Synopsis of the City of Richmond’s Eviction Control Ordinance

Synopsis of the City of Richmond’s Eviction Control Ordinance

The City of Richmond has enacted the Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowners Protection Ordinance, effective December 30, 2016.  The Ordinance includes controls over rent increases and “just cause” requirements for evictions.   Here is a summary of the eviction protection provisions of the Ordinance.

Exempt Properties

All residential rental units in Richmond are subject to eviction control unless they are specifically exempted.  The exempt properties include:

  • Any second small unit that is legally permitted pursuant Richmond Municipal Code section 15.04.810 on the same grounds as a single family home, such as an accessory dwelling unit built in compliance with Richmond Municipal Code where the owner is the primary resident of the single family home.
  • Temporary rentals allowed by a homeowner who is the primary resident of a single-family home where the homeowner provides, in writing at the inception of the tenancy, a statement disclosing the length of the tenancy and that the homeowner can terminate the temporary tenancy at the end. and
  • Rentals of a room where a single tenant shares a bathroom or kitchen with the homeowner where the home is the primary residence of the homeowner.

Registration Requirement

Registration is required under the ordinance.  Landlords must acquire both a business license and pay a registration fee, and a Residential Housing Inspection Fee to the Richmond’s rent program to be in compliance with the ordinance.

Reporting Requirement

All changes to the terms of the tenancy, including termination notices, must be filed with the rent program to be enforceable.  Richmond has its own forms, which must be used in many circumstances. A termination notice that has not been filed with the rent board within two business days is a complete defense to an unlawful detainer action.

Just Cause Reasons for Eviction

The ordinance lists several reasons for terminating a tenancy. They are as follows:

Failure to Pay Rent.  A three day notice to pay or quit may be issued.

Breach of Lease. The tenant can be evicted for breach of the material terms of the rental agreement other than failure to pay rent.  A written notice to cease must first be provided to the tenant.

Nuisance. This cause can be asserted for causing damage to the property or continuing to allow, or causing, a nuisance to persist at the property.  A notice to cease must first be served on the tenant unless law enforcement has found probable cause of certain criminal activity affecting health and safety or that poses a threat of harm to the public.   

Failure to Give Access. A tenant can be evicted for unreasonably preventing a landlord’s access to the property to show to prospective buyers or for making repairs. A notice to cease is required before serving a notice to terminate.

Temporary Move for Substantial Repairs. The landlord can temporarily displace a tenant to make substantial repairs where the repairs cannot be completed while the tenant resides on the premises. The tenant is entitled to be reimbursed for hotel fees, daily meal allowances and laundry pursuant to the Rent Program’s schedule. A landlord cannot collect rent while the unit is being repaired.

Owner Move-In. This ground authorizes an eviction where the landlord, or the landlord’s spouse, child, parent or grandparent intends to move into the unit.  A relocation payment to the tenant is required, in an amount determined by the Rent Program’s fee schedule (based on the number of bedrooms).  There are exceptions where the tenant is elderly, disabled, or terminally ill and has resided in the unit for more than five years. 

Withdrawal of Unit from Rental Market. A landlord may evict a tenant if the landlord intends to remove the property from the rental market.  Relocation assistance is required, as specified by the Rent Program’s fee schedule which is updated each year. Tenants are entitled to a right of return if the property is returned to the market within 10 years.

All notices seeking to terminate tenancy must state the basis of the termination. Any failure to comply with the requirements of the ordinance can be used as an affirmative defense in an action to recover possession.

Please contact Lynx Legal with any questions regarding the above, or if you are ready to start a case.  We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or  You can also schedule a telephonic consultation on our website.  Our experienced staff is standing by to answer any questions or complete the intake necessary to start your case.   

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