Stay Informed: A Guide to the Latest Rental Laws in California

Stay Informed: A Guide to the Latest Rental Laws in California

Recently, California established new rental legislation that provide a host of additional protections for both landlords and tenants.

Several measures have been enacted, and the new rental rules will go into effect on July 1, 2024, despite the fact that not all of the state’s attempts to modify the laws have been successful. These are some of the most significant adjustments.

New Security Deposit Limits

Regardless of whether the apartment is furnished or not, landlords are prohibited from collecting security deposits from tenants that total more than one month’s rent as of July 1, 2024.

This provision has an exception that permits some small landlords to request a security deposit equal to up to two months’ rent.

The landlord must be a natural person or an LLC whose members are all natural persons in order to be eligible for the exemption. They also cannot possess more than two rental properties totaling four units.

The Unit Could Store Micro-mobility Devices

It is no longer legal for landlords to forbid renters from keeping micromobility equipment like scooters and e-bikes in their apartments.

The batteries used in the devices must be Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved. The landlord may demand that the tenant obtain insurance or refrain from charging the unit’s batteries if the equipment is not powered by authorized batteries.

If the landlord decides they do not want the gadget within the apartment, they may also provide long-term, secure storage outside the unit.

Stay Informed: A Guide to the Latest Rental Laws in California

Trespass Letters Are Now Applicable for an Entire Year

A new law called SB 602 gives landlords more protection when dealing with trespassers. Landlords in California are required by law to send a “no trespass” letter (sometimes called a 602 letter) if they are experiencing problems with uninvited guests on their property.

Local law enforcement has the authority to remove trespassers while the 602 letter is in effect. The 602-letter would have expired after 30 days, but under the recently amended law, landlords are now able to keep it in effect for up to 12 months.

Modifications to Verdictive Actions

With the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 revision, there are new rules for reasonable cause evictions. When a landlord wants to terminate the tenancy because they or a close family member wants to occupy the apartment, this is known as a just cause eviction.

The new law imposes stricter fines on landlords who violate the guidelines and mandates written notices to the tenant.

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Email-based Tenant Screening Fees

As long as both parties agree and the application is prepared to supply an email address, landlords and tenants can now decide to utilize email to send a screening fee receipt. It used to be mandatory for landlords to deliver it in person or mail it.

A Guide to the Latest Rental Laws in California

Landlords that use government subsidies must give tenants the option of “ability to pay” rather than a credit check. New limitations on the use of credit history checks to evaluate candidates for government subsidies like Section 8 are imposed by SB 267.

When a renter applies, landlords who are ready to take the subsidy cannot check their credit history unless they are also willing to accept other forms of proof of their ability to pay back the loan.

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Ban on Programs for Crime-Free Housing

A new bill called AB1418 is taking aim at “crime-free housing programs” that local governments have implemented. It is against the law to impose conditions on landlords who opt not to discriminate against tenants who have a criminal record. Local governments are prohibited by AB1418 from:

  • Requiring landlords to investigate their tenants’ criminal histories
  • Encouraging suspected criminal activity without a criminal conviction as grounds for removal
  • Defining nuisance behavior as anything that does not fit within the state’s definition of what constitutes a nuisance, such as phoning the police
  • Lease clauses pertaining to evictions should be extended beyond what is now required by state law.

Read More: This California City Has the Most Homeless People in the State

Rent-Controlled Apartments: New Rights for Disabled Tenants

Tenants with a permanent disability may ask to move to a smaller or equal-sized unit on an accessible floor inside the same building in local rent-controlling authorities without having to pay a higher rent. The only rent-controlled apartment residents affected by this new law are those who:

  • Possess a long-term impairment affecting their mobility.
  • Reside in an apartment building without a functioning elevator are not facing eviction due to unpaid rent.
  • Residing in a region that has chosen to implement Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, AB 1620.

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Final Words

A number of new regulations have been put into effect in California with the goal of balancing the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants.

These adjustments include restricting security deposits, permitting micromobility devices within apartments, changing just-cause evictions, adding email alternatives for fee receipt screening, and prolonging the validity of trespass notifications.

Furthermore, discriminatory “crime-free housing programs” have been outlawed by the state, and rent-controlled homes for disabled renters now have additional rights. The goal of these legislative initiatives is to give all parties engaged in housing a more equitable and stable living environment.