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New California Rental Laws for 2024

Fast Eviction has gathered a list of the most impactful rental laws for California in 2024.

Assembly Bill 1620

Assembly Bill 1620, effective January 1, 2024, introduces a significant advancement in tenant rights for individuals with permanent physical mobility-related disabilities residing in locally rent-controlled properties. This legislative measure empowers jurisdictions with local rent control to mandate property owners of rent-controlled units to facilitate the relocation of disabled tenants to an available, comparable, or smaller unit situated on an accessible floor within the same property, all while maintaining their existing rental rate.

The key objective of AB 1620 is to establish a clear statutory framework enabling localities with rent control ordinances or charters to implement unit swaps under specific circumstances. The focus is primarily on situations where a tenant with a permanent physical disability resides in a rent-controlled unit without elevator access, allowing them the opportunity to move to a unit on a more accessible floor while preserving their current rental rate.

To be eligible for this process, tenants must meet several criteria. Firstly, they must have permanent physical mobility-related disabilities, making them reliant on accessible accommodations. Additionally, these tenants should be living in units lacking operational elevators, thereby rendering upper floors challenging or impossible to access. Importantly, they should not be facing eviction due to nonpayment of rent, ensuring that the legislation addresses the needs of disabled tenants without compromising their housing stability.

It’s crucial to note that the application of AB 1620 is contingent on the jurisdiction opting into the legislation. This provision allows local authorities to tailor the implementation of the bill to the unique needs and circumstances of their communities, providing flexibility while addressing the common challenges faced by disabled tenants in rent-controlled properties.

In essence, AB 1620 strives to enhance the quality of life for disabled tenants in rent-controlled units by promoting accessibility and inclusivity. By establishing a systematic process for unit swaps, the legislation seeks to strike a balance between the rights of property owners and the housing needs of individuals with permanent physical disabilities, ultimately fostering a more equitable and supportive rental environment within the context of local rent control regulations.

Assembly Bill 1764

Assembly Bill 1764, effective from January 1, 2024, brings a significant change to the procedures regarding tenant screening fees in California. The bill introduces the option for landlords to provide receipts for tenant screening fees via email, but only if both the landlord or their agent and the applicant mutually agree to this method.

Before the enactment of AB 1764, landlords were mandated to furnish a receipt for the screening fee either in person or by mail. This receipt had to include a detailed breakdown of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred and the time spent by the landlord or their agent to gather and process information about the applicant.

Under the new provisions outlined in Civil Code § 1950.5, landlords now have the flexibility to deliver the receipt electronically, specifically to an email account designated by the applicant. However, this digital option is contingent upon the agreement between the landlord and the prospective tenant.

This amendment not only aligns with the modernization of communication methods but also streamlines the process for both landlords and tenants. By allowing electronic receipts, the legislation recognizes the efficiency and convenience of email transactions, reducing the need for physical documentation.

It is essential for landlords and applicants to communicate and reach a consensus regarding the preferred method of receipt delivery. This proactive agreement ensures transparency and adherence to the new provisions. Landlords embracing this electronic option should update their practices accordingly, incorporating secure and reliable means to send and receive these digital receipts.

Assembly Bill 1764 reflects a recognition of the evolving landscape of communication technologies and aims to balance the interests of both landlords and tenants in a more contemporary and efficient manner.

SB 267

Senate Bill 267, effective from January 1, 2024, introduces a pivotal shift in the assessment criteria for rental applications, particularly when prospective tenants are recipients of government rent subsidies, such as Section 8 rental vouchers. The legislation mandates that landlords, in such cases, must provide an “ability to pay” option as an alternative to relying solely on credit history and reports during the rental application evaluation process.

Under SB 267, it is now illegal for landlords to automatically consider a person’s credit history without first offering the applicant the opportunity, at their discretion, to present lawful and verifiable alternative evidence of their reasonable ability to pay the portion of the rent to be paid by the tenant. This alternative evidence may include government benefit payments, pay records, bank statements, or other reliable proof of financial capacity.

When the “ability to pay” option is presented, the prospective tenant has the right to choose to provide alternative evidence. In such cases, the landlord is obligated to grant the applicant a reasonable amount of time to submit the requested alternative evidence. Furthermore, the landlord is required to consider this alternative evidence in lieu of the applicant’s credit history when making the final determination regarding offering the rental accommodation.

It is important to note that SB 267 does not completely eliminate the ability of landlords to seek certain information. Landlords are still permitted to request and verify employment information, seek landlord references, and confirm the identity of the applicant. This ensures that landlords can make informed decisions about potential tenants while also promoting a fair and balanced approach that does not solely rely on credit history, recognizing that government rent subsidies may impact an individual’s credit profile.

In essence, SB 267 represents a legislative effort to address potential discriminatory practices in the rental application process for individuals relying on government rent subsidies. By introducing the “ability to pay” option and promoting the consideration of alternative evidence, the law seeks to create a more equitable and inclusive system for tenants in need of government assistance.

SB 712

Senate Bill 712, effective from January 1, 2024, introduces significant protections and provisions for tenants in California regarding the ownership, storage, and recharging of personal micromobility devices within their dwelling units. This legislation aims to enhance tenant rights and accommodate the growing use of various micromobility devices such as bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, hoverboards, and skateboards.

Under SB 712, landlords are prohibited from restricting tenants from owning personal micromobility devices or from storing and recharging up to one such device per person occupying the unit. However, certain conditions and exceptions must be met for compliance with the law. These include:

Non-Electric Devices or Safety Compliant Electric Devices 

Micromobility devices that are not powered by an electric motor or those that comply with specific safety standards for e-bikes and e-scooters are allowed. Compliance includes adhering to battery standards like UL 2849 for e-bikes and UL 2272 for e-scooters, recognized by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, or EN 15194 and EN 17128 European Standards, respectively.

Insurance Requirement

If a device does not meet the safety standards, the tenant must have insurance covering the storage of the micromobility device within the unit.

Landlords, however, have the option to provide tenants with secure, long-term storage for their micromobility devices externally. If this external storage is offered without charge, landlords are permitted to prohibit the in-unit storage of these devices.

Importantly, landlords are not obliged to modify or approve a tenant’s request to modify a rental dwelling unit for the specific purpose of storing a micromobility device inside. Additionally, landlords may prohibit the repair or maintenance of batteries and motors of these devices within a dwelling unit. Landlords also have the authority to require tenants to store their micromobility devices in compliance with applicable fire codes.

SB 712 strikes a balance between promoting tenant rights to own and store personal micromobility devices within their dwelling units and providing landlords with the flexibility to impose reasonable restrictions and safety measures. This legislation acknowledges the changing landscape of transportation and the increasing use of micromobility devices, ensuring that tenants have the freedom to embrace these modes of transport within certain established parameters.

Assembly Bill 1418

Assembly Bill 1418, effective January 1, 2024, represents a significant shift in California’s housing policy by prohibiting local governments from implementing certain “crime-free” housing programs or ordinances. The law is designed to protect tenants and landlords from discriminatory practices based on criminal background checks and law enforcement contacts. Here are the key provisions of AB 1418:

Restrictions on Criminal Background Checks

Local governments are prohibited from requiring landlords to use criminal background checks as a criterion for leasing.

Alleged criminal behavior without a felony conviction cannot be used as a sole basis for evicting a tenant.

Eviction Based on Household Member’s Felony Conviction

Local ordinances are barred from compelling landlords to evict an entire household when one member is convicted of a felony.

Definition of Nuisance Behavior

Nuisance behavior cannot be defined to include police contacts, service calls, or any activities beyond the existing state definition of a nuisance.

Lease Provisions and Eviction Grounds

Local governments cannot require landlords to include lease provisions that allow eviction beyond what is specified in existing state law.

Penalties Related to Law Enforcement Contacts

Local ordinances cannot impose penalties against residents, owners, tenants, landlords, or other individuals solely based on their contact with a law enforcement agency.

Eviction Based on Association or Alleged Unlawful Conduct

Landlords are prohibited from evicting or penalizing tenants due to their association with someone who has had law enforcement contact or a criminal conviction.

Eviction or penalties based on a tenant’s alleged unlawful conduct or arrest are not allowed.

Lease Provisions in Conflict with State or Federal Law

Local governments cannot enforce provisions in leases or rental agreements that conflict with state or federal law.

Nuisance Definitions

Contact with a law enforcement agency, requests for emergency assistance, or acts/omissions that do not constitute a nuisance under California law cannot be defined as such.

Certificate of Occupancy Requirement

Tenants cannot be required to obtain a certificate of occupancy as a condition of tenancy.

Tenant Registries

Establishing, maintaining, or promoting registries of tenants for the purpose of discouraging landlords from renting to listed tenants or excluding them from rental housing is prohibited.

AB 1418 is designed to ensure fair and non-discriminatory housing practices, promoting equal opportunities for individuals with criminal histories and preventing local ordinances from disproportionately impacting tenants and landlords based on law enforcement contacts. The law aims to strike a balance between public safety concerns and the rights of individuals seeking housing.

Assembly Bill 12

Assembly Bill 12 (AB 12), effective from July 1, 2024, introduces important changes to the regulations surrounding security deposits for residential rental properties in California. The primary focus of AB 12 is to limit the amount a landlord can collect as a security deposit and to provide certain exceptions for small landlords. Here’s an expanded explanation of the key provisions:

Security Deposit Limit

Landlords are restricted from demanding or receiving a security deposit for a residential rental agreement in an amount exceeding one month’s rent.

This limitation applies to both furnished and unfurnished units and is in addition to any rent for the first month paid on or before initial occupancy.

Exception for Small Landlords

Small landlords, defined as natural persons or limited liability corporations (LLCs) meeting specific criteria, are exempt from the one-month limit.

A small landlord may demand or receive a security deposit in an amount not exceeding two months’ rent, regardless of whether the unit is furnished, in addition to any rent for the first month.

To qualify as a small landlord, the individual or LLC must own no more than two residential rental properties, collectively including no more than four dwelling units offered for rent.

The exception for small landlords also includes family trusts that meet the specified criteria.

Exception Exclusion for Service Members

The exception for small landlords does not apply if the prospective tenant is a service member.

Transition for Existing Deposits

Landlords who currently hold a security deposit or demand/collect a security deposit in excess of one month’s rent before July 1, 2024, are allowed to retain the existing security deposit even if it exceeds the newly established one-month limit.

AB 12 aims to address concerns related to the financial burden on tenants by limiting the upfront costs associated with renting residential properties. The legislation strikes a balance by providing an exception for small landlords, recognizing that they may have different financial structures and capabilities.

By standardizing the security deposit regulations, AB 12 seeks to enhance transparency and fairness in the rental market while ensuring that tenants, including service members, are not unduly burdened with excessive upfront costs when entering into a residential lease agreement.

SB 567

Senate Bill 567, known as the Tenant Protection Act, introduces significant changes to the regulations surrounding no-fault evictions in California. Effective April 1, 2024, this legislation aims to strengthen tenant protections by imposing stricter requirements on landlords engaging in no-fault eviction practices. The bill also introduces measures to address violations, including damages, penalties, attorney fees, and enforcement mechanisms. Here’s an expanded explanation of the key provisions:

Tightened Requirements for No-Fault Evictions

SB 567 tightens the criteria for landlords to initiate no-fault evictions. No-fault evictions typically occur when a landlord seeks to remove a tenant without attributing the eviction to any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant.

Damages for Violations

The legislation introduces provisions for damages, allowing tenants who are subjected to wrongful no-fault evictions to seek compensation for the harm caused by the eviction.

Penalties for Violations

SB 567 establishes penalties for landlords found in violation of the tightened no-fault eviction requirements. These penalties are designed to act as a deterrent and encourage compliance with the new regulations.

Attorney Fees

The bill includes a provision for tenants to recover attorney fees in the event of a successful legal challenge against a landlord who violates the no-fault eviction requirements. This provision aims to facilitate access to legal representation for tenants who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

Enforcement Mechanisms

SB 567 introduces mechanisms for the enforcement of the tightened no-fault eviction requirements. This may involve regulatory bodies or legal processes that ensure landlords adhere to the new regulations.

Effective Date

The Tenant Protection Act, with its amended requirements and additional protections, becomes effective on April 1, 2024. This means that landlords and tenants must adhere to the new regulations starting from this date.

Overall, SB 567 represents a legislative effort to enhance tenant protections in the face of no-fault evictions. By introducing stricter requirements, damages, penalties, and attorney fee provisions, the bill seeks to create a more balanced and fair housing market, where tenants are safeguarded from arbitrary or unjust evictions. Additionally, the enforcement mechanisms embedded in the legislation contribute to the overall effectiveness of the Tenant Protection Act in promoting stable and secure housing for California tenants.

Assembly Bill 1317

Assembly Bill 1317 brings significant changes to the rental landscape in specified counties in California, particularly for properties with at least 16 residential units. Effective for properties in which a certificate of occupancy was issued on or after January 1, 2025, this legislation mandates the unbundling of parking spaces from the rental agreements for residential properties. Here’s an expanded explanation of the key provisions:

Unbundling Parking Spaces

Landlords are required to unbundle parking spaces from the overall rental price for the entire life of the property. “Unbundled parking” refers to the practice of selling or leasing parking spaces separately from the lease of the residential property.

Exclusion from Rental Agreements

The agreement to lease a parking spot should not be included in the main rental agreement or any addendum. This separation ensures transparency and allows tenants to choose whether to lease a parking space.

Tenant Right of First Refusal

Tenants are granted the right of first refusal for parking spaces built for their property. If no parking spaces are initially available for a new tenant, and a space becomes available later, the new tenant is given the right of first refusal for that parking space.

Leasing to On-Site and Off-Site Users

Unleased parking spaces can be rented to other on-site users or off-site residential users on a month-to-month basis. This flexibility enables efficient utilization of parking resources.

Non-Payment of Parking Fee

A tenant’s failure to pay the parking fee, as outlined in a separately leased parking agreement, cannot be the basis for an unlawful detainer (UD) action. If a tenant fails to pay the parking fee within 45 days following the due date, the property owner has the right to revoke that tenant’s right to lease that parking spot.

Applicability Criteria

The law applies to units with a certificate of occupancy issued on or after January 1, 2025.

The property must have at least 16 residential units.

The law is specifically applicable to properties located in certain counties, including Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Shasta, and Ventura.

Exemptions

Certain exemptions exist, such as for residential properties where the individual garage is deemed “functionally a part of the property.”

Deed-restricted affordable housing and housing built with specified tax credits are also exempt from the requirements of this law.

AB 1317 is designed to address parking-related issues in specific counties and aims to provide tenants with more transparent and flexible options regarding parking spaces. The legislation aligns with the evolving needs and preferences of tenants while considering various exemptions to accommodate specific types of housing.

SB 71

Senate Bill 71 (SB 71) brings about notable changes to the small claims court system in California by increasing the monetary limits for claims, effective January 1, 2024. The primary focus of these changes is to adjust the thresholds for claims brought by natural persons and non-natural persons, as well as to modify limits for various other types of cases. Here’s a detailed expansion on the key provisions of SB 71:

Increased Small Claims Limits for Natural Persons

The small claims court limit for natural persons, who file no more than two claims in one calendar year, has been raised from $10,000 to $12,500. This means that individuals can pursue claims up to $12,500 in the small claims court if they meet the specified criteria.

Increased Small Claims Limits for Non-Natural Persons

For non-natural persons (entities), such as corporations or organizations, the limit for small claims court cases (with no more than two claims in one calendar year) has been raised from $5,000 to $6,250.

Threshold Limits for Multiple Claims

If a person, whether a natural person or an entity, brings more than two claims in a calendar year, the threshold limit remains at $2,500. This provision is in place to address potential abuse or excessive use of the small claims court system.

Other Types of Cases

SB 71 also increases the threshold limits for various other types of cases, providing individuals and entities with higher monetary limits when pursuing legal remedies in small claims court.

The intention behind these adjustments is to provide individuals and entities with increased access to the small claims court for resolving disputes within the higher monetary limits. By raising the limits, SB 71 aims to accommodate a broader range of cases while still incorporating safeguards to prevent potential misuse of the system by limiting the number of claims an individual or entity can bring in a calendar year.

These changes are part of an effort to ensure that the small claims court system remains an effective and accessible avenue for resolving disputes for both natural and non-natural persons, addressing the evolving nature of legal matters and the associated financial considerations.

Assembly Bill 537

Assembly Bill 537 (AB 537) addresses the issue of transparency in advertising and pricing for short-term lodging, particularly vacation rentals. Effective from July 1, 2024, this legislation is designed to protect consumers by ensuring that advertised room rates include all mandatory fees, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees. Here’s a more detailed expansion on the key provisions of AB 537:

Scope of Application

AB 537 applies to places of short-term lodging, which includes establishments providing accommodations for a brief period, such as vacation rentals. The legislation is aimed at ensuring transparency in the advertising and offering of these short-term lodging options.

Mandatory Fee Disclosure

The bill prohibits places of short-term lodging from advertising, displaying, or offering room rates that do not include all fees or charges required for a stay, with the exception of government-imposed taxes and fees. This means that the advertised room rate must encompass all mandatory fees, providing consumers with a clear understanding of the total cost of their stay.

Exclusion of Government-Imposed Taxes and Fees

While mandatory fees must be included in the advertised room rate, government-imposed taxes and fees are excluded from this requirement. This is a common practice in the lodging industry, where taxes are often calculated separately from the base room rate.

Enforcement and Civil Penalties

Violations of the provisions outlined in AB 537 may result in civil penalties. The legislation specifies that the civil penalty for such violations should not exceed $10,000. The enforcement of these provisions can be initiated by various authorities, including city attorneys, district attorneys, county counsel, or the Attorney General.

Authority to Bring Action

AB 537 grants specific authorities, including city attorneys, district attorneys, county counsel, and the Attorney General, the ability to bring an action to enforce the provisions of the bill. This provision ensures that there are mechanisms in place to hold violators accountable and protect consumers.

By requiring the inclusion of all mandatory fees in the advertised room rate for short-term lodging, AB 537 aims to enhance transparency and empower consumers to make more informed decisions when booking accommodations. The civil penalties and enforcement mechanisms are in place to deter violations and encourage compliance with the disclosure requirements, ultimately fostering a fair and transparent marketplace for short-term lodging services.