At the November 12 meeting Duarte City Council meeting, Council members unanimously adopted “Urgency Ordinance No. 894,” protecting renters from no-cause evictions ahead of a new state law that caps rent hikes.
Some Duarte renters, including seniors on fixed incomes, reached out to Duarte City Council members and attended City Council meetings, asking for assistance in the face of eviction notices that the renters believed came without breech of lease or harm to the property.
The City Council’s action coincides with a statewide surge as certain landlords look to hike rents ahead of The Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482), a new State law to take effect Jan. 1. Signed into law on Oct. 8, AB 1482 includes provisions that prevent property owners from terminating a tenancy without just cause, and caps annual rent increases to five percent plus the rate of inflation, or 10 percent, whichever is lower. Additionally, AB 1482 does not limit rental increases if a unit is vacant. Until Jan. 1, 2020, existing State law generally allows owners to terminate a vacancy without just causes, provided that the owner gives proper notice. As a result, owners could take advantage of the new law’s exception for vacant rentals by evicting tenants ahead of Jan. 1 and increasing the rent.
In its decision to implement the urgency ordinance, Duarte City Council cited the need to mitigate compounding the epidemic of those experiencing homelessness in the San Gabriel Valley by adding displaced renters to those numbers.
Under this ordinance, the provisions of State law applicable on January 1, 2020, are moved forward to the date the ordinance was passed. If an issue with the tenant is fixable, the tenant must first be given a notice of the violation and time to rectify the issue. If a landlord issues a no-fault just cause termination notice, the landlord is required to assist in either relocation fees or waive the payment of rent for the final month of tenancy.
If residents have questions about the ordinance, or how it may apply to any eviction notice they may receive prior to January 1, 2020, they may reach out to the City Manager’s Office at (626) 357-7931. Residents experiencing tenant and landlord issues outside of no-fault terminations are encouraged to contact the Housing Rights Center which provides free fair housing services to residents and property owners throughout L.A. County, (800) 477-5977 or housingrightscenter.org.