California Law (for everyone)
- If you have lived on a property for less than a year, you must get a 30-day Notice.
- If you have lived at a property longer than a year, you must get a 60-day Notice.
- Notices must be written and served properly. Verbal evictions don’t count.
- You can receive a 3-Day Notice to vacate your unit if you do any of the following:
- Fail to pay the rent
- Violated any provision of the lease
- Substantially damaged the rental property
- Committed a nuisance or interfered with other tenants
- Used the property for an illegal purpose
- The sheriff is the only one that can forcibly remove an evicted tenant from their unit and only after an eviction process through the court system is complete.
California Tenant Protection Act (TPA – for qualifying units)
The California Tenant Protection Act (TPA) (Effective January 1, 2020) places statewide limits on rent increases as well as on justifiable reasons for evictions for covered units.
Who is covered?
- Multifamily housing and apartment buildings where all the tenants in the unit have lived there for at least 12 months OR one of the tenants has been there for 24 months.
- Single family homes and condominiums owned by corporations, including Real Estate Investment Trusts and LLCs where all the tenants in the unit have lived there for at least 12 months OR one of the tenants has been there for 24 months.
- Buildings at least 15 years old (i.e. so in 2021 the law will cover buildings built before January 1, 2006) where all the tenants in the unit have lived there for at least 12 months OR one of the tenants has been there for 24 months.
Units not covered
- Hotels or hostels or other short-term stay housing;
- Non-profit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed elderly care facility, or adult residential facilities provided by State social services;
- Student dormitories;
- Single Family Home or Duplex where the landlord lives on the property. (This includes Accessory Dwelling Units and in-law units); OR
- Affordable housing, subsidized housing, HUD housing, or deed-restricted housing.
If you’re covered with TPA, then only certain reasons for evictions are allowed:
- At fault reasons. If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant for an at-fault just cause, they must first provide the tenant the opportunity to fix the violation, when possible. At-fault evictions do not require relocation assistance.
- Failure to pay the rent;
- Violating the lease;
- Committing a nuisance;
- Committing Waste (damaging the property);
- The tenant refuses to sign a lease extension or renewal – provided the lease is of similar duration and with similar provisions as the previous lease;
- Criminal activity on the residence, or criminal activity/threat directed at the landlord or agent of the landlord;
- Subletting contrary to lease restrictions;
- Refusal to let the landlord enter the unit in order to make repairs, in case of emergency, after the tenant abandons the property, or under court order;
- Using the property for unlawful purposes;
- Failing to vacate after the tenant is terminated as an employee, licensee, or agent of the landlord; OR
- The tenant fails to vacate after providing written notice of their intent to vacate the property, or after an offer to surrender is accepted by the landlord.
- No fault reasons. No fault reasons require relocation assistance (a payment from the landlord equal to 1 month of rent).
- The landlord or their family wish to move in. “Family”includes spouse or domestic partner; child; grandchild; parent; and grandparent ONLY.
- The landlord withdraws the rental from the market as per the Ellis Act.
- An order is issued by a court or government agency that requires a tenant to vacate.
- The landlord wishes to demolish or substantially remodel the unit. This does not include minor cosmetic repairs
Oakland Law (for qualifying units)
In Oakland we have something called Just Cause, a local law that protects tenants from getting evicted. Not all cities have Just Cause and not all units have Just Cause. Units that are more than 10 years old have Just Cause, except if they are:
- Hotels, motels and other places used for transient occupancy
- Hospitals and certain other health facilities
- Nonprofit facilities for temporary living for homeless persons
- Nonprofit substance abuse treatment facilities
- Newly constructed units completed and first offered for rent after October 1980
- Units in trust for the developmentally disabled
- Owner Occupied units sharing a kitchen or bath with tenants
Just Cause also states that landlords may only evict tenants for specific reasons (if the unit is covered). Any of the following is a valid reason for eviction under Just Cause:
- Failure to pay rent.
- Material violation of rental agreement; Subletting is not a grounds for termination if the landlord unreasonably withheld the right to sublet after a written request by the tenant if the tenant continues to reside in the unit and the sublet constitutes a one-for-one replacement of the departing tenant(s). Failure to respond to a tenant’s request to sublet within 14 days is deemed an approval.
- Doing significant damage to the property and refusing to stop doing whatever is causing the damage or pay for the repairs after getting a written request from the landlord.
- Creating noise or other disturbances that bother tenants or residents (even ones that live outside the building), even after receiving written notice to stop. You must be be so disruptive as to “destroy the peace and quiet of other tenants at the property”. This must be proven by your landlord with evidence.
- Using the building for an illegal purpose, like selling drugs or prostitution. This must be proven by the landlord.
- Refusing to let the landlord into the apartment for inspection, repairs, or other purposes. Note, however, that you may refuse to allow a landlord to enter if they have not given you a 24 hour notice and they must try to work with your schedule if you want to be present for the visit.
- The owner wants to move back into the unit and you and the landlord have a written agreement, or it states it in your lease, that the landlord is allowed to move back in after a stated amount of time. The owner must have previously lived at the unit as her principal residence.
- If the landlord – or the landlord’s spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or grandparent (but not sibling or other relative) wants to move into your unit to live there as their full time residence.
- However, the landlord cannot evict a tenant who has lived in the unit for at least five years and is either a.) 60 years of age or older, b.) physically or mentally disabled, or catastrophically ill. The landlord may, however, evict such a tenant if they or their relative who is moving in is also 60 years of age or older, disabled, or catastrophically ill AND the landlord has no other rental units not occupied by protected tenants.
- The owner must move in within 60 days and remain living there as a full time residence for 3 years.
- The landlord invokes the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict all of a building’s tenants at the same time, usually in order to change a single family home into a condominium with multiple units or, the reverse, turning a multi-unit building into one big mansion. Landlords must give at least a 120-day notice for an Ellis Act eviction, possibly longer depending on the age or health of the tenants involved. Ellis Act evictions are complicated but can and have been successfully resisted by tenants. You can contact the resources listed on page (page reference) to fight this!
- The landlord wants to make repairs on the unit that cannot be made with the tenant living there. These repairs must be in regards to very serious habitability issues. The landlord must explain clearly why the tenant cannot live there for the duration, and they must allow the tenant the opportunity to move back in when repairs are completed at the same level of rent. These evictions are temporary. The tenant is likely entitled to relocation benefits under Oaklands Code Enforcement Relocation ordinance.
- In 2018, the City of Oakland passed the Uniform Relocation Ordinance to establish relocation payments to tenants evicted for reasons that are not the tenant’s fault such as: code compliance activities, owner or relative move-ins, Ellis Act, and condominium conversions.
- The base payment amounts until June 30, 2019 are:
- $6,875.58 per studio/one bedroom unit
- $8,462.26 per two bedroom unit
- $10,445.60 per three or more bedroom unit
- Tenant households in rental units that include lower income, elderly or disabled tenants, and/or minor children are entitled to a single additional relocation payment of $2,500 per unit from the owner.
Unit is being sold
A tenant’s lease must be honored even if the unit is sold. Also, just because an owner is selling a unit does not mean a tenant is required to move. Especially if that tenant is covered under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.
If the property is sold with nine months remaining on a one-year lease, the tenant has the right to occupy the unit for the remaining nine months. He or she is still responsible for paying rent and carrying out the terms of the original lease, although rents will generally be paid to the new owner. The other terms and conditions of the lease also stay in effect until the lease expires. After the lease expires, the tenant can be required to move so that the new owner can occupy the unit or otherwise determine how to use the property. The sale of the property also does not change the tenant’s right to a refund of his or her security deposit.
Landlords are prohibited from using cutting off the utilities or changing the locks to get a tenant out of the unit.
Renters are entitled to “reasonable notice” before an agent shows the property. A landlord cannot enter the property without the renter’s permission. California law presumes that 24 hours is reasonable notice.
If the owner or a realtor wants to show the property, the owner must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice of the intent to show. The notice must be reasonably calculated by the owner to reach the renter. However, the notice does not have to be written so long as the owner has provided the renter with notice sometime in the last four months that they intend to sell the property.
The renter is entitled to be subject to viewings at “reasonable times”. For example, a midnight showing would likely not be considered reasonable. Determining whether a proposed showing time is reasonable depends on the particular circumstances involved in the case. The renter may request that the owner inform realtors that the property should not be shown during certain hours.
If you are a tenant with a disability and the realtor’s entrance in the home is impacting your sense of safety, it’s important that you document it.
Just because the owner is selling the unit does not mean you have to move.
If you receive court papers (“Unlawful Detainer” or “Summons”) in person, posted on your door, or by mail, you must respond to this important document within 5 calendar days! It’s very important or else you could lose your case and be EVICTED from your home just by not responding on time, if the landlord had no cause to evict you.
You will need to answer the Unlawful Detainer using an “Answer Form” within 5 calendar days. If the 5th day falls on a weekend or court holiday, you have until the next court business day or non-Holiday to file with the Court. There are fees involved unless you file a “fee waiver form” and get it approved by the court.
You can get help answering the Unlawful Detainer by calling or visiting one of these places:
East Bay Community Law Center
(You must be a low-income tenant to qualify for free services and do an initial intake.)
(510) 548-4040 ext 323
2921 Adeline St., Berkeley
Centro Legal de la Raza (services in Spanish & English)
(You must be a low-income tenant to qualify for free services.)
3022 International Ave, Oakland, Suite 410
Dedicated hours Mon-Wed 2:30-3:30
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 6th floor, Oakland
Mon & Wed 9-12 (only see first 6 people)
Eviction Defense Center
(Services are not free. Sliding scale fee applies.)
350 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Suite 703, Oakland
Open Mon-Friday 9-12 & 2-4
Hayward Hall of Justice
(510) 891-6000 – Court info line
(510) 272-1393 – Help Center line
24405 Amador Street Dept 501 Hayward, CA 94544
Walk in open 8:30am-12:00pm Mon-Fri, Call in 2:00pm-4:00pm Mon-Thurs
Ask for an “Answer Form” to an Unlawful Detainer at the Clerk’s Office or go get help from the Self-Help Center inside the court if they’re open.
You can print a copy of the Answer Form to use for filing an answer online here: