Home » Antioch to Discuss Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

Antioch to Discuss Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

by CC News
Just cause eviction and rent stablization

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council will discuss a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance for the City of Antioch.

According to the agenda, this is to review, discuss, and provide feedback to staff on the staff report and attached just cause eviction ordinances from other cities; and could direct staff to prepare a just cause eviction ordinance for the City of Antioch. The council could opt to take no further action.

The move comes as the the City of Concord‘s Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Ordinance was placed on hold due to a potential referendum on the November 7 ballot. Their ordinance was scheduled to go into effect on April 4, 2024. On March 8, the City Clerk received a proposed referendum petition, indicating plans to gather signatures to place a referendum on the November ballot.

The city of Antioch has previously moved forward with both a rent program and a rent stabilization ordinance. Under the rent stabilization ordinance, rent may be increased no more than one time in any 12-month period, and the amount of the increase may be no more than 3% or 60% of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Area published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whichever is less, of the rent charged at the time of the increase.

Consideration of a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

The City Council has requested that staff research and prepare a staff report concerning just cause eviction ordinances.

State law requires “just cause” for a landlord can evict a tenant who has continuously and lawfully occupied a residence for at least 12 months.3 The California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“TPA”) limits rent increases and places restrictions on landlords’ ability to evict tenants, unless the eviction is as a result of a “just cause” that is defined by state law. The TPA also imposes certain notice and language requirements.4 “Just cause” includes “at-fault” evictions for wrongful or malicious conduct by tenants and “no-fault” evictions, such as when a property owner or their immediate family move into an otherwise occupied unit, remove a unit from the rental market, or when a landlord intends to demolish or “substantially remodel” a unit. Section 1946.2 also provides protections against evictions that do not meet the “just cause” standard as well as remedies that tenants can avail themselves of when evicted without “just cause.

State Law Provides Protections and Relief for Tenants in the Event of “Just Cause” Evictions.

State law provides a number of protections and avenues for relief for tenants in the event they are evicted such as:

  • Voiding evictions without “just cause” or if conducted in any other manner that does not “strictly comply” with the requirements of Section 1946.2 (Cal. Civ. Code section 1946.2(d)(4)).
  • Allowing tenants to remain in a property during repairs or remodels on any days where said tenant could continue living there without violating health, safety, and habitability codes and laws (Cal. Civ. Code section 1946.2(b)(2)(D)(iii)).
  • The opportunity to cure lease violations, if possible, before being served with an eviction notice (Cal. Civ. Code 1946.2(c)).
  • Robust notice requirements in many circumstances which, if not followed, could result in the eviction being deemed void

Beyond this, tenants who are affected by “no-fault just cause” evictions gain the following additional relief:

  • Either relocation assistance equaling one month’s worth of rent or having the final month’s rental payment waived (Cal. Civ. Code section 1946.2(d)(1)).
  • Allows for the right of first refusal when a tenant is evicted for an owner move in and the owner does not occupy the residence in a timely fashion or occupy the residence for at least one year (Cal. Civ. Code section 1946.2(b)(2)(A)(vi)(I))

A City Ordinance Can Extend and Expand Protections Provided to Tenants Beyond what is Provided by State Law.

A municipality may subject residential real property to “just cause” eviction requirements that are more protective than what is required under State law (Section 1946.2). To do so, the ordinance must: (i) have “just cause” eviction criteria that are consistent with Section 1946.2; (ii) further limit the reasons for termination of a residential tenancy, provide for higher relocation assistance amounts, or provide additional tenant protections that are not prohibited by any other provision of law; and (iii) be accompanied by a finding that the ordinance is more protective than the provisions of Section 1946.2.

Some municipalities have extended and/or expanded tenant protections and relief in the following ways:

  • Requiring eviction notices to be submitted to the City
  • Prohibiting evictions, outside of certain circumstances, for owner move-ins when the tenants have been a lawful tenant for a defined number of years and are either elderly, disabled, handicapped, terminally ill, or have minor children
  • Extending the time period where a tenant can exercise their right of first refusal.
  • Increasing the amount of relocation assistance
  • Requiring payments or provision of alternate shelter for temporary relocations.
  • Notice and language requirements for tenant buyout agreements
  • Protections against retaliatory evictions and other harassment against tenants
  • Allowing violating landlords to face civil and criminal penalties along with creating
  • a cause of action that tenants can use against landlords in civil court

Implications of a City Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

A just cause eviction ordinance may reduce homelessness by reducing the number of people who are unnecessarily evicted and required to find new housing.

Once a person is evicted, it can be challenging to find new housing. Some portion of people evicted are likely to become unhoused because they are unable satisfy a new landlord’s application requirements, such as income/employment verification, proof of funds, and positive references.

A just cause eviction ordinance is likely to discourage landlords from unlawfully evicting tenants by providing tenants notice of their rights, allowing tenants mechanisms to address improper actions taken by landlords, and penalizing landlords who act unlawfully.

The Ordinance could allow the City to take a more active role in addressing and mediating issues between landlords and tenants. It could require that landlords have their evictions analyzed by the City before they can be deemed valid, allowing the City to review the evictions before they go into effect and allow tenants to avoid lengthy and possibly expensive litigation.

The Ordinance would give tenants some relief when being evicted and offer financial support for tenants who were evicted, which can be used to find new housing and avoid homelessness, and mitigate the trauma involved with having to unexpectedly find new housing.

There is a possibility that if the Ordinance were overbroad, it could unnecessarily penalize landlords acting in good faith by making it difficult to evict problematic tenants. This may not only impact the landlords themselves but the community at large by foreclosing on an avenue to address nuisance or problem properties.

There is also the risk that the Ordinance could disproportionally affect small time or “mom and pop” landlords while having a minimal effect on large-scale or corporate landlords since the smaller landlords could possibly be unable to bear the cost of the Ordinance’s requirements while larger or corporate landlords would have more ability to treat the requirements as the “cost of doing business.” This could also result in rents being increased as landlords attempt to defray expenses imposed by the Ordinance.

The Ordinance could be finely tailored to address issues that are specific to the City and its residents.

In an effort to protect residents from unlawful evictions, several cities have adopted “just cause” eviction ordinances. Attached for your review and consideration are a copy of California Civil Code section 1946.2 and ordinances from Bell Gardens, Baldwin Park, Richmond, and Oxnard.

A. Just Cause Eviction Statute – California Civil Code Section 1946.2
B. Just Cause Eviction Ordinance – City of Bell Gardens
C. Just Cause Eviction Ordinance – City of Baldwin Park
D. Just Cause Eviction Ordinance – City of Richmond
E. Just Cause Eviction Ordinance – City of Oxnard

If you go:

Antioch City Council Meeting
Tuesday, March 26, 2024
7:00 pm
200 H Street, Antioch CA
Full Agenda – click here

 

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4 comments

Street Sweeper March 25, 2024 - 5:59 am

The city and state should have no say on what public landlords charge for rent and at what increments they increase rent. It’s funny when people don’t have money for rent, but they have money for liquor, fast food and cigarettes.

MODERATE March 25, 2024 - 7:16 am

If this city council had any sense, it would not try to “supplement” existing state law.

John Masters March 25, 2024 - 12:38 pm

Sounds like they’re trying to make it more difficult for homeowners to evict renters. They should be making it easier. The process is already a pain.

Raul Jr March 25, 2024 - 2:01 pm

If the politicians were serious about the cost of rent they would make it easier for landlords to evict abusive renters instead of protecting them. We refuse to rent out any of our properties until fairness becomes a factor for the landlord. FYI, that’s two more potential rentals removed from the market. We simply can’t afford to become victims of politicians swaying the law against us. Too difficult and expensive to evict abusive renters. Just Cause laws just seem to make things worse.

Comments are closed.