San Diego City Council Approves Tenant Protection Ordinance

Legislative Updates,

San Diego City Council Approves Tenant Protection Ordinance

Amendments Taken After Over 5 Hours of Public Testimony

*Update: The ordinance was approved at the second reading on May 16 and goes into effect 30 days after the Mayor signs it into law. Click here for a copy of the final ordinance. 

SCRHA would firstly like to thank all of the members who made their voice heard, whether in-person, virtually, or in writing. Hundreds of rental providers packed the San Diego Council chambers today to share their concerns with the proposed Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO). 

SCRHA worked very hard leading up to the meeting to ensure as much consistency with state law (AB 1482) as possible. Those efforts were largely reflected in the draft presented. However, SCRHA did express concerns with several issue areas that could create unintended consequences and pushed for means testing for relocation assistance to ensure high-income earners don't get relocation beyond the one month required by state law. 

The amendments include:

  • Requiring that copies of Termination of Tenancy notices be provided to the Housing Commission within 3 business days of serving notice. (made by Council President Elo-Rivera)
    • SCRHA heard this amendment might be proposed and addressed the concept in comments, specifically citing the need for more time to even consider the item since it was not discussed in the stakeholder process. But more importantly, opposed the idea of including At-Fault Cause Termination Notices since the whole impetus behind the ordinance was to address issues surrounding No-Fault Cause. 
    • Councilmember Whitburn requested the removal of At-Fault noticing and received a second from Councilmember Campillo. However, Council President Elo-Rivera rejected that friendly amendment. The Council President then offered an amendment that the requirement to provide notice to the City shall not be effective until 30 days after the Housing Commission establishes the portal and requirements for submitting notices. 
  • An amendment to make it clear that a tenant has to respond to an offer to return to the unit within 30 days so rental owners don't have to hold their units off market for a punitive amount of time. (made by Councilmember Campillo) 
  • Additional time for exemption notification delivery (made by Councilmember Von Wilpert) 
  • Annual reporting from the City on impacts of the ordinance (made by Councilmember Campbell)
  • Exemption for non-profit transitional housing (made by Councilmember La Cava)
  • Amendment that the Council consider means testing or a ceiling on relocation payments, subject to legal review and data from the housing commission (made by Councilmember Lee)

The ordinance passed with the amendments on an 8-1 vote, with Councilmember Jennifer Campbell being the lone "No" vote. 

The ordinance must go to a second reading and will likely go into effect in late June. 


Oct. Discussion Framework

What SCRHA Sought

Final TPO 


Effective Date Protections Apply

·   Day one of tenancy

·   Consistency with State Law at 12 mos. of tenancy

·   When City made clear it would seek Day One protections without question, SCRHA negotiated for a min. of 9 mos. of tenancy so short-term leases remain feasible

·   3 mos. of tenancy (Lease may be renewed three times = 9 mos.)


Termination Notice Period

·   Min. of 120-days’ notice for Withdrawals from Market

·   Min. one year for tenants who are seniors or disabled

·   New Termination Noticing requirements to the City

·   Consistency with State Law

·   SCRHA also successfully negotiated the removal of a provision sought during negotiations to require reporting of Termination Notices the City

·   Noticing periods consistent with State Law

·   NOTE: CP amended TPO on dais to add back in reporting of Termination Notices to the Housing Commission (HC). SCRHA heard this might be proposed and immediately raised concerns to CMs, particularly over the inclusion of At-Fault notices. In response, CM Whitburn offered an amdt. to remove At-Fault notices, but the CP rejected it. The CP then agreed to delay implementation until 30 days after a portal is in place to collect notices (Est. July 2024). Our concerns remain and we’ll continue monitoring and advocating on this.


“At-Fault” Termination of Tenancy Definitions

·   Major changes from State Law, including removal of “Illegal Use” without conviction and “Refusal to Renew Lease” altogether

·   Definitions consistent with State Law


·   Definitions consistent with State Law


“No-Fault” Termination of Tenancy Definitions

·   Major changes from State Law, including limits on “Owner/Relative Move-ins” if tenant(s) are elderly or disabled or during school yr. for students

·   “Corrections of Violations” limited to temporary recovery of property

·   Definitions consistent with State Law

·   Definitions consistent with State Law


Relocation Assistance for No-Fault Cause

·   Min. of 3-mos. rent, based on HUD calculations (effective on Day One of tenancy); additional for tenants who are senior, disabled or terminally ill

·   Per-diem payments for temporary displacements 

·   SCRHA sought consistency with State Law (1 mo. contract rent, additional for tenants who are seniors or disabled)

·   When Mayor and CMs made clear this was a non-starter, SCRHA negotiated for 2 mos. max, based on means testing


·   Final TPO brought down to 2 mos. assistance, 3 mos. for seniors and renters with disabilities

·   SCRHA secured “contract rent” calculation over HUD language

·   CM Lee amendment accepted to revisit TPO when more data is available to consider means testing or a cap on relocation payments, per SCRHA’s recommendation

Property Owner Exemptions

·   No longer exempted Agency-Owned or Subsidized units

·   SCRHA sought consistency with State Law, which exempts single-family homes, condos, owner-occupied ADUs, and units built within the last 15 yrs. The City’s existing ordinance did not provide those exemptions and the original framework did not propose to include them in the new law  

·   Consistency with State Law



First Right of Refusal

·   Included without limitations

·   SCRHA sought consistency with State Law, which does not include this requirement and raised concerns it could delay units from being listed in a timely fashion

·   Applies if unit is brought back to market w/in five years.

·   CM Campillo amdt. accepted requiring tenant to respond w/in 30 days to help address concerns over delayed listings