New 2019 Landlord Tenant Laws
(5) Landlord Tenant: Inspection of Decks, Balconies, Stairways and Walkways (to be completed by January 1, 2025).
This law requires that buildings with 3 or more multifamily dwelling units with decks, balconies, stairways and walkways must be inspected by a properly licensed person by 2025, and a subsequent inspection must be done every 6 years. The owner would have to make repairs if the inspector found that the decks or balconies were in need of repair.
This law requires an inspection of decks and balconies (“exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements”) for buildings with 3 or more multifamily dwelling units by a licensed architect, licensed civil or structural engineer, a building contractor holding specified licenses, or an individual certified as a building inspector or building official. These inspectors cannot be employed by the local jurisdiction while performing these inspections.
"Exterior elevated element" means the following types of structures, including their supports and railings: balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, and entry structures that extend beyond exterior walls of the building and which have a walking surface that is elevated more than six feet above ground level, are designed for human occupancy or use, and rely in whole or in substantial part on wood or wood-based products for structural support or stability of the exterior elevated element.
The inspections, including any necessary testing, are required to be completed by January 1, 2025, with certain exceptions, and would require subsequent inspections every 6 years. A copy of the inspection report must be presented to the owner of the building within 45 days of the completion of the inspection and copies of the reports must be maintained in the building owner’s records for 2 inspection cycles.
An exterior elevated element found by the inspector that is in need of repair or replacement shall be corrected by the owner of the building. No recommended repair shall be performed by a licensed contractor serving as the inspector. All necessary permits for repair or replacement shall be obtained from the local jurisdiction. All repair and replacement work shall be performed by a qualified and licensed contractor. A permit for the repairs must be applied for within 120 days of receipt of the inspection report, and the owner has 120 days more to complete the repairs.
If the inspection reveals conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupants, the inspection report must be delivered to the owner of the building within 15 days and emergency preventive measures must be performed “immediately” with notice given to the local enforcement agency. Local enforcement agencies may recover enforcement costs associated with these requirements.
The local enforcement agency is required to send a 30-day corrective notice to the owner of the building if repairs are not completed on time. The law provides for civil penalties and liens against the property for the owner of the building who fails to comply with these provisions.
Common interest developments are exempted.
A landlord is authorized to enter the dwelling unit to comply with the requirements.
Senate Bill 721 is codified as Civil Code § 1954 and Health and Safety Code §§ 17973 et seq. Effective January 1, 2019.
(6) Landlord Tenant: Law Enforcement and Emergency Services.
Expands protections for victims of domestic violence and other types of abuse to not face eviction or other penalties on the basis of having summoned law enforcement or 9-1-1 emergency assistance on their own behalf, or on behalf of another, to respond to incidents of violence or abuse.
This law protects tenants from the actual or threatened termination of tenancy, or failure to renew a tenancy by protecting the right of a tenant or resident to summon law enforcement or emergency assistance as a victim of abuse, victim of crime, or individual in an emergency, or on behalf of another person who falls into one of those categories. The protection is not unlimited but applies when the caller believes that emergency assistance is necessary to prevent or address the perpetration, exacerbation, or escalation of the abuse, crime, or emergency. The protections would presumably not apply to situations to calls or a pattern of 9-1-1 calls that were frivolous in nature or not necessary to prevent or address a crime, emergency, or incident of abuse.
This law also protects tenants from the actual or threatened assessment of fines and penalties by the landlord, and from disparate treatment or rights as compared to other tenants who have not summoned emergency assistance. This law also extends these protections to tenants and residents when the emergency calls were made by someone who is not a tenant or resident of the landlord – for example, when a visitor or resident of a neighboring building is the one who summoned emergency assistance.
Additionally, this law makes void, as contrary to public policy, any provision of a rental or lease agreement that prohibits or limits a tenant's right to summon law enforcement or emergency assistance.
Rebuttable presumption in unlawful detainer cases.
If an eviction has been filed against a tenant or occupant, under certain circumstances, this law allows the tenant or occupant to raise the affirmative defense that the landlord is in violation of this law's provisions. It provides that there is a rebuttable presumption that the tenant has established an affirmative defense if the landlord or owner files a complaint for unlawful detainer within 30 days of a resident, tenant, or other person summoning law enforcement assistance or emergency assistance and the complaint is based upon a notice that alleges that the act of summoning law enforcement assistance or emergency assistance as, or on behalf of, a victim of abuse, a victim of crime, or an individual in an emergency constitutes a rental agreement violation, lease violation, or a nuisance. However, the landlord would be able to rebut the presumption by showing that some other reason was a substantial motivating factor for filing the complaint.
Assembly Bill 2413 is codified as Civil Code § 1946.8 and amendments to Code of Civil Procedure § 1161.3 and Government Code § 53165. Effective January 1, 2019.
(7) Landlord Tenant: Price Gouging and Eviction During a Declared Emergency.
Retains the 10% maximum rental price increase during declared state of emergencies, and additionally:
- Expands the scope of criminal price gouging by including rental housing that was not on the market at the time of the proclamation or declaration of emergency.
- Clarifies that the cap on rent increases will remain in effect during an extension of a declared emergency.
- Makes it illegal to evict a tenant without cause during a state of emergency except for specified reasons if the property is then offered at a higher rent.
- Allows a greater than 10% rental price increase if directly attributable to additional costs for repairs or additions beyond normal maintenance that were amortized over the rental term.
- Under existing law, any rental housing is subject to a rent limitation upon the proclamation of a state of emergency. For a period of 30 days following that proclamation or declaration, it is unlawful for any person to increase rent by more than 10%.
Applicable beyond counties with declared state of emergency: Under existing law, although a state of emergency is declared in regard to a specific county, Attorney General Anthony Becerra has stated that “The statute does not restrict its protection to a city or county where the emergency or disaster is located. It is intended to prevent price gouging anywhere in the state where there is increased consumer demand as a result of the declared emergency. For example, if a fire in San Diego County causes residents to evacuate to neighboring Imperial County, hotels in Imperial County may not raise rates by more than 10% to take advantage of the increase in demand for lodging.” See FAQs on Price Gouging.
This new law defines “Housing” to mean any rental housing with an initial lease term of no longer than one year.
The new law defines the rental price for housing for purposes of the crime of price gouging, as follows:
- a. For housing rented at the time of the proclamation or declaration of emergency, the actual rental price paid by the tenant.
- b. For housing not rented at the time of the declaration or proclamation, but rented, or offered for rent, within one year prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency, the most recent rental price offered before the proclamation or declaration of emergency. This amount may be increased by 5% if the housing was previously rented or offered for rent unfurnished, and it is now being offered for rent fully furnished. This amount shall not be adjusted for any other good or service, including without limitation gardening or utilities, currently or formerly provided in connection with the lease;
- c. For housing not rented, or not offered for rent, within one year prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency, 160% of the Fair Market Rent established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This amount may be increased by 5% if the housing is offered for rent fully furnished. This amount shall not be adjusted for any other good or service, including without limitation gardening or utilities, currently or formerly provided in connection with the lease.
However, a greater rental price increase is not unlawful if that person can prove that the increase is directly attributable to additional costs for repairs or additions beyond normal maintenance that were amortized over the rental term that caused the rent to be increased greater than 10 percent or that an increase was contractually agreed to by the tenant prior to the proclamation or declaration.
It is not a defense to a prosecution that an increase in rental price was based on the length of the rental term, the inclusion of additional goods or services (except with respect to furniture), or that the rent was offered by, or paid by, an insurance company, or other third party, on behalf of a tenant.
The new law applies to mobilehomes. Furthermore, the new law clarifies that it remains in force during the state of emergency or any extension.
This new law makes it illegal to evict a tenant during a declared state of emergency or any extension and offer to rent to another person at a higher price, except for a cause such as 1) non-payment of rent 2) breach of covenant 3) lease termination 4) improper subletting, waste, nuisance or illegal use or 5) various other reasons as permitted by Code of Civil Procedure § 1161.
Assembly Bill 1919 is codified as Penal Code § 396 and Government Code § 8588.8. Effective January 1, 2019.
(9) Landlord Tenant: Service Member Protections.
Existing law allows a service member to terminate a lease of premises occupied for a residential, professional, business, agricultural, or similar purpose when that person entered a period of military service or receives deployment or change of status orders.
This law additionally requires “any person,” such as a landlord or even potentially a property manager, who receives a good faith request from a service member and who believes the request is incomplete, not legally sufficient or that the service member is not entitled to the relief requested, to, within 30 days of the request, provide the service member with a written response acknowledging the request and setting forth the objections. If the person fails to make such a response the person waives any objection to the request, and the service member shall be entitled to the relief requested.
This new law applies to a range of service member protections. However, this summary only discusses the protections regarding matters related to the lease of residential property.
Existing law allows a service member to terminate a lease when that person entered military service afterwards. The state law protections are similar to federal law under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 United States Code Section 3901 et seq, which provides a wide range of benefits and protections to those in military service including the right to terminate a residential lease.
A service member during the term of the lease who enters a period of military service, or while in a period of military service, executes the lease and then receives military orders for a permanent change of station or to deploy with a military unit, or as an individual in support of a military operation, for a period of not less than 90 days may terminate a lease. The termination of the lease under subdivision is effective 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due and payable. This applies to a lease of premises occupied, or intended to be occupied, by a service member or a service member’s dependents for a residential, professional, business, agricultural, or similar purpose.
Any person who receives a good faith request from a service member for relief and who believes the request is incomplete or otherwise not legally sufficient, or that the service member is not entitled to the relief requested, shall, within 30 days of the request, provide the service member with a written response acknowledging the request, setting forth the person’s basis for believing or asserting that the request is incomplete or not legally sufficient, or that the service member is not entitled to the relief requested. The response shall clearly identify the specific information or materials that are missing from the request and that would be required to grant the relief requested, and provide contact information, including a mailing address and telephone number, which the service member can use to contact the person.
If the person fails to make such a response in the timeframe set forth in this section, the person waives any objection to the request, and the service member shall be entitled to the relief requested.
AB 3212 is codified as an amendment to Military and Veterans Code §§ 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409.1, 409.2, 409.3, 409.4, 800, 803, 811, 821, 822, 823.5, 824, 826, 827, 409.15, 813 and 830. Effective January 1, 2019.