Here’s how the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 applies to property owners.
How does the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 apply to property owners?
Essentially, this law limits the amount of money by which landlords can raise their rent each year. It also prevents property owners (with certain exceptions) from terminating a lease without ‘just cause,’ as the term is defined by the law.
The annual rent cap is set at 5% plus inflation for a particular city. For example, if your city has an inflation rate of 2%, the maximum rent increase landlords can apply is 7%. Regardless of a city’s inflation rate, rent cannot be raised more than 10% per year. The rate of inflation is tied to the consumer price index for each metropolitan area (typically 2% to 3% per year).
Keep in mind, this law does not override local rent control laws. Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and other cities throughout the state have their own rent control laws. Overall, this law applies to apartment buildings and multifamily buildings containing two or more units. This means single-family homes, condos, and townhomes are exempt as long as they’re not owned by a corporation, real estate investment trust, or limited liability company where one member is a corporation. It also exempts duplexes wherein one of the units is owner-occupied.
As I’ve said, even if a property is exempt by law, the burden is on the owner to send an exemption notice to their tenant. Otherwise, they may be subject to this law. In addition to the property types already mentioned, properties that were built within the past 15 years and vacant units are exempt as well.
As far as terminating a lease goes, there are two types of just cause as defined under the law: an ‘at-fault just cause’ and a ‘no-fault just cause.’ An at-fault just cause is when a tenant fails to pay rent, has engaged in criminal activity, or breached a material term in the lease agreement. An example of a no-fault just cause is when the owner wants to move themselves or a family member into the home, remove it from the rental market altogether, or demolish it or perform substantial remodels.
Some of the terms of this act are subject to judicial interpretation. For instance, it will be interesting to see how courts determine what’s considered “withdrawing a property from a rental market.”
If you’d like to know more about this law or receive a copy of the exemption notice, feel free to call or email my office. I’d love to help you.