On March 1, 2023 a new ordinance went into effect in Chula Vista to protect tenants from no-fault evictions. Ordinance 3527 was passed in November 2022 to expand on the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, also called AB 1482. Rental housing makes up 42% of the housing market in Chula Vista. Many tenants, about 44%, pay more than 50% of their income toward housing costs. Ordinance 3527 requires just cause for termination of residential tenancies and limits the reasons a landlord can terminate a residential tenancy to offer more relocation assistance for tenants. This ordinance does not prevent rent increases, nor does it apply to lawful evictions. Here’s what to know so far.
Just Cause Termination Requirements
Under Ordinance 3527, landlords are given stricter requirements for pursing evictions. “Just Cause” is required for all terminations of tenancy. Just cause reasons are listed as either at-fault causes, in which the tenant has breached the lease, such as for failure to pay or is using the premises for an unlawful purpose. Just cause no fault reasons are categorized as those reasons in which the tenant has done nothing wrong.
Just cause no fault reasons include:
- Owner or a family member plans to move in.
- Compliance with a government order.
- The home is being withdrawn from the rental market.
- The home is undergoing a substantial remodel, which is defined more narrowly than in AB 1482.
Landlords will be required to file notice with the city when filing a just cause no fault eviction. Tenants who receive a notice for a no-fault eviction must be given 30 days notice for tenancies under 1 year and 60 days notice for tenancies over 1 year. Tenants must also receive notice that they may have a right to relocation assistance and their right to receive a future offer to re-rent their unit. If landlords do not comply with these regulations, the termination notice is rendered invalid. Should the landlord terminate a lease because they are withdrawing the unit from the market, and subsequently put the unit back on the market within two years, the landlord will be responsible to the tenant for six months of rent.
Exemptions From Ordinance 3527
Landlords exempt from ordinance 3527 are similar to those who are exempt under AB 1492.
- Single-family homes in which the Owner is not a real estate investment trust, a corporation, a limited liability company in which at least one member is a corporation, nor management of a mobile home park AND the Tenants have been provided written notice that the property is exempt using the statement provided by the City of Chula Vista.
- Single-family owner-occupied homes (including mobile home owners) in which no more than two units or bedrooms are being rented.
- Duplex units with two dwelling units under one structure, in which the owner occupies one of the units.
- Short-term tenancies less than 30 days.
- Hotels/motels or other transient occupancy under 30 days.
Under Ordinance 3527, harassment and retaliation against tenants is prohibited by identifying eight more types of harassment than the state already prohibits. Landlords cannot influence vacancy through coercion or by refusing a rent payment. Landlords cannot interfere with a tenant’s right to privacy or with a tenant’s right of quiet use and enjoyment of a rental unit.
3527 also identifies enforcement policies either by the city attorney or through private channels. Owners can face criminal violations under certain conditions:
- Threat, fraud, intimidation or duress
- Tolerating a public nuisance
- Cutting off heat, light, water, fuel or Wi-Fi
- Restricting trade or the delivery of services from any tenant
Tenants also have the right to pursue civil actions under 3527 and request that their attorney’s fees be awarded.
Ordinance 3527 only pertains to properties within the Chula Vista city limits, although similar regulations are under consideration in other parts of the San Diego community.