Guidance for City of San Diego Tenant Protection Ordinance
EfOn May 16, 2023, the San Diego City Council adopted the Residential Tenant Protections Ordinance (TPO), which was signed Mayor Todd Gloria on May 25, 2023. Effective June 24, 2023, the ordinance adopts state Just Cause laws and in some cases, provides greater tenant protections in instances of No Fault termination of tenancy. The ordinance will require specified forms and notifications for residential rental properties in the City of San Diego.
High Level Overview
- Just Cause protections effective at Day 1 of tenancy with limited exemption for short-term fixed leases of 3 months or less (including renewals for same term up to one year)
- Additional permitting/noticing requirements for substantial remodel beyond state law.
- 2 months in relocation assistance for No Fault Cause termination (3 months for Elderly/Disabled) based on rental rate at time of termination of tenancy.
- Must provide Notice of Right to Receive Future Offer when terminating tenancy for no-fault cause.
- Requirements for Buyout Agreements (Disclosure & Offers)
- At-Fault termination of tenancy definitions consistent with state law.
- No-Fault termination of tenancy consistent with state law.
- Specific notification language must be provided to all residents and disclosures are required for exempt properties and for owner move-in.
- Read the full ordinance.
- City of San Diego Tenant Protection Guide
- City of San Diego Resource Page
- List of City of San Diego Zip Codes
- TPO FAQ from City of San Diego
- TPO FAQ from SCRHA
SCRHA Forms for City of San Diego Properties Now Available!
For existing tenancies, property owners and managers must serve the Mandatory Notification and Tenant Protection Guide within 90 days of June 24, 2023. No later than Sept. 22, 2023.
For tenancies commencing or renewed on or after June 24, 2023, the mandatory notification should be included in the rental agreement or via an included addendum, along with the Tenant Protection Guide.
SCRHA has created the forms and letter templates you need to comply with the new ordinance.
- City of San Diego Rental Agreement - Form 200SD
For rental agreements commencing or renewed on or after June 24, 2023, the mandatory notice must be included as an addendum to the rental agreement, or as a written notice signed by the tenant, with a copy provided to the Tenant. SCRHA has included this mandatory language in the rental agreement to satisfy this requirement. Additionally, the City of San Diego Rental Agreement contains the Owner Occupancy language and Exemption notification options. A copy of the city Tenant Protection Guide must also be provided at the time the rental agreement commences. The Tenant Protection Guide must be provided to tenants in a hard copy format. Electronic versions or links will not be compliant per the City Attorney (info received June 28, 2023).
- City of San Diego TPO Mandatory Notification Addendum – Form 292
- City of San Diego TPO Mandatory Notification Letter – Customizable Word Document
SCRHA recommends the use of the letter for existing tenancies. You may send the letter via first class mail or post to your resident’s door along with the copy of the city’s Tenant Protection Guide.
- City of San Diego TPO Exemption Notification Addendum - Form 291
- City of San Diego TPO Exemption Letter - Customizable Word Document
SCRHA recommends the use of the letter for existing tenancies. You may send the letter via first class mail or post to your resident’s door.
- Single Family Homes, condos, mobilehomes, and other properties considered “alienable separate from the title to any other dwelling unit” and not owned by a real estate investment trust, a corporation, or an LLC in which at least one member is a corporation, are exempt from the law ONLY if specific exemption notification is provided.
- Effective January 1, 2024, the Exemption Notification must be provided in the rental agreement or via an associated addendum for newly created and renewed leases. There is no specific deadline to provide the notification for tenancies created prior to Jan. 1, however, the exemption will not apply until notification is provided.
- City of San Diego TPO Owner Occupancy Addendum - Form 293
- City of San Diego TPO Owner Occupancy Notification letter - Customizable Word Document
- For leases entered into on or after June 24, 2023, the ability to terminate tenancy for owner or family-member move in shall apply only if the tenant agrees to the termination in writing or if the lease expressly allows the landlord to terminate the lease if the landlord unilaterally decides to occupy the residential rental property for the landlord or their spouse, domestic partner, child (by blood or adoption), grandchild (by blood or adoption), parent, or grandparent.
- In order for an owner or family member to move into a covered rental unit, for leases entered into on or after July 1, 2020, the tenant must agree in writing to the termination, or a provision of the lease must state this right. Most owners and managers have already accomplished this via the existing SCRHA Rental Agreement or AB 1482 addendum. However, SCRHA has created a letter and an addendum with this language and references to the City of San Diego Municipal Code.
- City of San Diego Termination of Tenancy Just Cause - Form 420
- Exempt properties may use the traditional 30/60-Day Termination of Tenancy Notice – Form 430.
- City of San Diego Buyout Agreement Disclosure – Form 471
Disclosure must be provided to all residents prior to offering a Buyout Agreement. SCRHA does not have a Buyout Agreement form. The requirements for Buyout Agreements can be found below. Contact your legal counsel for assistance with a Buyout Agreement.
(a) transient and tourist hotel occupancy as defined in California Civil Code section 1940(b), as may be amended;
(b) short-term residential occupancy, as defined in and subject to Chapter 5, Article 10, Division 1 of this Code, as may be amended;
(c) housing restricted by deed, regulatory restriction contained in an agreement with a government agency, or other document as affordable housing for persons and families of very low, low, or moderate income, as defined in California Health and Safety Code section 50093, as may be amended;
(d) housing subject to an agreement that provides housing subsidies for affordable housing for persons and families of very low, low, or moderate income, as defined in California Health and Safety Code section 50093, as may be amended, or comparable federal statutes. This exemption shall not include Section 8;
(e) mobilehomes subject to the Mobilehome Residency Law (California Civil Code sections 798-799.11), as may be amended;
(f) housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed residential care facility for the elderly, as defined in California Health and Safety Code section 1569.2, as may be amended, an adult residential facility, as defined in Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 6 of the Manual of Policies and Procedures published by the California Department of Social Services, as may be amended, or nonprofit transitional housing;
(g) dormitories owned and operated by an institution of higher education or an institution offering instruction to any grade from kindergarten through 12;
(h) residential rental property in which the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the landlord who maintains their principal residence at the residential rental property;
(i) single-family residence occupied by the landlord as the landlord’s principal place of residence, including both of the following: (1) a residence in which the landlord-occupant rents or leases no more than two bedrooms, two accessory dwelling units, or two junior accessory dwelling units, as defined in section 113.0103; and (2) a mobilehome.
(j) a property containing two separate dwelling units within a single structure in which the landlord occupies one of the dwelling units as the landlord’s principal place of residence at the beginning of the tenancy, so long as the landlord continues in occupancy;
(k) housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 15 years, unless the housing is a mobilehome; and
(l) residential rental property, including a mobilehome, that is alienable separate from the title to any other dwelling unit, provided that both of the following apply: (1) The landlord is not any of the following:
- (A) a real estate investment trust, as defined in California Internal Revenue Code section 856, as may be amended; (B) a corporation; (C) a limited liability company in which at least one member is a corporation; or (D) management of a mobilehome park, as defined in California Civil Code section 798.2, as may be amended.
- (2) The tenants have been provided written notice that the residential rental property is exempt from this Division using the prescribed statement
Just Cause Definitions
Definitions for Just Cause mirror those in state law with an exemption for No-Fault Just Cause related to Substantial Remodel or demolition.
The landlord seeks to recover possession to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential rental property, provided the landlord does all the following:
(A) posts at the residential rental property the application for the necessary permits within three business days of submittal of the application;
(B) secures permits necessary for the demolition or substantial remodel; and
(C) serves a copy of the necessary permits with a written termination notice, certified under penalty of perjury, stating the reason for termination, the type and scope of the work to be performed, why the work cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place, and why the work requires the tenant to vacate the residential rental property for at least 30 days.
For purposes of section 98.0704(b)(4), substantially remodel means the replacement or substantial modification of any structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system that requires a permit from a governmental agency, or the abatement of hazardous materials, including lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, that cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place and that requires the tenant to vacate the residential rental property for at least 30 days. Substantially remodel does not include cosmetic improvements alone, including painting, decorating, and minor repairs, or other work that can be performed safely without having the residential rental property vacated.
Requirements Upon Termination of a Tenancy for At Fault Just Cause
(1) Notice to Tenant. Before a landlord issues a notice to terminate a tenancy for at-fault just cause that is a curable lease violation, the landlord shall first give written notice of the violation including a description of the violation and an opportunity to cure the violation under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1161(3), as may be amended. If the violation is not cured within the time period in the notice, the landlord may terminate the tenancy without another opportunity to cure by serving a three-day notice to quit.
(2) Notice to Commission. The landlord shall provide written notice to the Commission of the at-fault just cause termination of tenancy under section 98.0704(a) no later than three business days after the date the landlord provided the required notice to tenant. Section 98.0706(a)(2) shall not apply until 30 days after the Commission establishes a submission portal and provides the public notice of its creation.
Requirements Upon Termination of a Tenancy for No Fault Just Cause
(1) Notice to Tenant. The landlord shall give written notice to the tenant at least 30 or 60 days prior to the proposed date of termination as required by California Civil Code section 1946.1, as may be amended, in no less than 12-point font. The written notice shall contain the following:
(A) The landlord shall provide a description of the basis for the termination.
(B) The notice shall state the tenant’s right to relocation assistance established in section 98.0706(c) by a direct payment to the tenant or rent waiver.
(i) If the landlord elects to provide relocation assistance by a direct payment to the tenant, the notice shall state the amount of relocation assistance available to the tenant and that the landlord shall provide the payment within 15 days from the date of the notice.
(ii) If the landlord elects to provide relocation assistance by rent waiver, the notice shall state the amount of rent waived and that no rent is due for the final corresponding months of the tenancy.
(C) The notice shall state the tenant’s right to receive an offer to renew the tenancy established in section 98.0706(d) and 30 days to accept the offer in the event the residential rental property is offered again for rent or lease for residential purposes within five years of the date the tenant was evicted under sections 98.0704(b)(1), (3), or (4), and that to exercise such right, the tenant:
(i) shall notify the landlord in writing within 30 days of the termination notice of tenant’s desire to receive an offer to renew the tenancy; (ii) provide the landlord a mailing address or email address for the landlord to send the offer; and (iii) provide the landlord a change of address or e-mail address.
(2) Notice to Commission. The landlord shall provide written notice to the Commission of the no-fault just cause termination of tenancy under section 98.0704(b) no later than three business days after the date the landlord provided the required notice to tenant. Section 98.0706(b)(2) shall not apply until 30 days after the Commission establishes a submission portal and provides the public notice of its creation.
Relocation Assistance for Termination of Tenancy for No-Fault Just Cause
(1) The landlord shall, regardless of the tenant’s income or length of tenancy and at the landlord’s option, provide relocation assistance to the tenant by one of the following:
(A) The landlord shall provide a direct payment to the tenant.
(i) Unless section 98.0706(c)(1)(A)(ii) applies, the direct payment to the tenant shall be in an amount equal to two months of actual rent under the tenant’s lease in effect at the date of the notice.
(ii) If the tenant is a senior or disabled, the direct payment to the tenant shall be in an amount equal to three months of actual rent under the tenant’s lease in effect at the date of the notice.
(B) The landlord shall waive, and not collect the payment by tenant, of any currently due or future rent under the tenant’s lease at the time of the notice and through the remainder of the tenancy in an amount equal to the applicable direct payment as set forth in section 98.0706(c)(1)(A).
(2) When more than one tenant occupies the residential rental property and the landlord elects to provide direct payment of relocation assistance to the tenants, the landlord may make a single direct payment to all the tenants named in the lease.
(3) The relocation assistance required by this Division shall not relieve the landlord’s obligation to, and shall be in addition to, the return of any deposit or security amounts owed to the tenant.
(4) Any relocation assistance required by this Division shall be credited against any other relocation assistance required by any federal, state, or other local law.
(5) If a tenant fails to vacate after the expiration of the notice to terminate the tenancy, the actual amount of any relocation assistance provided under this Division may be recoverable by landlord as damages in an action to recover possession of the residential rental property.
Additional Requirement Upon Termination of a Tenancy for No-Fault Just Cause
If a residential rental property is offered for rent or lease for residential purposes within five years of the date the tenant was evicted under sections 98.0704(b)(1), (3), or (4), landlord shall first offer to lease the residential rental property in writing to the tenant displaced from that unit by the no-fault just cause termination if the tenant:
(1) advised the landlord in writing within 30 days of the termination notice of the tenant’s desire to receive an offer to renew the tenancy; and
(2) provided the landlord a mailing address or email address for the landlord to send the offer, including any change of mailing address or email address.
The landlord shall have the right to screen the tenant using industry accepted methods and shall communicate the minimum screening criteria in the written offer for the new tenancy. The tenant shall have 30 days from the date of receipt of the offer to accept.
In addition to other remedies applicable to landlord’s failure to comply with this Division, a landlord's failure to strictly comply with section 98.0706 shall render void any notice of termination required by section 98.0706.
(a) Disclosure Prior to Buyout Offers. Prior to making a buyout offer, the landlord shall provide each tenant in a residential rental property a written disclosure that shall include the following:
(1) a statement that the tenant has a right not to enter into a buyout agreement;
(2) a statement that the tenant may choose to consult with an attorney before entering into a buyout agreement;
(3) a statement that the landlord may not retaliate against the tenant for refusing to enter into or negotiate a buyout agreement;
(4) a statement that all tenants of a residential rental property may refuse to receive future buyout offers by providing landlord written notice of their refusal, which shall be effective for six months, and all tenants of a residential rental property may rescind the refusal to receive future buyout offers by providing landlord written notice of the rescission;
(5) a statement that the tenant is eligible for relocation assistance and the amount of the required relocation assistance in section 98.0706(c);
(6) the names of all people authorized to discuss the buyout offer and enter into a buyout agreement on the landlord’s behalf;
(7) a space for each tenant to sign and write the date the landlord provided the tenant with the disclosure; and
(8) a space for the landlord to sign and write the date on which the landlord provided the tenant with the disclosure.
(b) The landlord shall provide each tenant a fully executed copy of the disclosure form within three days of its execution and retain a copy of each signed disclosure form for five years, along with a record of the date the landlord provided the disclosure to each tenant.
(c) Requirements for Buyout Agreements. The landlord shall comply with the following:
(1) The buyout agreement shall be in writing.
(2) A copy of the buyout agreement shall be given to each tenant at the time the tenant signs the buyout agreement.
(3) The buyout agreement shall include the following statements in bold letters in at least 14-point font in close proximity to the space reserved for the signature of the tenant:
(A) You, the tenant, have a right not to enter into this buyout agreement.
(B) If you, the tenant, are entitled to relocation assistance under federal, state, or local law, a buyout agreement for less than the amount of the relocation assistance to which you are entitled violates Chapter 9, Article 8, Division 7 of the San Diego Municipal Code and is void.
(C) You, the tenant, may choose to consult with an attorney before signing this agreement.
(4) If the tenant primarily negotiates the buyout agreement or lease, orally or in writing, in a non-English language, the landlord shall provide the tenant with an English and a translated version of the buyout agreement at the same time.
A buyout agreement that does not strictly comply with all the requirements of section 98.0707(c)(1)-(4) shall be void.
Retaliation & Remedies
Retaliation Prohibited: A landlord shall not retaliate against a tenant for exercising any right provided by this Division or seeking the enforcement of this Division.
(a) A tenant claiming a violation of this Division may file an action against a landlord in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) A tenant may seek injunctive relief, equitable relief, and money damages, including punitive damages, in a civil action against a landlord for a violation of this Division.
(c) A tenant may raise, as an affirmative defense, any violation or noncompliance with this Division in any action by a landlord to recover possession of a residential rental property.
(d) Any attempt by a landlord to recover possession of a residential rental property or any actual recovery of possession of a residential rental property in violation of this Division shall render the landlord liable to the tenant in a civil action for wrongful eviction for damages of not less than three times the actual economic damages.
(e) Any landlord who fails to provide relocation assistance as required by section 98.0706(c) shall be liable to the tenant in a civil action for not less than three times the required relocation assistance and actual economic damages.
(f) In an action between landlord and tenant brought under this Division that is not an unlawful detainer action, the prevailing party shall recover costs and reasonable attorney fees.
(g) The remedies under section 98.0709 are cumulative and may be used in addition to any other remedies in this Division or at law, statute, or ordinance.
(h) The City may enforce this Division under Chapter 1, Article 2 of this Code, including civil and criminal remedies.