Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

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News and updates

  • Effective November 18, 2022, the Santa Ana City Council adopted an amended Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance that included a number of changes.

Read about these changes to the Ordinance

  • On November 18, 2022, the City of Santa Anna issued a Request for Proposals (RFP #22-155) to conduct a comprehensive fee study to determine appropriate program fees that would recover all program costs associated with services provided under the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. Please visit the bid details for more information.
  • On November 18, 2022, the City of Santa Anna issued a Request for Proposals (RFP #22-156) to implement, operate, and maintain a rental registry database/portal that supports the City’s Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. Please visit the bid details for more information.
  • The City of Santa Ana issued the annual Notice of Allowable Rent Increase, effective September 1, 2022. The allowable rent increase for the period effective September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023 is 3 percent for units subject to the Rent Stabilization provisions of the Ordinance.

About the Ordinance

The Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) is a local law that limits rent increases to the lower of 3 percent per year, or 80 percent of the percent change in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) over the most recent 12-month period for certain residential rental units and mobilehome spaces in the City of Santa Ana. The Ordinance also provides “just cause” eviction protections for most tenants that occupy a residential real property or mobilehome for 30 days.

Read the ordinance

 

Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Owners are required to provide written notice to tenants

Property owners are required to provide written notice of the Ordinance and tenants’ rights at commencement of a lease or as part of any notice to increase rent. The notice shall be written in the language that the Owner and Tenant used to negotiate the terms of the Tenancy (e.g., Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean), as well as English and in a form prescribed by the City.

View and download the notices

Rent Stabilization provisions

Key rent stabilization provisions

  • The rent stabilization provisions of the Ordinance regulating the amount of rent that may be charged does not apply to units expressly exempt under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act or the Mobilehome Residency Law.
  • Only one rent increase is allowed in a 12-month period, and it cannot exceed the allowable rent increase in effect for that period.
  • The City will publish the maximum allowable rent increase no later than June 30 of each year, which shall be effective on September 1 of that year.
  • There may be circumstances where owners may be able to raise tenants’ rent over 3 percent, subject to approval of a petition for relief from the cap.

Maximum allowable rent increase

The maximum allowable rent increase for the period September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, is 3 percent. According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan Area from May 2021 through May 2022 was 8.01 percent. Since 80 percent of this change in CPI through May 2022 is greater than 3 percent, then the maximum allowable rent increase is capped at 3 percent for the next applicable period.

Please use the links below for further information on the calculation of the maximum allowable increase, as well as further instructions on how property owners may apply the increase depending on when their last increase was applied.

Notice of allowable rent increase effective September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023

Rental Registry – coming soon

A Rental Registry is the database or portal where landlords will be required to register their rental unit(s), update their rental unit information, update tenancy information, submit notices, and pay the annual rental registry fee.  The Rental Registry will be launched on July 1, 2023. Please reference Section 8-3160 of the Ordinance for more information.

The Property Activity Tool below may be used to look up general property information.

How the Ordinance's rent increase cap applies

The rent stabilization cap only applies to buildings built on or before February 1, 1995 pursuant to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The rent stabilization cap for mobilehome spaces only applies to mobilehome parks established before 1990 regardless of ownership.  Use the Property Activity Tool below to check the year when your rental unit or mobilehome space was built. If the “Year Built” is not available, please e-mail us at rso@santa-ana.org or call (714) 667-2209.  Please note that the rent stabilization cap does not apply to ALL residential units built before February 1, 1995 or mobilehome spaces established before 1990.  Please refer to the list of exemptions found in the Ordinance and FAQs.

Petitions

Owner fair return petition

An owner of residential real property or a mobilehome park owner may petition for a rent increase in excess of the published allowable rent increase in order to obtain a fair and reasonable return on their property, as set forth by the criteria in the Ordinance.  The applicant shall bear the burden of establishing that, without such an increase, they will not realize a fair and reasonable return on the property.  Section 8-3142 of the Ordinance details the requirements for a Fair Return Petition for Rent Increase. Please click the link below to download and complete the Owner Fair Return Petition and e-mail or mail it back to the City of Santa Ana at rso@santa-ana.org or Community Development Agency – Attention: RSO, 20 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, CA 92702.

The owner(s), or authorized representative of the owner(s), must complete the Fair Return Petition and include all supporting documentation. After the Fair Return Petition is submitted, it will be reviewed to make sure it contains all necessary information. A Fair Return Petition will only be accepted when it has been submitted in substantially completed form with all material information necessary to reach a decision on the Fair Return Petition. Once the petition is accepted, an impartial Hearing Officer will conduct a hearing to act upon the petition. The hearing will be held within 60 days of acceptance.

Capital improvement petition – coming soon

Effective July 1, 2023, a landlord may submit a Capital Improvement Petition requesting a pass-through cost to the tenants to cover certain expenses incurred by the landlord to complete capital improvements for the rental unit.  This petition will be available on July 1, 2023.

The Ordinance allows for the consideration of expenses incurred by the landlord to complete capital improvements that were paid for and completed after November 19, 2021. Please reference Section 8-3143 of the Ordinance for more information.

Tenant petition – coming soon

Effective July 1, 2023, a tenant may submit a petition on any one (1) or more of the following grounds:

  1. To request review of a rent increase in excess of the maximum allowed rent increase;
  2. To request a reduction in rent based on decreased housing services;
  3. To request a reduction in rent based on failure of the landlord to maintain a habitable premises, including health, safety, fire, or building code violations;
  4. To contest a capital improvement cost as an unauthorized or excessive pass through; or,
  5. For any other violation of the Ordinance by the landlord.

This petition will be available on July 1, 2023. Please reference Section 8-3144 of the Ordinance for more information.

Just Cause Eviction provisions

Key just cause eviction provisions

  • After 30 days, an owner shall not terminate a tenancy without just cause, which shall be stated in a written notice.
  • “Just cause” includes certain at-fault and no-fault causes summarized below.
  • Before issuing a notice to terminate for just cause, the owner shall first give notice of the violation with a time period for the tenant to fix the violation(s).
  • Under a no-fault just cause termination, the owner shall either provide 3 months of relocation assistance or waive payment of rent for the final 3 months of the tenancy.
  • The just cause provisions of the Ordinance shall not apply to certain types of exempt residential property, including housing produced in the last 15 years; deed-restricted affordable housing; hotel and transient occupancy; hospital and care facilities; dormitories; and other shared living quarters. Please refer to Section 8-3120(e) for the specific requirements of these exemptions.

Under the Just Cause Eviction protections of the Ordinance, tenants can only be evicted for one of the “just cause” reasons as set forth in Section 8-3120. The just cause reasons are summarized below in two categories: At-Fault and No-Fault Reasons.

At-fault

When a tenant has broken the rental agreement in one or more of the following ways:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Material breach of rental agreement
  • Maintaining, committing, or permitting a nuisance
  • Committing waste
  • Failure to sign a substantially similar lease
  • Committing criminal activity on the property or off the property that is directed at the owner, members of the tenant’s household, or other tenants of the property
  • Assigning of subletting the premises in violation of the lease agreement
  • Refusing to allow owner to access premises
  • Using premises for an unlawful purpose
  • Failure to vacate after termination
  • Failure to move out after providing written notice

No-fault

A tenant who has not broken the rental agreement can still have their lease terminated for the following reasons:

  • Intent to occupy in which the owner or their spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents want to move into the residential real property
  • Withdrawal of the residential real property from the rental market for at least 24 months, as affirmed by the owner in a written affidavit submitted to the City
  • Government or court order
  • Intent to demolish or substantially remodel the residential real property.

* Under a no-fault just cause termination, the owner shall either provide 3 months of relocation assistance or waive payment of rent for the final 3 months of the tenancy.

Voluntary mediation services – coming soon

Mediation is a voluntary collaborative process wherein the landlord and tenant(s) who have a disagreement can develop options, consider alternatives, and develop a consensual agreement. The role of the Mediator is to facilitate open communication to resolve a dispute in a non-adversarial and confidential manner.  This service will be available on October 1, 2023. Please reference Section 8-3146 of the Ordinance for more information.

Resources

If you believe the owner or property manager for your rental unit or mobilehome may not be in compliance with the Ordinance, or you need assistance interpreting the Ordinance, please reach out to one of the City’s community partners:

Fair Housing Council of Orange County

Community Legal Aid SoCal

Public Law Center

Latino Health Access

Contact us

If tenants or rental property owners have any questions, please e-mail us at rso@santa-ana.org or call (714) 667-2209 to speak with one of our representatives.

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