The city of Richmond has a new rent control ordinance that became effective January 1, 2017. There’s also a just cause for eviction ordinance in place, and today, we’re talking about what that means.
Rent will now be regulated by a selected rent board. As a landlord, you need to enroll in the program. Single family homes, small cottages, and certain duplexes are exempt from the rent control law. Usually, it pertains to multi-unit properties like apartment buildings and other units built before 1995. You can see a list of the properties on the city of Richmond’s website, if you’re unsure whether you are exempt. You can also ask us.
The main question that comes up is – how do I increase rent if I’m subject to rent control? You are permitted to increase your rent once a year. The amount by which you can increase it will be based off the CPI Index, which is published. The amount will be posted on the city of Richmond’s website or you’ll get a letter on how much you can increase. Historically, it’s generally between one and three percent.
Just Cause for Eviction
Also adopted is the just cause for eviction ordinance. You can evict tenants, but now you need just cause. That includes nonpayment of rent, breach of the lease, or a nuisance. There are eight items listed as just cause reasons to evict. You cannot just provide a 60-day notice and ask the tenants to move out after lease term. You need to find a reason for eviction. This means that a lease termination is more of a process now.
Keep Up with Maintenance
A tip from my personal experience providing property management in Walnut Creek and watching what rent control means in cities like Oakland and Berkeley – don’t defer maintenance. We’ve noticed some landlords in the past have deferred a lot of minor maintenance because they can’t earn as much rent. We encourage you to stay on top of that maintenance. Deferred maintenance should never be a practice in your property management activities. This is your asset and you want to preserve it.
For any questions about these new ordinances in Richmond or anything pertaining to Walnut Creek property management, please contact us at MSB Property Management.