Redlands Urgency Ordinance FAQ

The Redlands City Council discussed and voted on an urgency ordinance aimed at implementing stricter regulations for landlords planning substantial remodels on properties in Redlands.

During the most recent meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Tejeda raised the topic of renter protections to the council. City Attorney Yvette Abich Garcia explained that according to California law, landlords have the right to evict tenants for the purpose of conducting substantial remodels. These remodels are specifically defined as renovations involving structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical changes that require a permit and take a minimum of 30 days to complete.

Garcia pointed out that a significant concern lies in the fact that California law does not specify the appropriate actions that landlords should take. To address this gap, Garcia conducted research on ordinances implemented by cities such as Los Angeles, Duarte, and Ventura. These cities have established additional requirements to supplement California law. Landlords in these cities are obligated to obtain permits prior to issuing eviction notices. Moreover, the eviction notice must include copies of the permits, an explanation of why it is unsafe to carry out the remodel with the tenant in the unit, and the reasons why the remodel necessitates the tenant’s absence for a period exceeding 30 days. Garcia emphasized that incorporating such requirements would ensure that landlords adhere to the provisions of California law and fulfill their responsibilities accordingly.

What types of evictions does the Redlands Urgency Ordinance cover?

The Urgency Ordinance offers protection to tenants against pretextual evictions, where property owners claim substantial renovation or demolition of a unit as “just cause” for eviction.

How does the Urgency Ordinance define “substantially remodel”?

According to the Urgency Ordinance, “substantially remodel” refers to the replacement or significant modification of structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems that require permits from government agencies. It also includes the removal of hazardous materials such as lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos, in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. These renovations must be unable to be safely carried out with the tenant in place and require the tenant to vacate the residential property for at least 30 days. However, cosmetic improvements like painting, decorating, and minor repairs, or work that can be done safely without the need for the tenant to vacate, do not qualify as substantial rehabilitation.

All termination notices for evictions based on demolition or substantial remodel of a rental unit must include a copy of all permits that have been issued and are currently valid (not expired or revoked). The termination notice should also contain reasonably detailed information regarding the following:

1. The scope of the work.

2. Why the work cannot be reasonably accomplished with the tenant in place, ensuring safety.

3. Why the work requires the tenant to vacate the property for a minimum of 30 days.

If a tenant has already received an eviction notice, does the Urgency Ordinance still apply to them?

Yes, the Urgency Ordinance remains applicable to tenants who received eviction notices on or after the effective date of the Urgency Ordinance (August 4, 2022). This applies to tenancies where the tenant is still in possession and where the notice period required under California Civil Code §§ 1946.1 and 1946.2 has not expired as of the Urgency Ordinance’s effective date.

Does a tenant qualify for relocation assistance if the property owner evicts them for demolition or substantial remodel of the unit?

Yes, if the eviction is based on the demolition or substantial remodel of the rental unit, the property owner is obligated to provide relocation assistance to the tenant.

What amount of relocation assistance is a tenant entitled to?

A tenant is entitled to the greater of the following:

a. A rent waiver equivalent to two months of the tenant’s current rent when the owner issued the termination notice.

b. A payment of $4,500.

When will the relocation assistance be paid to the tenant?

If the tenant qualifies for the direct payment of $4,500, the property owner must make two payments. The first payment, totaling two-thirds (2/3) of the rental assistance, should be paid within 15 calendar days after serving the notice of termination to the tenant. The second payment, totaling one-third (1/3) of the rental assistance, should be paid when the tenant vacates the residential property.

Which types of housing are exempt from the Urgency Ordinance?

The provisions of the Urgency Ordinance do not apply to the specific types of residential real properties or residential circumstances described in California Civil Code § 1946.2(e).

What happens if the property owner fails to provide the required information in the eviction notice or neglects to pay the relocation assistance?

Failure by the property owner to comply with the Urgency Ordinance renders any notice of tenancy termination void. Tenants can assert the requirements of the Urgency Ordinance as a defense in eviction proceedings. Moreover, if an owner intentionally violates the Urgency Ordinance by issuing an invalid termination notice, they can be held liable.