AB 1110 (2019): Rent Increases Above 10 Percent Now Require 90 Days’ Notice, Not 60

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Most contemporary residential leases begin with a one-year term and then renew month-to-month after the first year. And while the provisions of a lease are fixed during that first year, a periodic, month-to-month lease will renew with whatever terms and conditions are in effect at that time.

Section 827 of the Civil Code details the procedure for changing the terms of a tenancy. This can include changes in the rental rate, as well as changes in other terms (like imposing a requirement to obtain renter’s insurance). State law imposes few limits on the scope of these other terms. For instance, a landlord may change the terms of a tenancy to prohibit smoking. On the other hand, in San Francisco prohibits landlords from changing the terms and conditions of a tenancy and then attempting to evict for violation of the new terms.

As for rent increases, the annual allowable increase in San Francisco has always been below 10% per year (generally between 1-3%), and for small increases like these (or changes to non-rent terms), only 30 days is required. On the other hand, most Costa-Hawkins increases reset a historically low rental rate upon decontrol. These often exceed 10%, and therefore a 60-day notice would be required. AB 1110 changes that, by requiring 90 days’ notice for these larger increases.

The bill’s stated purpose is to “respond to tight rental market conditions by providing tenants with additional notice when served with rent increases of more than 10 percent”. It reasons that the longer notice period would “provide tenants with additional time to respond to rent increases”, but insists that “the longer notice period is not intended to constitute rent control, nor is it intended as a statement of public policy regarding acceptable or unacceptable levels of rent increases”.

The text of AB 1110 is available here