On April 16, 2019, the Santa Barbara City Council approved ordinances requiring mandatory 12-month leases and “just cause” eviction. The City is working to finalize the proposed ordinances. The result will be that landlords generally cannot evict unwanted tenants based on the typical thirty-day or sixty-day notice. Rather, after July 2019, landlords must offer in writing 12-month leases to every tenant and can only evict tenants for a material breach of the lease, non-payment of rent, nuisance, waste, and other grounds for just cause eviction based on breach of a lease. Landlords will then have to prove the tenant’s breach of the lease in court, which requires hiring an attorney and preparing for trial—costs that have been typically avoided with evictions based on the traditional thirty and sixty-day notices. All other non-just cause evictions will either be prohibited or will require landlords to offer relocation assistance payments to tenants, which the City Council has discussed could be three to four months of rent and additional costs for frail or low and medium income tenants.
These are sweeping and serious changes to Santa Barbara’s landlord tenant laws. Both landlords and tenants will need to understand how these laws apply and how to draft their leases in order to comply with the laws and also to create a lease that is as favorable as possible to landlords.
Author: Kevin R. Nimmons, Attorney and Shareholder at Hollister & Brace, A.P.C.