San Diego Enacts New Tenant Protection Ordinance in 2023

On May 25, 2023 the San Diego City Council passed Ordinance No. 21647 which went into effect on June 24, 2023. This ordinance expanded tenant protections for tenancies in certain units the City of San Diego.  

Certain properties are exempt from the ordinance which include: (1) short-term rental properties, (2) affordable housing units, (3) mobile homes, (4) room rentals where the tenant shares a bathroom or kitchen with the landlord in the landlord’s primary residence; (5) single family properties that are the landlord’s primary residence where the tenant rents a room, accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or mobile home on site; (6) attached duplexes where the landlord resides in one unit; (7) properties constructed in the last 15 years, and (8) single family homes, townhomes, and condos as long as the unit is not owned by a real estate investment trust, a corporation, or an LLC that has a corporate member. 

For all exempt properties, the owner must provide written notice to the tenants in order for the exemption to apply.  For all existing leases that went into effect before January 1, 2024, the notice should be served on the tenant or prepared as an amendment to the lease.  For any new leases entered into on or after January 1, 2024, the exemption language must be in the lease itself.  

Properties that are not exempt from the ordinance, (which include multi-unit properties, duplexes where the owner doesn’t live on site, etc.) the landlord must have “just cause” to terminate the lease with the tenant (similar to what is already required under the CA Tenant Protection Act).  There are “at fault” just cause reasons, and “no fault” just cause reasons.  Please refer to the ordinance for the complete list of these “just cause” reasons. Owners of properties that are subject to the ordinance must provide written notice to the tenant of this new law, as well as a copy of the Tenant Protection Guide.  Additionally, there are now extensive requirements for entering into any “buy out” agreements (i.e. cash for keys) with a tenant to get them to vacate, and language required to be in the lease if an owner wants to terminate a tenant to move back into the property.  Under the CA Tenant Protection Act, tenants are entitled to one month’s rent for relocation assistance, but this new San Diego law provides for up to two month’s rent for any “no fault” terminations. There are also new rules for language in any 60 day termination notices.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is specific to the laws of the State of California. For specific questions related to this article, please contact the Law Office of Ashley M. Peterson.