Landlords Must Offer Relocation Assistance for “No Fault” Terminations
“No Fault” Termination Defined
If a tenant receives a Notice to Terminate tenancy, and there is no allegation that he or she is at fault, then that tenant may be entitled to recover relocation benefits.
If the basis for termination contained in the notice describes the landlord’s intention to allow an immediate
family member to move into the property, or because the landlord has to comply with an order to vacate the property issued by government, or a court, or because the landlord intends to demolish, or to substantially remodel the real property, then relocation benefits should be offered to the tenant.
Offer of Relocation Assistance
The new revisions to the law require the owner to offer to assist the tenant cover the expense of relocation by either;
Assisting the tenant to relocate by providing a direct payment to the tenant,
Waive in writing the payment of rent for the final month of the tenancy, prior to the rent becoming due.
Notice Must be Given to Tenant
The amount of relocation assistance, or rent waiver shall be equal to one month of the tenant’s rent that was in effect when the owner issued the notice to terminate the tenancy. Relocation assistance shall be provided within 15 calendar days of service of the notice.
If an owner issues a notice to terminate a tenancy for no-fault just cause, the owner must notify the tenant of the tenant’s right to relocation assistance, or a rent waiver. This information must be provided in the body of the notice to terminate.
If a Property Owner Fails to Inform the Tenant that Relocation Benefits are Available, then the Notice of Termination is Void
Civil Code §1946(d)(4) states that if a landlord intends to pursue legal action to evict a tenant based upon a notice alleging a no fault termination, but fails to explain to the terminated tenant that he or she has a right to recover relocation benefits, then that notice that is void. This means that the tenant will not be forced to move, and may successfully defend any unlawful detainer action brought by the landlord.
While this provision of the law may prove very helpful to tenants, it also creates a perverse incentive for landlords to attempt terminations based upon the other “at fault” bases allowed under the statute. For this reason, it is very important that tenants act immediately to get legal assistance whenever they are served with any kind of notice concerning obligations under a rental contract.
Get Legal Assistance Before you Make any Decisions About Accepting Relocation Assistance
In order to determine whether you will qualify for relocation assistance, or if you have received any notice to terminate your tenancy, it is strongly recommended that you schedule an appointment to discuss it with an attorney. Even if the landlord is offering relocation money, before a tenant
makes any decisions about how, when and whether to leave, she should understand how to maximize the amount she can recover. Professional legal counsel can greatly assist tenants to assert the strongest position available. You can set that consultation by opening the link below.