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60-Day Notice for No-Fault Evictions Now Permanent


apt_bldgs(3)California tenants must be given at least 60 days’ notice of a no-fault eviction.  A no-fault eviction occurs when the owner terminates a tenancy for reasons that have nothing to do with anything the tenant has done or failed to do; for example, when the tenancy is terminated so that the owner can live in the unit himself or herself.

In the past, property owners had to give tenants only 30 days’ notice of a no-fault eviction, but this resulted in many tenants—especially those who were most vulnerable, such as the elderly and disabled, and those with school-age children—having to move before they could find a new place to live.

In 2002, then-State Senator Sheila Kuehl sponsored a change in state law that extended the no-fault eviction notice period from 30 days to 60 days, but it applied only in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles.  The 60-day notice law was extended to all California tenancies the following year, but with a built-in “sunset” of December 31, 2005.  The law was not renewed, and it expired as of January 2006, resulting in hardship throughout the state for households whose tenancies were being terminated through no fault of their own, and just when the housing market was at its tightest.

The Santa Monica Rent Control Board worked to remedy this problem, and the Legislature responded by reinstating the state-wide 60-day notice period in 2007.  The reinstated law again included a sunset provision that the Board, along with other rent-control jurisdictions and housing-fairness advocates throughout the state, fought to eliminate.  Finally, the sunset clause was eliminated, and the 60-day notice requirement for no-fault terminations became permanent, effective January 1, 2010.

Advocates of making the 60-day notice period permanent noted that 30 days is not enough time for low- and moderate-income tenants to gather enough money for a new (usually higher) first month’s rent, security deposit, and moving costs. State Senator Jay Leno, the author of the bill making the 60-day notice period permanent, was able to limit opposition by pointing to a study proving that the longer notice period saves landlords money by eliminating the need to file unlawful detainer actions in court, because most tenants who are given enough time to move will do so. The 60-day notice requirement does not apply to tenancies less than a year long. 

The recent change in the law does not change an owner’s right to issue a three-day notice to quit for fault-based evictions, such as failure to pay rent, violating the lease, or committing a nuisance.

Payment of permanent relocation assistance per the Santa Monica Municipal Code is still required for no-fault evictions, as is meeting other good-faith requirements under the Santa Monica Rent Control Law.

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