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California to Enact New Law With More Restrictions on ‘No-Fault’ Evictions

California to Enact New Law With More Restrictions on ‘No-Fault’ Evictions

A fence blocks the front of a home that activists occupied during a months-long protest which ended in a court-ordered eviction, in Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 28, 2020. (Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

1/11/2024

Updated: 1/16/2024

Californians will see increased tenant protections this year after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law in September tightening current regulations, which set requirements for how landlords may evict their tenants.
Senate Bill 567, authored by Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), requires proof by a landlord for what’s known as a “no-fault” eviction, and now mandates property owners or a family member occupy their rental for at least 12 months if they have evicted the tenant from the unit for their own use.
The new provisions become effective April 1, 2024.
Under the new law, property owners are required to move in within 90 days of evicting a tenant, who cannot be over 60, disabled, or terminally ill. Additionally, the owner or family member moving in cannot already live in another rental unit on the property, and there must be no comparable units available.
While previous law required a justifiable cause for no-fault evictions, landlords found loopholes according to Ms. Durazo in a recent analysis of the bill, which said some landlords were found to have evicted tenants with the intent of substantial renovations or demolition, or to move in a family member or themselves, but then turned around and re-rented the property at a much higher price instead.
Under the new law, landlords must provide proof of their eviction reasons, such as a permit for construction work or the names of family members moving in.
Also signed into law last year, Assembly Bill 12, reduces the state’s current two-month rent security deposit for unfurnished apartments and three months for furnished ones, to now just one month’s rent in both cases.
“When renters can’t afford deposits they often have to borrow from predatory lenders, go into debt, or just stay put,” said Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill and also chairs the Assembly Renters Caucus, in an April press release.
In the same press release, Mr. Haney noted that the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $5,000, which could mean a move-in cost of up to $15,000. He said red and blue states alike have capped security deposits to one month’s rent, including New York, Kansas, Hawaii, and Alabama.
Under the new law which became effective Jan. 1, small landlords who own two or fewer properties, totaling no more than four rental units, would still be allowed to charge two months of rent for security deposits, except when renting to military veterans, according to an Assembly analysis of the bill.
Some opposed to the new law, however, said landlords will be more selective and require higher credit scores for renters, without the safety cushion of a larger security deposit.
“They’re going to require higher credit scores. They’re going to require higher verification of income, and it’s going to squeeze out the bottom,” Chip Ahlswede, vice president of external affairs for the Apartment Association of Orange County, told The Epoch Times in an interview last year.
Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles told The Epoch Times, also in an interview last year, reducing the amount of security deposit is not the way to create more affordable housing.
“In fact, it’s going to have the exact opposite impact that the Legislature wants it to have ... because owners aren’t going to be able to balance the risk of taking on a tenant that may not quite meet their financial criteria. They’re just going to be denied,” he said.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

Author

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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