On October 8, 2019, Governor Newsom signed into effect the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The law comes into effect in January 2020 and is expected to provide tenants across the state of California protections over how much landlords can legally increase rents by on an annual basis and will require additional protections for tenants in case of eviction. See California Civil Codes §§ 1946.2 and 1947.12.
In order to circumvent the effects of this law, many landlords will send their tenants who pay low rent 60-day notices to vacate. Provided tenants have paid all their rent and have no other cause for eviction, they may have a defense to their eviction matters. Diligent tenants who suspect they might be at risk of receiving a 60-day Notice to Quit before November 1, 2019, can take several steps to try to protect their rights and provide themselves the strongest possible defense.
1 – PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME AND KEEP PROOF OF PAYMENT
In order to safeguard yourself against misunderstandings or accusations that you haven’t paid your rent on time, its best to pay your rent in a way that doesn’t rely on your landlord providing you a receipt. Tenants should always avoid paying rent in cash. Paying rent by direct deposit, online transfer, or by mailing a money order by certified mail are more secure methods to pay rent. Also, tenants should clearly specify on their payment and their receipt what the payment is for, for example, ‘Rent October 2019.’ It is very important to keep your proof of payments, the money order receipts, or records of deposits and online payments in a safe place.
2 REPORT UNINHABITABLE CONDITIONS TO THE LANDLORD AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
All tenants in California have a right to live in a home that is safe and habitable. If your landlord has failed to maintain the premises you live in, tenants should request in writing that the landlord make repairs. If the landlord fails or has failed to make necessary repairs, tenants should report the uninhabitable conditions to local governmental agencies. Not only will this hold the landlord accountable for their failures, but tenants are protected from eviction by 60-day notice because it’s presumed that any 60-day notice received after a tenant complains, is an act of retaliation. This protection only applies within 180 days after a complaint by a tenant to their landlord or a government agency and applies when tenants have proof that they’ve paid all their rent.
Uninhabitable conditions include structural problems such as holes in walls, windows not closing, leaks in plumbing, peeling paint, electrical outlets not working and other defects not caused by the tenant, as well as problems with bed bugs, cockroaches, rodents, or mold in your home. Uninhabitable conditions may be reported to the local government agencies in your area in charge of health and housing Code Enforcement, which in Los Angeles includes the Housing and Community Investment Department and the Department of Public Health. For more information on reporting uninhabitable conditions in your home, please visit
Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA)
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety
3 – BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A 60 DAY NOTICE TO QUIT
Eviction proceedings happen fast and begin with a 60-day Notice to Quit. If you receive a 60-day notice, seek legal help immediately to protect your rights.
Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and enforce their rights. For more information about your rights, call Castelblanco Law Group at 213-388-6004 or visit their website: www.castelblanco.com.
The information presented is for educational purposes. You should not take any action without seeking advice from an attorney regarding your individual situation.