Costa Mesa to Vote on Stricter No Fault Eviction Rules and Increase Relocation Assistance

The proposed ordinance facing deliberation by the Costa Mesa City Council on November 7 marks a significant potential shift in the dynamics between landlords and tenants. If enacted, this legislation could place substantial financial and procedural burdens on landlords, particularly in cases of no-fault evictions.

Costa Mesa to Vote on Stricter No Fault Eviction Rules and Increase Relocation Assistance

One of the key provisions in the proposed ordinance is the requirement for landlords to provide significant relocation assistance, reaching as high as $9,440. This financial obligation is specifically tied to instances of no-fault evictions, such as those resulting from substantial property rehabilitation or when property owners intend to move in themselves. This provision aims to protect tenants facing displacement, offering them a substantial sum to assist in finding new accommodation.

However, the ordinance doesn’t stop at financial obligations. It introduces a procedural change that could have far-reaching consequences. Landlords would be mandated to send paper notices to both the city and the property owner. While seemingly straightforward, this alteration introduces a potential vulnerability in legal proceedings. Tenant attorneys may exploit the requirement, challenging the proper filing and receipt of these notices to impede the progress of unlawful detainer lawsuits. This tactical use of procedural hurdles could prolong legal battles, giving tenants more time and leverage in fighting eviction.

For landlords, this procedural change translates into a new administrative hurdle. Proving that the city has received the mandatory notice becomes a crucial step, potentially requiring landlords to undertake additional tasks. This may involve using certified mail services to ensure proper documentation and delivery. Additionally, landlords may find themselves navigating the intricacies of filing California Public Records Act requests, adding layers of complexity to an already intricate process.

In essence, the proposed ordinance seeks to strike a balance between protecting tenants from abrupt displacements and ensuring landlords adhere to stringent procedures. However, the potential financial and administrative burdens on landlords, coupled with the possibility of legal maneuvering by tenant advocates, make it a topic ripe for thorough deliberation and discussion by the Costa Mesa City Council. The outcome of this decision could set a precedent for how other jurisdictions approach the delicate balance between tenant rights and landlord responsibilities in the realm of no-fault evictions.