SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FOLLOWING NEW LAWS FOR 2011
(This page will be updated from time to time with new information or analysis.)
CHANGING THE DOOR LOCKS FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Landlords must change the locks of a dwelling unit upon written request by the tenant not later than 24 hours after that tenant gives the landlord a copy of a court order that excludes another person from the same dwelling unit OR within 24 hours after a tenant who is victimized by someone who lives somewhere else, gives the landlord a copy of a court order or police report stating the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In both cases, the landlord shall give the protected tenant a key to the new locks. As an additional remedy, if the landlord does not timely act, the tenant may change the locks regardless of any lease prohibition to do so (for leases entered into after this act took effect) .
Civil Code §1941.5 and §1941.6
EVICTION AND LEASE BREAK PROTECTION BASED ON BEING A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
If a tenant is a victim of Domestic Violence, Stalking or Elder Abuse and the tenant has taken the steps as outlined in Code of Civil Procedure section 1161.3, (i.e restraining order or police report) then the landlord is prohibited from evicting that tenant. Further, a tenant who is a victim of Domestic Violence, Stalking or Elder Abuse may terminate a tenancy under Civil Code section 1946.7. There are exceptions and conditions to these protections outlined in the codes.
INCREASED PENALTIES FOR UNLAWFULLY RENTING DWELLINGS
A new law increases the criminal penalties to a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by both, for any person to claim ownership or claim or take possession of, or cause another to enter or remain in, a residential dwelling for the purpose of renting or leasing the dwelling to another without the consent of the owner or the owner's lawful agent.
TENANT FORECLOSURE PROTECTION LAW
SB1149 amends Sections 1161.2 and 1166 and adds Section 1161c to the Code of Civil Procedure relating to residential tenancies and foreclosure. This law protects tenants after a foreclosure in two important ways.
First, it would help protect tenants' credit who were forced into an eviction action due to a foreclosure. The law would mask an eviction action from the public (and credit reporting agencies) that was filed against the tenant unless the purchaser at the foreclosure (i.e. the bank) obtained a favorable judgment "after a trial" within 60 days of its filing against all the tenant defendants. If not, the case remains sealed from public view. This allows tenants to defend themselves without fear of having their credit impacted by banks who file improper or abusive evictions.
Second, it will require the buyer of the rented home after a foreclosure (including the mortgage bank), to serve a special warning notice (within the first year after a sale) attached to the notice to vacate to the tenant who was renting at the time of the foreclosure sale . It will state that an eviction will follow the notice and it warns about taking proper action to protect your rights. Included in the notice is the following warning which we, at the Tenants Legal Center have been advising since 1993. (see EVICTION DEFENSE and PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS)
The new notice will say, in part,... "You should talk to a lawyer NOW to see what your rights are. You may receive court papers in a few days. If your name is on the papers it may hurt your credit if you do not respond and simply move out. Also, if you do not respond within five days of receiving the papers, even if you are not named in the papers, you will likely lose any rights you may have. In some cases, you can respond without hurting your credit. You should ask a lawyer about it." See page 4 of the new law. This notice law expires on 12/31/2012. ** August 2012 UPDATE * SB825 amended CCP 1161c (the notice requirements above) to extend to December 31, 2019.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
An owner or the owner's agent of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy who rents or leases the dwelling unit to a tenant must install and maintain carbon monoxide devices in that dwelling unit on or before July 1, 2011. The bill would permit the owner or the owner's agent to enter that dwelling unit to install, repair, test, and maintain carbon monoxide devices, as specified.
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California law for San Diego is applied in these pages. This is not represented to be a full and complete list of all laws that may or may not affect tenants or occupants in properties Such laws may or may not be applicable in other jurisdictions. The information provided herein is of a general nature and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice. Legal summaries are only the opinion of the Tenants Legal Center and are not intended nor should they be relied upon as any specific representation of any law. For legal advice in a particular situation, promptly consult with an appropriate attorney.