Costa Mesa Looks to Restrict Evictions for Repairs, Renovation

Costa Mesa Looks to Restrict Evictions for Repairs, Renovation

The Civic Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Nov. 16, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

8/10/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Costa Mesa officials are considering imposing more regulations on landlords when it comes to evictions for repairs and remodeling.
Councilors unanimously voted to direct city staff at a city council meeting Aug. 1 to draft a new eviction ordinance to be brought back before the council in a future meeting.
Currently, evictions in California fall under two categories under the Tenant Protection Act of 2019: “at fault just cause” and “no-fault just cause.”
At fault is when a renter has violated the lease agreement or contributed to the reason for eviction, whereas no fault involves an owner clearing out the rental property for extensive modifications or for personal use.
Landlords that own multi-family housing—such as an apartment building or housing complex that contains three or more units—that are built more than 15 years ago are required to follow the state law for long-term renters, or those who have been renting for at least 12 months.
For no-fault eviction, a landlord only needs to provide an intent to remodel or renovate their property to evict a tenant, as well as forgo one month’s rent as a form of compensation.
Housing units for rent in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Nov. 16, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Housing units for rent in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Nov. 16, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

According to city staff, a new ordinance could further restrict when no-fault evictions are allowed and might follow existing rules enacted by the cities of Long Beach and Buena Park.
Buena Park’s recently passed ordinance requires property owners who are evicting tenants for renovations to offer two months’ rent—in the case of immediate eviction—or forgo the payments, instead of the state-mandated one month. The ordinance also requires landlords to apply for and obtain a city permit for proposed demolition or renovation instead of just a statement of intent. Violators face a penalty of up to $15,000.
In Long Beach, landlords can only evict tenants for “substantial” remodeling, with the definition of such set forth in its ordinance.
Some Costa Mesa residents said some landlords threaten to raise rents or evict when a repair is needed, which can leave unprepared families without a home.
“My family and myself had been evicted, and we have two months to move. … [The landlord] didn’t give us an option to relocate or to move back,” one Costa Mesa resident of 30 years said during the meeting’s public comment.
She said her family is struggling to move as most landlords now require renters to earn an income three times the amount of monthly rent. The speaker’s daughter said the landlord told them to move out so the apartment can be remodeled, after they complained about mold in the restroom.
Before the council approved the motion, Mayor John Stephens recommended that any such ordinance be customized to fit Costa Mesa’s situation.
“If we pass something it should be narrowly targeted to the specific issues that are presenting themselves in Costa Mesa, that are causing unjust evictions or conditions that are uninhabitable,” he said.
The date for city staff to return with the draft ordinance has yet to be determined.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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