Santa Ana City Council adopts rent stabilization and just cause eviction ordinances, effective Nov. 19

Posted on October 20, 2021

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The Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday night adopted two new ordinances to help protect renters: a Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which limits residential rent increases to no more than 3% per year, and a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance, which limits the allowed reasons for which a renter can be evicted. The new ordinances are not effective until November 19, 2021.

“The adoption of the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinances will finally address the long-standing plea from so many of our rent-burdened working families in Santa Ana,” Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said. “These new ordinances will stabilize our neighborhoods and prevent the trauma of being displaced by excessive rent hikes and unjustified evictions. Landlords and property owners will continue to have the ability to responsibly manage and generate a reasonable return on their investment.”

Key requirements of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance

  • Increase in residential rents are limited to the lower of 3% per year, or 80% of the percent change in the Consumer Price Index over the most recent 12-month period. If the CPI is negative, no rent increase is permitted.
  • The City will publish the allowable rent increase effective for this year at no later than November 19, 2021.  Thereafter, the City will publish the allowable rent increase no later than June 30 of each year, which shall be effective as of September 1 of that year.
  • The rent cap does not apply to residential buildings constructed after February 1, 1995, or to mobile home spaces offered for rent after January 1, 1990.
  • Any owner of residential rental property or a mobile home park may petition for relief from the cap, but will need to provide evidence that a rate increase in excess of the annual allowance is necessary to provide a fair and reasonable return for their property. The City Manager, or designee, may consider a variety of relevant factors and will decide on the petition within 60 days of receiving a complete application. The petition will be available on the City’s webpage no later than November 19, 2021.
  • Property owners are required to provide written notice of the Ordinance and tenant’s rights at commencement of a lease or as part of any notice to increase rent. A template written notice will be available on the City’s webpage no later than November 19, 2021.

Key provisions of the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

  • 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 causes such as default in payment of rent, breach of a material term of the lease, committing a nuisance, criminal activity, and other actions.
  • “Just cause” also includes certain no-fault causes such as the intent of the owner to occupy the property, removal of the property from the rental market, and demolition or substantial remodel.
  • 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 Ordinance shall not apply to certain types of 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.
  • Property owners must provide notice to existing tenants before December 19, 2021, or at commencement or renewal of their lease of the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance protections. A written notice will be published by the City at no later than November 19, 2021.
  • The full text of the adopted Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinances will be available on the City’s website before November 19, 2021, at in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The City has also prepared user-friendly information for both tenants and rental property owners, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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

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