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Ordinance 3527 - Chula Vista

The San Diego suburb of Chula Vista has passed a new ordinance that is set to take effect on March 1, 2023, and will affect the rights of landlords and building owners. The law is intended to protect renters from being evicted under no-fault law, and offers greater general protection for tenants than previously existed. Previously, Assembly Bill 1482 allowed landlords to pursue evictions under a ‘no-fault’ clause, so they could then conduct remodeling operations or occupy the property themselves.

Provisions of Ordinance 3527

Ordinance 3527 provides greater protection for tenants, requiring that no-fault evictions be accompanied by providing relocation payments to evicted tenants in the equivalent of three months’ rent. This measure will apply to all tenants, even those who had accumulated no more than a single day of residency. The ordinance also clarifies what would constitute a major remodeling job on a given building, citing that it must involve improvements costing at least $40 per square foot, and requires vacancy for at least a 30-day period.

The ordinance also specifies some specific examples of what should be considered tenant harassment, going well beyond situations currently acknowledged by state law. Some of these harassment examples include verbal abuse or threats issued to a tenant, encouraging vacancy by fraud or by coercion, and refusing to accept rent payments. Since no-fault evictions have become the most common reason why tenants seek legal assistance in the Chula Vista area, it became apparent to city leaders that greater clarification of this process was necessary, so as to limit the need for such assistance.

Impact on Tenants

Tenants will be much better protected under the provisions of Ordinance 3527, since landlords will have to consider an eviction more fully, being required to reimburse evicted tenants for relocation expenses. This is a considerable deterrent, and is likely to significantly impact the number of no-fault evictions which occur after March of 2023. The ordinance also defines a great many more instances of abuse and harassment, so that landlords and owners can no longer avoid being called into question for specific actions taken against tenants.

Impact on Landlords/Property Owners

All landlords and property owners will be obliged to treat tenants with a greater level of respect, and to avoid any kind of action that has been defined as abuse or harassment under the new ordinance. It will also cause landlords and owners to drop any frivolous plans for a no-fault eviction, and pursue only those cases which are considered relatively extreme. Since eviction must now be accompanied by relocation reimbursement, this will be a major deterrent to all but the most compelling cases of no-fault eviction. In effect, it will limit the kinds of actions a landlord/owner can legally take against tenants.

Conclusion 

The passage of Ordinance 3527 will be viewed as a victory for Chula Vista tenants, who comprise 47% of the entire population of city residents, since they will receive greater protections under the new law. It will particularly protect them from wrongful eviction under the no-fault clause, which has been abused in the past. For owners and landlords, it may be seen as an infringement on their rights, since they will be obliged to reimburse tenants evicted under the no-fault law, and more actions will be considered harassment under the law. A second reading and review of the Ordinance will be scheduled for early in 2023, with the law expected to take effect on the first day of March in the new year. If you are a landlord or property owner in Chula Vista and have additional questions, contact our Landlord Attorney in Chula Vista today.

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