Landlord Must Accept Rent from Third Parties
Presently landlords often refuse to accept rent payment from anyone but the tenant since doing so may create an unintended tenancy. This new law requires a landlord to accept rent from a third party when the third-party signs an acknowledgement. Specifically, this new law:
o Requires a landlord or landlord’s agent to allow a tenant to pay rent through a third party when the third party provides a signed acknowledgment stating that they are not currently a tenant of the premises and that acceptance of the rent payment does not create a new tenancy with the third party.
o Specifies the language of a form acknowledgment that landlords may, but are not required to, provide for use by third parties when rent is tendered to a landlord on behalf of a tenant.
Clarifies that none of these provisions shall be construed to require a landlord or landlord’s agent to enter into a contract in connection with a federal, state, or local housing assistance program, including, but not limited to, the federal housing assistance voucher program under Section 8.
o Clarifies that none of the above provisions enlarge or diminish a landlord’s or landlord’s agent’s legal right to terminate a tenancy, nor are intended to extend the due date for any rent payment or require a landlord or landlord’s agent to accept tender of rent beyond the expiration of the 3-day period to pay or quit.
o Provides that a waiver of these provisions is contrary to public policy and is void and unenforceable
Here is the simple form that a landlord may require a third-party payor to sign as a condition of accepting rent:
I, [insert name of third party], state as follows:
I am not currently a tenant of the premises located at [insert address of premises].
I acknowledge that acceptance of the rent payment I am offering for the premises does not create a new tenancy.
(signature of third party) _________________
Assembly Bill 2219 codified as an amendment to Civil Code § 1947.3. Effective January 1, 2019.
Inspection of Decks, Balconies, Stairways, and Walkways
This law requires that buildings with 3 or more multifamily dwelling units with decks, balconies, stairways, and walkways must be inspected by a properly licensed person by January 1, 2025, and a subsequent inspection must be done every 6 years. The owner would have to make repairs if the inspector found that the decks or balconies needed repair.
All repair and replacement work shall be performed by a qualified and licensed contractor. A permit for the repairs must be applied for within 120 days of receipt of the inspection report, and the owner has 120 days more to complete the repairs.
If the inspection reveals conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupants, the inspection report must be delivered to the owner of the building within 15 days and emergency preventive measures must be performed “immediately” with notice given to the local enforcement agency. Local enforcement agencies may recover enforcement costs associated with these requirements.
The local enforcement agency is required to send a 30-day corrective notice to the owner of the building if repairs are not completed on time. The law provides for civil penalties and liens against the property for the owner of the building who fails to comply with these provisions.
A landlord is authorized to enter the dwelling unit to comply with the requirements.
Common interest developments are exempted. However, any buildings proposed for conversion to condominiums to be sold to the public after January 1, 2019, must have the required inspection conducted prior to the first close of escrow of a separate interest in the project. The inspection report and written confirmation by the inspector that any recommended repairs or replacements have been completed to be submitted to, among others, the Department of Real Estate. C.A.R. is working with the DRE Subdivision section to amend the Condominium Conversion Subdivision Purchase Agreement (CCSPA) (which was developed at the request of, and previously approved by, the DRE for use with condominium conversions) to meet this obligation.
Senate Bill 721 is codified as Civil Code § 1954 and Health and Safety Code §§ 17973 et seq. Effective January 1, 2019.
Landlord Tenant: Price Gouging and Eviction During a Declared Emergency
This new law retains the 10% maximum rental price increase during declared state of emergencies, and additionally:
Expands the scope of criminal price gouging by including rental housing that was not on the market at the time of the proclamation or declaration of emergency. And defines the rental price for purposes of the crime of rent gouging as:
• For housing rented at the time of the proclamation or declaration of emergency, the actual rental price paid by the tenant.
• For housing not rented at the time of the declaration or proclamation, but rented, or offered for rent, within one year prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency, the most recent rental price offered before the proclamation or declaration of emergency. This amount may be increased by 5% if the housing was previously rented or offered for rent unfurnished, and it is now being offered for rent fully furnished. This amount shall not be adjusted for any other good or service, including without limitation gardening or utilities, currently or formerly provided in connection with the lease;
• For housing not rented, or not offered for rent, within one year prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency, 160% of the Fair Market Rent established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This amount may be increased by 5% if the housing is offered for rent fully furnished. This amount shall not be adjusted for any other good or service, including without limitation gardening or utilities, currently or formerly provided in connection with the lease.
This new law makes it illegal to evict a tenant during a declared state of emergency or any extension and offer to rent to another person at a higher price, except for cause such as 1) non-payment of rent, 2) breach of covenant, 3) lease termination, 4) improper subletting, waste, nuisance or illegal use, or 5) as otherwise permitted by Code of Civil Procedure § 1161.
The new law allows a greater than 10% rental price increase if directly attributable to additional costs for repairs or additions beyond normal maintenance that were amortized over the rental term.
The new law clarifies that it remains in force during the state of emergency or any extension and that it applies to mobile homes.
It is not a defense to a prosecution that an increase in rental price was based on the length of the rental term, the inclusion of additional goods or services (except with respect to furniture), or that the rent was offered by, or paid by, an insurance company, or other third party, on behalf of a tenant.
Applicable beyond counties with declared state of emergency: Under existing law, although a state of emergency is declared in regard to a specific county, Attorney General Anthony Becerra has stated that “The statute does not restrict its protection to a city or county where the emergency or disaster is located. It is intended to prevent price gouging anywhere in the state where there is increased consumer demand as a result of the declared emergency. For example, if a fire in San Diego County causes residents to evacuate to neighboring Imperial County, hotels in Imperial County may not raise rates by more than 10% to take advantage of the increase in demand for lodging.” See FAQs on Price Gouging.
Assembly Bill 1919 is codified as Penal Code § 396 and Government Code § 8588.8. Effective January 1, 2019.