Tenant Protections

current information


attention: rent registry ordinance effective june 20, 2019 - click here for more information.


Assembly Bill 1482: Tenant Protection Act of 2019 – Rent Caps
On October 8, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1482: Tenant Protection Act of 2019 – Rent Caps. The bill will take effect January 1, 2020 and sunsets on January 1, 2030. AB 1482 includes annual rent increase caps of 5% plus inflation or 10%, whichever is lower; protections for ‘just cause’ and ‘no-fault’ evictions; relocation assistance; and revised tenant noticing requirements. Most multifamily rental properties that are at least 15 years old are subject to this law, with some exceptions. To access AB 1482 and its full text, please visit the California Legislative Information website by clicking here.



The City has prepared a summary of AB 1482 that tenants, property owners/managers and others can access here.

For legal assistance, please contact Bay Area Legal Aid 800-551-5554 or Contra Costa County Superior Court Self-Help Center here.

Governor Newsom Declares Statewide Emergency Due to Fires, Extreme Weather Conditions
On October 27, 2019 Governor Newsom declared a statewide emergency as a result of the wildfires that have burned throughout the state. During this state of emergency, under CA Penal Code Section 396, it is illegal to increase the costs of housing, gas, food and other essential supplies more than 10% for 180 days following the date of declaration. Violations of this law may include fines and other civil penalties. For more information, please visit the California Office of the Attorney General Office, Price Gouging in California – Frequently Asked Questions or California Legislative Information - California Penal Code Section 396.

Other Housing Updates


For a summary of other new housing laws signed by the Governor, please visit: https://www.gov.ca.gov/newsroom and www.el-cerrito.org/housingupdates.



tenant protections task force

On August 20, 2019, the City Council conducted interviews and appointed 8 residents (comprised of 4 tenants and 4 landlords) to the newly formed Tenant Protections Task Force. The Task Force will be facilitated by third party professional mediator and will meet a minimum of 3 times with a limited term of twelve months. To learn more, including meeting dates, please click here.


​just cause for eviction

The City Council adopted Ordinance 2019-07 on August 20, 2019 repealing Ordinance 2019-04 which adopted El Cerrito Municipal Code Chapter 10.300 – Just Cause for Eviction and Prohibition on Harassment of Tenants. The Just Cause for Eviction policies were assigned to the Tenant Protections Task Force by the City Council. Based on the repeal of Ordinance 2019-04, the City Council cannot enact an ordinance of substantially the same content prior to September 20, 2020. Click here to view the City Council agendas, minutes and e-packets.


July 31, 2019
At a Special Meeting on July 31, 2019, the City Council passed a motion to repeal the Just Cause and Prohibition on Harassment of Tenants (Ordinance 2019-04). Staff will return to the City Council on August 20, 2019 to request waiving the second reading of Ordinance 2019-07, repealing Chapter 10.300 – Just Cause for Eviction and Prohibition on Harassment of Tenants. If adopted, Ordinance 2019-07 will take effect on September 19, 2019. Ordinance 2019-04 remains suspended until that time. At the same meeting, the City Council also passed a motion to amended the duties and responsibilities of the Tenant Protections Task Force to include the Just Cause for Eviction policy.

On May 21, 2019, the City Council adopted the Just Cause for Eviction and Prohibition on Harassment of Tenants Ordinance, El Cerrito Municipal Code Chapter 10.300 (Ordinance No. 2019-04), which was to become effective June 20, 2019. As passed, the ordinance would limit the bases for termination of residential tenancies. It would only apply to multi-family properties with five or more units that received a Certificate of Occupancy issued before January 1, 2015.

However, on June 10, 2019, a referendum petition was filed with the City Clerk related to the Ordinance. This process, allowed by California Elections Code, suspends implementation of the ordinance. On June 27, 2019, the Contra Costa County Elections Office notified the City and determined that petition contained the required valid voter signatures. As required by the California Elections Code, the City Council will take action at upcoming meetings to certify the results of the petition and then either repeal the ordinance or call an election for the purpose of submitting it to the voters. Please click here to access current/future City Council Agenda items.


BACKGROUND



May 21, 2019
At the May 21, 2019 City Council meeting, the Council adopted both the Rent Registry and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinances. The ordinances will take effect in 30-days on June 20, 2019. Both ordinances will be implemented by the Community Development Department.

The Rent Registry Ordinance, El Cerrito Municipal Code Chapter 10.100 (Ordinance 2019-03), establishes an annual reporting requirement for all residential rental property owners to submit data into a City database regarding rents and other relevant information. The data collected will be used to inform the City Council about the rental market and trends in El Cerrito. The City Council has not, at this time, provided any direction for the Rent Registry to be used to regulate rents in the City. However, participation in the program is mandatory.

The Just Cause for Eviction and Prohibition on Harassment of Tenants Ordinance, El Cerrito Municipal Code Chapter 10.300 (Ordinance2019-04), establishes enumerated reasons for which a landlord can terminate tenancy for multi-family properties with five (5) or more units that received a Certificate of Occupancy issued before January 1, 2015.

There are new annual registration fees for associated with each program. The Rent Registry is set at $44.00 per unit, and $35.00 per unit for Just Cause to recover administrative costs to implement both programs. The Community Development Department is working with the Finance Department to utilize the City’s annual business license renewals, which begins in late-June, to invoice property owners for these fees that are due by July 31, 2019. At the same time, the City will also provide property owners with additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions, regarding the specific requirements for each ordinance.

In addition, on May 21st the City Council directed staff to form a Tenant Protections Task Force of eight (8) members made up equally of landlords and tenants. The purpose of the Task Force is to bring together landlords and tenants to find common ground in order to make policy recommendations to the City Council for their consideration. The Task Force will be led by a professional facilitator/mediator and staffed by the City’s Housing Analyst as the staff liaison. The Task Force will meet a minimum of 3 times and sunset after 6 months. Please sign up to the Community Development Department E-News at www.el-cerrito.org/CommDev to learn more about the application process and how to apply.

May 7, 2019
At the May 7, 2019 City Council meeting, the City Council held the first reading of two proposed ordinances: a Rent Registry Ordinance; and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance. The second reading of these ordinances will return to the City Council on May 21, 2019, and when adopted will take effect in 30-days on June 20, 2019. The Rent Registry Ordinance establishes an annual reporting requirement for all residential rental property owners to submit data into a City database regarding rents and other relevant information. The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance establishes enumerated reasons for which a landlord can terminate tenancy for multi-family properties with five (5) or more units that received a Certificate of Occupancy issued before January 1, 2015.

Please click here to access the City Council Agenda Packet.

March 5, 2019
On February 19th, City Council held a Study Session to discuss several tenant protection policies. The Council continued the Study Session on March 5. At that session, the Council passed a series of motions directing staff to:
  • Return with a proposed Rent Registry ordinance that will allow the City to collect data regarding rents for all residential rental properties;
  • Return with a proposed Just Cause for Eviction ordinance that applies to buildings with five or more units, built prior to January 1, 2015, including looking at definition of property owner;
  • Research whether the existing Minimum Lease ordinance voted on in December needs revision in association with other ordinances, and bring back for consideration; and,
  • Return with possible options for a multi-stakeholder “task force”, to collaborate and identify good El Cerrito-specific options to address the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy policy To reduce the risk of displacement and help stabilize at-risk populations. The options are to include potentially using an independent collaborator, with associated costs. The group should be equally made of landlords and tenants with multitude of building sizes, with a goal of presenting a series of recommendation that would be desirable by both as a working model.
February 19, 2019
On February 19th City Council held a Study Session to discuss three tenant protection policies:

  1. Tenant Relocation Assistance;
  2. Just Cause for Evictions; and
  3. Rent Registry.
There were over 150 attendees and many hours of public testimony. As a result, Council will continue the Study Session during a Special Meeting March 5th at 5:30pm. Tenants, landlords and any members of the public are welcome to attend the Special Meeting. To access the City Council Agenda and packet, click here.

February 2019: Citywide postcard mailed to all the residents and business license holders announcing the February 19th study session. Click here to view the postcard.

January 15, 2019: The second reading of three ordinances returned to City Council. Given that the four ordinances introduced on December 18 were part of an integrated package and in consideration with Council’s direction to return with Just Case Eviction and Rent Registry, action was deferred. In the interest of maintaining an integrated package of Tenant Protection Ordinances and conservation of staff resources for implementation and administration, including providing consistent and clear support to tenants and landlords, staff believes that it would be appropriate for the City Council to defer action on the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance until after the Council has had an opportunity to evaluate it along with a Just Cause Eviction ordinance and Rent registry ordinance. Click here to view the packet.

December 18, 2018: The first reading of four ordinances was introduced to City Council.

  1. Rent Review Program;
  2. Minimum Lease Term;
  3. Termination of Tenancy; and 
  4. Tenant Relocation Assistance triggered by demolition, remodel, renovation or re-purposing of a property.
Council adopted three of the four proposed ordinances: 1) Minimum Lease Term; 2) Termination of Tenancy; and 3) Tenant Relocation Assistance. And, the Tenant Relocation Assistance was amended to include 20% rent increase over a two-year period and to include an additional payment of one month’s rent for special circumstances households, as defined in the ordinance. Additionally, the City Council directed staff to return with a Just Cause Eviction ordinance and an ordinance to create a method for collecting data regarding rents for residential units (a “Rent Registry”). Click here to view the packet.

November 8, 2018: Staff hosted a workshop for the public to provide feedback on the four draft ordinances for City Council consideration at the December 18, 2018. Click here to view the flyer.

August 21, 2018: City Council held a Study Session to discuss the Strategy, Pillar B: Reduce the Risk of Displacement and Help Stabilize At-Risk Populations. There were near-term tools identified (could be adopted 90-120 days) and medium-term programs (1-2 years) identified for City Council's consideration. Council directed staff to proceed with the near-term tools for implementation that include: 1) Rent Review Program; 2) Minimum Lease Term; 3) Termination of Tenancy; and 4) Tenant Relocation Assistance triggered by demolition, remodel, renovation or re purposing of a property.

August 15, 2017: The El Cerrito Affordable Housing Strategy (Strategy) was adopted by City Council (Resolution 2017-61). The Strategy was developed based upon an evaluation of the City’s existing affordable housing programs and resources and it aimed to proactively identify programs and policies that could be advanced in the near- and medium-term to meet the City’s housing goals, as articulated in the City’s 2015-2023 Housing Element and San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan. The goals of the Strategy set the framework over the next five years to ensure that the City advances policies and programs to produce, protect and preserve housing at all income levels.

The Strategy identified the following four policy pillars to guide the City’s affordable housing efforts:

  • Leverage Private Development to Address Affordable Housing Needs
  • Reduce the Risk of Displacement and Help Stabilize At-Risk Populations
  • Encourage Development of Missing Middle Housing Types
  • Increase Local Funding to Continue Support of Low Income and Special Needs Housing Development
For more information, please contact Aissia Ashoori, Affordable Housing Analyst at aashoori@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or 510.215.4361.