Rent battle rages: Legislators reintroduce tenant eviction protection measure

Landlords would be required to give an approved reason to evict tenant

From left: Assemblyman David Chiu, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, and Assemblyman Tim Grayson
From left: Assemblyman David Chiu, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, and Assemblyman Tim Grayson

In the continuing battle over statewide tenant protections, legislators have added “just cause” evictions to an existing rent control bill that would impose a cap on future rent increases.

Assemblyman David Ciu, a San Francisco Democrat, said the protections are aimed at preventing “predatory evictions,” which he said add to the growing homeless crisis.

Assembly Bill 1481, which died in May, would have required landlords to provide an approved reason, or “just cause” — such as failing to pay rent or breaking the lease agreement — to a third-party before proceedings could start.

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Now, that measure is being tacked onto the larger rent bill, AB 1482, which passed the Assembly in May and is expected to be taken up by a state Senate committee next week. AB 1482 would cap rent increases at 7 percent per year plus inflation.

The California Apartment Association has opposed both bills, and said eviction protections make it harder for landlords to remove bad tenants. Spokesman Mike Meneth told the Register that the measures will give investors more reasons to move their development projects out of California.

AB 1482 is lawmakers’ answer to last November’s failed Proposition 10 referendum, which would have opened the door to greater rent control measures statewide, but which was strongly opposed by the real estate industry. Several cities have since taken matters into their own hands and imposed rent hike freeze and rent control measures, including in Inglewood.

Another version of Prop 10 is also being circulated for signatures for the next ballot. [OC Register] — Gregory Cornfield