San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation Legal Director Stephanie Barclay said she has never received as many calls from residents being served eviction notices as she does now. Why? At the start of 2020, landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants in California without just cause. They will also be prohibited from dramatically increasing rent.

“Landlords who are savvy to what is going on are serving eviction notices now,” Barclay said at a Tuesday, Nov. 13 emergency city council meeting.

To protect residents from large rent increases and eviction for the next month, the San Luis Obispo City Council passed a last-minute ordinance before renters are covered by California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) starting in January.

California’s Tenant Protection Act limits annual rent increases to no more than 10 percent a year. Landlords are also required to show just cause before evicting a tenant in good standing. The law was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 8.

The new city ordinance has the same rent and eviction provisions as the state law. It takes effect immediately.

Several California cities, including Grover Beach, Los Angeles, San Mateo, Redwood City, Daly City, Milpitas and others, have adopted emergency ordinances similar to San Luis Obispo’s, according to a news release.

The city ordinance includes retroactive coverage for renters served eviction notices before the protections took effect.

“[A landlord] could have provided a notice months and months and months ago, but if they haven’t completed the entire process, and if an unlawful detainer hasn’t been issued, then this ordinance applies,” City Manager Derrick Johnson said.

About 65 percent of residents in San Luis Obispo rent, according to the news release. The ordinance was passed unanimously by the council.

“There is zero downside to taking this action,” Council Member Aaron Gomez said at the meeting. “It’s not perfect by any means, but nothing is, especially in the world of housing.”

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