In October 2022, the City of Petaluma enacted an eviction control ordinance requiring “just cause” for evictions and relocation assistance payments to tenants displaced by a “no-fault” termination of tenancy. Here is a summary of the eviction protection and relocation payment provisions of the Ordinance.
The following properties/tenancies are exempt from the Ordinance:
- Transient and tourist occupancies
- Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed residential care facility for the elderly.
- Dormitories owned and operated by a school.
- Owners who own 3 or fewer units and who are not real estate investment trusts, corporations, or limited liability companies w/ at least 1 corporate member*
- A tenancy in the primary residence of the owner that is less than 12 months in duration
- Any dwelling unit occupied by a tenant who is employed by a landlord for the purpose of managing the property or by a tenant who is permitted to reside in the dwelling unit in consideration of managing the property.
- Any dwelling unit in which the owner resides with a tenant or tenant household as the owner’s primary residence and in which the owner shares a bathroom or kitchen with the tenant or tenant household.
*Small property owners must include the following language in the rental agreement to claim exemption status:
“The property is not subject to the just cause requirements in Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or in Chapter 6.60 Petaluma Municipal Code, and the owner is not a real estate investment trust, corporation, or limited liability company with at least one corporate member, and owns three or fewer residential units in Petaluma.”
The Ordinance does not indicate whether existing rental agreements must be amended to include the required language, or how this requirement applies to tenancies arising from a verbal agreement between the parties.
Allowable Reasons for Eviction
The allowable reasons to terminate a tenancy are:
- Failure to pay rent
- Breach of the rental agreement
- Illegal activity
- Unlawful use of premises
- Commission of a nuisance
- Commission of waste at the unit
- Refusal to enter a substantially similar new lease
- Sublets in violation of the lease
- Failure to vacate if fired by landlord and lodging was part of the job
- Failure to give the landlord access to the unit
- Fails to deliver possession of unit after notifying owner that tenant would deliver
- Owner’s plan to remove the unit from the rental market
- Owner or family member plans to occupy the unit
- Owner plans to substantially renovate the unit for health and safety purposes
- Unit must be vacated pursuant to government or court order
Landlords must notify their tenants about their rights under the Ordinance in a form provided by the City when: (1) entering, or changing, a lease, (2) raising the rent, and (3) before and after the sale or acquisition of a unit
Enforcement of Ordinance
The City of Petaluma’s tenant protection ordinance authorizes tenants to bring civil actions to determine the applicability of the Ordinance to their tenancy. If the tenants prevail in a wrongful eviction action, they may recover their attorneys’ fees from the owner.
Landlords terminating any tenancy for a no-fault just cause must provide a relocation assistance payment to the tenant in the form of a direct payment of 250% of one month’s rent or $9,000.00 (adjusted annually for inflation), whichever is less. Relocation assistance must be paid within 14 calendar days of service of the notice of termination. If a tenant fails to vacate a dwelling unit after the expiration of a valid notice to terminate the tenancy, the landlord may recover the actual amount of any relocation assistance provided as damages in an action to recover possession of the dwelling unit.
Please contact Lynx Legal with any questions regarding the above, and for all your eviction needs. We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule a telephonic consultation on our website. Our experienced professionals are standing by to answer any questions or complete the intake if you are ready to start a case.