Counsel, Advocacy & Representation for California Tenants

Is my rental property protected from unjust eviction?

Just Cause Eviction Requirements

Summary of Eviction Controls

Statewide eviction controls will prohibit an owner of residential real property (with certain exceptions) from terminating a tenancy without “just cause,” when the tenant has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months.

The cause for termination must be stated in a written notice to terminate.

In addition, landlords whose rental properties are coverd by the new law must now provide to their tenants a written statement explaining the new protections.

Notice Requirements to Tenants

Owners of residential rental property subject to the new just cause and rent control requirements  created by the new Civil Code sections must provide written notice to their tenant explaining how they are now protected against unjust eviction and excessive rent increases.  In at least 12 point font the notice must state the following:

California law limits the amount your rent can be increased. See Section 1947.12 of the Civil Code for more information. California law also provides that after all of the tenants have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more or at least one of the tenants has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months or more, a landlord must provide a statement of cause in any notice to terminate a tenancy. See Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code for more information.

(Civil Code § 1946.2(f)(3))

For any tenancy commenced or renewed on or after July 1, 2020, the landlord or property management must provide an addendum to the lease, or rental agreement, or as a written notice signed by the tenant, with a copy then provided to the tenant.

For those tenancies already existing prior to July 1, 2020, written notice must be given to the tenant no later than August 1, 2020, or as an addendum to the lease or rental agreement.

Exceptions in the Law

Certain residential tenancies, and all commercial tenancies, are exempt from the eviction controls; residential exemptions are listed in California Civil Code section 1946.2, subdivisions (e) and (g), which also refer to other California statutes define certain terms.

  • Transient and tourist hotel occupancy as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1940.

  • Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed residential care facility for the elderly, as defined in Section 1569.2 of the Health and Safety Code, or an adult residential facility, as defined in Chapter 6 of Division 6 of Title 22 of the Manual of Policies and Procedures published by the State Department of Social Services.

  • Dormitories owned and operated by an institution of higher education or a kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, school.

  • Housing accommodations in which the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner who maintains their principal residence at the residential real property.

  • Single-family owner-occupied residences, including a residence in which the owner-occupant rents or leases no more than two units or bedrooms, including, but not limited to, an accessory dwelling unit or a junior accessory dwelling unit.

  • A duplex in which the owner occupied one of the units as the owner’s principal place of residence at the beginning of the tenancy, so long as the owner continues in occupancy.

  • Housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 15 years.

  • Most categories of subsidized affordable housing

To summarize, the protections do not apply to newer buildings that have been built within the last 15 years, shared houses where the owner still resides and rents no more than two of the bedrooms, or separate apartments, when the property is a duplex or there is a separate detached legally permitted dwelling on the same parcel, dorms, hospitals, and hotels, and subsidized affordable housing.

The exceptions to the rules also apply to certain kinds of owners.  If the residence is separate from the title to any other dwelling unit (meaning a single family residence) the landlord will not have to supply a just cause to evict if both of the following apply:

The owner is not any of the following:

(i) A real estate investment trust, as defined in Section 856 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(ii) A corporation.

(iii) A limited liability company in which at least one member is a corporation.


The tenants have been provided written notice that the residential property is exempt from just cause requirements and rent control.  Importantly, if the tenancy began before to January 1, 2020, then this paragraph disclosing the fact that the property is exempt from just cause eviction control is not required to be in the rental agreement, however, some form of written notice that the rental property is exempt just cause eviction controls must still be given. 

Get legal counsel to resolve uncertainties

Even if you believe that the rental property you live in may not be covered by the law, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney before you jump to any conclusions, or simply accept that your landlord can force you to move for any reason whatsoever. 

The expense of getting reliable counsel and advice from a lawyer specializing in landlord/tenant law is very small compared to the cost of moving, or potentially having to face a fight in court unprepared.

The just cause requirements that will now be in place could represent a life changing opportunity for California tenants that are correctly educated on the law and who aren’t afraid to assert their rights. Now is the time for California tenants to stand up and speak up.

I encourage you to use the link below to set up a consultation with an attorney dedicated to defending tenants’ rights.


More Posts About Tenants' Rights


Tenant Rights During Covid On June 29, the California Legislature enacted new changes to several different laws that significantly impact California renters’ rights. It is

Tenants Rights Attorney

San Diego Attorney Specializing in Eviction Defense & Tenants Rights Marc D. Whitham Marc D. Whitham is a San Diego tenant rights lawyer who has devoted

How Can We Help You?

Get Representation

If you have a situation that is more than a question, and are already having a dispute with your landlord, then information alone is often not enough to settle the matter to your advantage. What most renters need, but seldom have, is an attorney who knows the law, and the landlord’s duties under the law, and is not afraid to advocate for tenants.

Even the most informed tenants can find the court system overwhelming.  Defending against eviction on your own is more than just challenging.  Fort the unprepared and unrepresented it is an ordeal filled with traps.  Tenants who go to court without an attorney frequently enter into bad agreements and suffer humiliation at the hands of the landlord’s lawyers. Having an experienced attorney on your side will make a difference.

Get Informed

If your situation is not a lawsuit in court, but rather a question, or a curiosity about what the law says, there are many places where you can find educational materials, and  every tenant should become familiar with the legal protections for tenants in California law.

Many times the answer to tenants’ legal questions are more complicated than they may first appear.  It’s important to be careful, and not to rely upon every piece of information posted online, or simply accept the advice of friends and neighbors.  Make sure the source of your legal advice is reliable and up to date.

Look around the website and see if we have information to help you.  If you have a question and you can’t find an answer,  click here to send us a comment.  An attorney that specializes in advocating for tenants will reply, and can direct you to the resources you need. 

Don't go to Trial unprepared

Written notices demanding the payment of rent, notices that threaten the termination of your lease, accusations of illegal activity, and notices of changes in terms and conditions of a lease from a landlord or property manager are often the prelude to legal action.  They must be taken seriously.  It is critical for tenants to respond to notice from a landlord intelligently and prudently.

Before you agree to excessive rent increases, or allow the oppressive actions of the owner or management intimidate you, meet with a professional.

Information, early in time, is the key to success.  Often times becoming informed can help you to avoid being on defense.  If you are not able to avoid litigation, then consult with an attorney who stands with tenants and defends their rights.

Don't Waste Time

When a tenant has a legal conflict with the landlord, there is often only a short period of time to act.  Under California law, landlords are usually required to give notice to tenants before they resort to legal action. However, most of these legally required notices give a tenant only three days to act.  When a tenant fails to act within the three days then the landlord can proceed to court.

Once an action to evict (also called unlawful detainer) is filed against a tenant in court, it can move very quickly.   Landlords enjoy a unique legal procedure, which is known as a summary proceeding.   Once a tenant is sued in court, and then served with an unlawful detainer summons, then he or she has only five days to respond.

If your landlord has sued you or is threatening to sue you, then you must act quickly. Hesitation and uncertainty can lead to a loss of money, loss of security and the loss of your home. Don’t wait.  Schedule an appointment for a consultation  immediately to discuss your case.