on residential lease termination. But those new lease termination requirements were only in place for a few months when they were temporarily eclipsed by COVID-related moratoria, so most landlords didn’t have a chance to become familiar with the new procedures mandated by the Act. Now that those moratoria are disappearing, residential landlords need to reacquaint themselves with the Act’s requirements. Before you terminate a residential lease or begin eviction proceedings, here are some important things you need to know about the Tenant Protection Act of 2019:
It Doesn’t Just Cover New Leases. If all tenants have occupied the premises for 12 months, or if even one tenant has occupied the premises for at least 24 months, the lease and the tenants are protected by the Act.
The Lease Can Only Be Terminated for “Just Cause.” An unspecified or loosely defined event of default under the lease doesn’t automatically give the landlord the right to terminate the lease. Instead, the lease can only be terminated for “just cause” as that term is defined by the Act.
Terminating the Lease when the Tenant is at Fault. There are 11 types of “at-fault” just cause which allow the landlord to terminate the lease based on the tenant’s acts or omissions:
Terminating the Lease when the Tenant is Not at Fault. In certain situations, the Act permits the landlord to terminate the lease even where the tenant has done nothing wrong. Here are the four types of “no-fault” just cause:
Sometimes You’ll Have to Pay the Tenant upon Termination. If you terminate the lease for “no-fault” just cause, you’ll have to provide relocation benefits to the tenant.
Not All Residential Properties are Covered by the Act. While the Act covers most residential properties, some are exempt from the Act’s lease termination provisions:
Finally, Don’t Forget About City and County Ordinances. The Act provides a minimum level of protection to tenants. If the local ordinances in the city or county where the property is located offer better protection to tenants than the Act, landlords must comply with those local ordinances.
A responsive and detail-oriented advocate, Craig Hardwick helps clients successfully meet a broad range of real estate needs. The Chairman of AlvaradoSmith’s Real Estate and Land Use Transactions Department, he has managed and led a variety of real estate transactions over the course of his career: from acquisition to sale, and everything in between, including procurement of real estate development entitlements, construction, financing, and leasing.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional counsel or legal advice. Seek legal counsel for advice with respect to any legal matter. The information in this document may not reflect the most current developments as the subject matter is extremely fluid and may change daily. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein are subject to change.