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Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance

BaldwinParkRentControl

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, codified at Baldwin Park Municipal Code Chapter 11, Section 129, has two principal components, rent control, and eviction control.  The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s eviction controls require a landlord to assert just cause for evictions when terminating a tenancy.  All rental units in Baldwin Park have eviction controls.  The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s rent control provisions limit annual rent increases to a maximum of 3% in twelve-months.  Tenants whose Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance rights were violated have actionable claims against their landlords.

To learn more about the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, continue reading or contact Astanehe Law to discuss your rights and options with a tenant attorney.

Baldwin Park Rent Control

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s rent control protections (“Baldwin Park Rent Control”) protects and increases the affordable housing supply by limiting rent increases to reasonable amounts for tenants.  For units protected by Baldwin Park Rent Control, the landlord may not increase the rent in an amount more than the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers(“CPI-U”).  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(c).  Further, a landlord may never increase rent more than three percent in twelve months.  Id.  Where the CPI-U is zero or less than one percent, the landlord may increase rent by one percent.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(d).

What Rental Units Does Baldwin Park Rent Control Cover?

Only controlled rental units are subject to Baldwin Park Rent Control.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.01(a).  Controlled rental units are all units in the City of Baldwin Park built before January 1, 1995, except:

How Long Did the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance Rent Freeze & Eviction Moratorium Last?

The adoption of Baldwin Park Rent Control included a temporary rent freeze and no-fault eviction prohibition.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(a).  Although the rent freeze ceased on March 4, 2020, Baldwin Park extended the moratorium on no-fault evictions due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Baldwin Park tenants affected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 are protected by the Baldwin Park eviction moratorium.

Under Baldwin Park Rent Control, How Much Can A Landlord Increase the Rent?

Baldwin Park Rent Control limits rent increases to a 3% maximum per twelve-month period.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(c).  The exact amount is set according to the CPI-U. Id.  Where the CPI-U is zero or less than one percent, the landlord may increase rent by one percent.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(d).

To calculate a permissible rent increase, Baldwin Park tenants must multiply their base rent ceiling by the allowable rent increase percentage.

How Do Baldwin Park Tenants Calculate Their Baldwin Park Rent Control Base Rent?

Base rent is the rent that establishes the amount of all future rent increases under all subsequent Baldwin Park Rent Control rent increases.  In March 2020, landlords must reset rent in covered units to the rent in effect on March 5, 2019.  The rent in effect on March 5, 2019, is the tenant’s base rent.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(b).  If there was no rent in effect on March 5, 2019, the base rent is the rent charged on the first day of the tenancy.  Id. For all new tenancies established after the adoption of Baldwin Park Rent Control, the initial rental rate is the base rent.  Id.

The base rent is used to help establish the base rent ceiling, which is the reference point from which the rent ceiling may be adjusted upward to establish the maximum permissible rental rate under Baldwin Park Rent Control.  Id.

Baldwin Park Rent Control Posting Requirements

Baldwin Park Rent Control requires Baldwin Park landlords to post a notice informing tenants of the maximum allowable rent informing the affected rent-controlled units.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(e).  The City of Baldwin Park is empowered to penalize landlords who do not comply with Baldwin Park Rent Control’s posting requirement.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.04(f).

Can Landlords Petition for a Rent Increase Higher Than Permitted Under Baldwin Park Rent Control?

Yes, Baldwin Park Rent Control contains a mechanism for Baldwin Park landlords to petition the City of Baldwin Park for permission to increase a tenant’s rent to an amount higher than permitted by law.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.05.  This petition is known as a petition for upward adjustment.  A landlord is not permitted to petition for an upward adjustment hearing more than once in twelve months.  Id.

Under Baldwin Park Rent Control, the City of Baldwin Park must inform the tenant of the landlord’s upward adjustment petition.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.05(d).  Baldwin Park must also notify the tenant of the time, date, and place of the hearing. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.05(e).

Decisions may be appealed to the Baldwin Park City Council.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.05(l).

The tenant can attend the hearing and argue for a denial of the petition for upward adjustment.  For more information, please contact Astanehe Law for a consultation.

When Can’t Baldwin Park Landlords Increase Rent?

Baldwin Park Rent Control prohibits landlords from serving rent increases, under any circumstances, where the landlord:

  1. Has failed to comply with any portion of the Baldwin Park Rent Control or Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, including failure to pay registration fees and penalties; or,
  2. Has failed to comply with state or local housing health or safety laws, such as receiving a City of Baldwin Park Code Enforcement Notice of Violation citing serious health and safety housing defects in a rental unit. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.7.

What Must Landlords Include on Rent Increase Notices Subject to Baldwin Park Rent Control?

California law requires written rent increase notices to be served on tenants.  Civil Code § 827.  Rent increases of 10% or less require thirty days’ notice.  Please note that effective January 1, 2020, rent increases greater than 10% of the tenant’s rent at any time during the prior 12 months of the increase effective date requires 90 days’ notice.  Id.

Baldwin Park Rent Control requires rent increases notices of covered rental units contain a certification that the rental unit is habitable.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.7.  The City of Baldwin Park provides sample text, which reads: “The undersigned (landlord) certifies that this unit and common areas are not subject to any uncorrected citation or notices of violation of any state or local housing health, or safety laws issued by any government official or agency.”  Rent increases that do not include this certification are void.  Further, a landlord’s noncompliance with this requirement is an affirmative defense in an unlawful detainer (eviction) action.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.7(b).

Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance Passthroughs

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance allows landlords to passthrough certain expenses onto tenants who may enjoy the benefits of the landlord’s expenditure.  Presently, the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance provides for two types of passthroughs for common area improvements and capital improvements.

Common Area Improvement Passthroughs

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance permits landlords to passthrough money spent to improve common areas.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.12.  A landlord is permitted to pass through 50% of the expense via rent increase over five years.  Id.  The passthrough must be split equally amongst every unit at the property.  Id. The City of Baldwin Park must approve the passthrough.  Id.  Even where a tenant vacates, the passthrough rent increase runs with the unit for the entire duration of the passthrough.  Id.

Capital Improvement Passthroughs

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance permits landlords to passthrough money spent on capital improvements.    Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.13.  Although undefined under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, a capital improvement is generally considered an improvement that materially adds to the property’s value, prolongs an item’s useful life, or creates new uses for occupants. Capital improvements include, but are not limited to, new windows, a new roof, new exterior painting.  Repairs and maintenance work, such as replacing a broken door, is not a capital improvement.  A landlord is permitted to pass through 50% of the expense via rent increase over five years.  Id.  The passthrough must be split equally amongst every unit at the property.  Id. The City of Baldwin Park must approve the passthrough.  Id.

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s Eviction Protections

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s eviction protections keep Baldwin Park tenants housed by limiting evictions to instances where the landlord has an enumerated just cause reason to terminate a tenancy.  Baldwin Park landlords shall not take any action to terminate a tenancy, such as demanding a tenant vacate, threatening to evict a tenant, or filing an unlawful detainer when lacking a just cause reason to terminate the tenancy.  When terminating a tenancy, the landlord must inform the tenant, in writing, which just cause reason for eviction they are asserting. A termination of tenancy that does not comply with the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s just cause for eviction protections is unlawful and void.

What are the Just Cause Reasons for Eviction Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance?

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance lists ten just cause reasons to terminate a tenancy.  The just cause reasons for evictions are:

  1. Tenant’s unlawful non-payment of rent;
  2. Tenant’s material and substantial breach of the lease, after receiving written notice to stop;
  3. Tenant’s continued nuisance, after receiving written notice to stop;
  4. Tenant is convicted of using or permitting unit to be used for any illegal purpose;
  5. Tenant refuses, after written request, to sign a materially similar written lease;
  6. Tenant’s failure to provide reasonable and lawful access, without good cause, to the landlord, after receiving landlord’s written notice of entry;
  7. Tenant holding at the end of the term of the rental agreement is an unapproved subtenant;
  8. Owner move-in or relative move-in eviction;
  9. Government Order to vacate, or any other government order necessitating the tenant to vacate as a result of a legal violation; and,
  10. Ellis Act Eviction. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8.

What Rental Units Are Covered Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s Eviction Protections?

All rental units within the City of Baldwin Park is protected by the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance’s eviction protections. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a).

Can Baldwin Park Tenants Replace Subtenants?

Yes.  Where one of the tenant’s subtenant’s departs and the tenant continues residing in the unit, the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance permits a one-for-one replacement.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(2).  Baldwin Park landlords cannot unreasonably withhold the right to sublease.  Id.  Where a landlord ignores a tenant’s subtenant request for fourteen days, the tenant’s request is deemed approved.  Id.

Where a tenant’s spouse, domestic partner, and/or children who have lived in the unit for at least a year at the time the tenant dies or becomes incapacitated, the landlord cannot take any action to recover possession of the unit on the ground that the occupants are not authorized to occupy the unit.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(c).

What Documents Must A Landlord Provide to Terminate A Tenancy?

Under state law and the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, a landlord may only terminate a tenancy by serving the tenant with written notice.  For tenants who have resided in their home for less than a year, the landlord need only provide 30 days written notice.  California Civil Code § 1946.   For tenants who have resided in their home for a year or more, the landlord must provide 60 days written notice.  Id.  However, where a tenant is at fault, for example by committing nuisance, not paying rent, or remaining in breach of the lease, the landlord need only provide a three-day notice to cure or quit.  California Code of Civil Procedure § 1161.  If, at the expiration of the three-day notice, the landlord believes the tenant has not cured the defect, the landlord may initiate an unlawful detainer or eviction action in court.

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, the landlord must also state the just cause reason for the termination on the termination of tenancy notice or notice to cure or quit. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(e). The landlord must file any termination of tenancy notice, except for three day notices to pay rent or quit, within 3 days after serving the notice on a tenant.  Id.

Generally, the written termination of tenancy notice must minimally include:

Demolition and Conversion Evictions Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance

 What Are the Requirements for a Demolition or Conversion Eviction Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance?

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance permits landlords to evict tenants to demolish or convert a unit. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8. Prior to serving a termination of tenancy notice for a demolition or conversion eviction, Baldwin Park landlords must obtain a demolition or conversion permit from the City of Baldwin Park. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.9.09. In approving a demolition permit, the city must find that the landlord cannot make a fair return by retaining the controlled rental unit.  Id.

Further, the City of Baldwin Park may approve a demolition permit if the unit is uninhabitable and not able to be made habitable in an economically feasible manner, or, the permit is being sought so that the owner can develop new multifamily housing that will not be exempt from the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, and at least 15% of the units will be at rents affordable to low-income tenants.  Id.

Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Low-Income Tenants

For Baldwin Park tenants in good standing and living in households at or below 140% of the median income, by household size, are entitled to a relocation payment equal to two and a half months fair market rent as established by HUD for a comparable unit.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  Additionally, landlords shall pay a moving expense of $1,306 for adult households, or $3,935 for households with dependents, disabled, or senior occupants. Id.  These amounts are adjusted annually.  Id.

Enhanced Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Long Term Low-Income Tenants

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, low-income tenants who have continuously resided at the property for at least ten years are entitled to enhanced relocation payments and moving expenses.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  For each year after the 10thanniversary, the amount of the base relocation payment, as specified above, shall be increased by 10%.  Id. This increase maxes out at 200% of the base relocation payment on the 20thanniversary of the tenancy.  Id.

Owner Move-In & Relative Move-In Evictions Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, landlords are permitted to terminate a tenancy to perform an owner move-in or relative move-in eviction, which requires the owner or qualified relative to reside in the unit following the termination of tenancy. Despite being a lawful just cause for eviction, the owner, or their qualified relative, must follow strict rules following the termination of tenancy.  Their failure to comply with the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance following and owner move-in or relative move-in eviction may result in the tenant possessing a wrongful eviction claim.

Owner Move-In Defined

An owner move-in eviction occurs where the landlord seeks to recover possession of the unit in good faith for their use and occupancy.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(8).  A relative move-in eviction occurs where the landlord seeks to recover possession of the unit in good faith for their children, parents, grandparents, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, or a child-in-law’s use and occupancy.  Id.

To perform an owner move-in or relative move-in eviction, the landlord must be a natural person with an at least 50% ownership interest in the property.  Id.

What Must a Baldwin Park Landlord Include on an Owner Move-In or Relative Move-In Eviction Notice?

As stated above, a landlord must serve a written notice terminating the tenancy, that asserts the owner move-in or relative move-in as the just cause reason for the termination of tenancy.  For relative move-in evictions, the termination of tenancy notice must include the name, address, and relationship to the landlord of the qualified relative who will occupy the unit.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(8).

Although having no legal obligation, many landlords include half of the permanent relocation payment when serving an owner move-in eviction notice.

Following an Owner Move-In or Relative Move-In Eviction, How Long Can the Owner or Qualified Relative Wait Before Actually Moving In?

Following an owner move-in or relative move-in eviction, the owner or qualified relative must intend in good faith to move into the unit within thirty days following the tenant moving out.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(8).

Following an Owner Move-In or Relative Move-In Eviction, How Long Must the Owner or Qualified Relative Reside in the Unit?

Following an owner move-in or relative move-in eviction, the owner or qualified relative must intend in good faith to reside in the unit for at least one year.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(8).

What Must the Landlord Do if the Landlord or Qualified Relative No Longer Intend to Move into a Vacant Unit?

If the landlord or qualified relative specified on the owner move-in/relative move-in termination of tenancy notice fail to occupy the vacant unit within thirty days after the tenant vacates, the landlord must:

  1. Offer the unit back to the tenant who vacated it; and,
  2. Pay to the tenant all moving expenses moving to and from the unit. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8(a)(8).

What Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses are Baldwin Park Tenants Owed for Owner Move-In or Relative Move-In Evictions?

Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Low-Income Tenants

For Baldwin Park tenants in good standing and living in households at or below 140% of the median income, by household size, are entitled to a relocation payment equal to one and a quarter months fair market rent as established by HUD for a comparable unit.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  Additionally, landlords shall pay a moving expense of $653 for adult households, or $1,967.50 for households with dependents, disabled, or senior occupants. Id.  These amounts are adjusted annually.  Id.

Enhanced Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Long Term Low-Income Tenants

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, low-income tenants who have continuously resided at the property for at least ten years are entitled to enhanced relocation payments and moving expenses.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  For each year after the 10thanniversary, the amount of the base relocation payment, as specified above, shall be increased by 10%.  Id. This increase maxes out at 200% of the base relocation payment on the 20thanniversary of the tenancy.  Id.

Ellis Act Evictions Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, landlords are permitted to evict all tenants from a rental property and remove the property from the residential rental housing market.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.08(a)(10).  Despite being a lawful just cause for eviction, the landlord must follow strict rules following an Ellis Act eviction.  As with Baldwin Park Owner Move-In & Relative Move-In evictions, the landlord’s failure to comply with the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance may result in the tenant having a claim for wrongful eviction.

What is an Ellis Act Eviction?

California law allows landlords to remove a residential rental property from the housing market permanently.  California Government Code § 7060, et seq.  The Ellis Act permits landlords to simultaneously evict all tenants from the property to remove the property from the rental market. The Ellis Act is generally used to change the building’s use into condominiums, tenancies in common for personal use, or for the landlord’s personal use.

Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Low-Income Tenants

For Baldwin Park tenants in good standing and living in households at or below 140% of the median income, by household size, are entitled to a relocation payment equal to two and a half months fair market rent as established by HUD for a comparable unit.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  Additionally, landlords shall pay a moving expense of $1,306 for adult households, or $3,935 for households with dependents, disabled, or senior occupants. Id.  These amounts are adjusted annually.  Id.

Enhanced Relocation Payments & Moving Expenses for Long Term Low-Income Tenants

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, low-income tenants who have continuously resided at the property for at least ten years are entitled to enhanced relocation payments and moving expenses.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  For each year after the 10thanniversary, the amount of the base relocation payment, as specified above, shall be increased by 10%.  Id. This increase maxes out at 200% of the base relocation payment on the 20thanniversary of the tenancy.  Id.

What Restrictions Are Placed on the Property Following an Ellis Act Removal? 

In addition to allowing the landlord to evict all tenants form the building, an Ellis Act removal engenders restrictions that last up to five years.  Chiefly, if the landlord desires to re-rent a unit at the property within five years after performing the Ellis Act eviction, the landlord must offer and rent the unit at the rent in effect at the time the Ellis Act eviction occurred.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.10.  The landlord is allowed to increase the rent by any annual adjustments previously available. Id.

Can a Baldwin Park Landlord Invoke the Ellis Act on Only Some Units at the Property? 

No, the landlord cannot perform a partial Ellis Act eviction.  Every unit at the property must receive Ellis Act termini nation of tenancy notices simultaneously.

How Much Notice Must Landlords Provide Baldwin park Tenants When Invoking the Ellis Act?

Ellis Act evictions require 120 days’ notice. California Government Code § 7060.4. However, tenants who have lived in the unit for at least a year prior to the Ellis Act notice date, and are either sixty-two years of age or older, disabled, have a minor child residing in the unit, or are low-income are entitled to one year notice. Id.

Tenants entitled to one year notice must serve their landlord with written notice of their entitlement to an extension within sixty days of the date the landlord officially informs the government of the Ellis Act eviction. Id.

What Relocation Money are Baldwin Park Tenants Entitled to Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance?

Baldwin Park tenants evicted through no fault of their own are generally entitled to relocation payments and moving expenses.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  To remain entitled for relocation payments and moving expenses, the tenant must not be at fault for an eviction, and meet all of their obligations under the lease, including being current on rent.  Id.  Additionally, the tenant must be low-income, as defined by the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance. Low-income is a household at or below 140% of the median income, by household size.  Id.  A tenant who meets these qualifications is entitled to a relocation payment and moving expenses payment.

For demolition evictions, Ellis Act evictions, the government orders to vacate evictions, Baldwin Park tenants are entitled to the following relocation money:

  1. Relocation payment equal to two and a half months fair market rents as established by HUD for a comparable unit; and,
  2. Moving expense payment of $1,306 for an adult household, or $3,935 for a households with dependents, disabled, or senior members.

For owner move-in or relative move-in evictions, Baldwin Park tenants are entitled to the following relocation money:

  1. Relocation payment equal to one a quarter months’ fair market rents as established by HUD for a comparable unit; and,
  2. Moving expense payment of $653 for an adult household, or $1,967.50 for a households with dependents, disabled, or senior members.

Under the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, low-income tenants who have continuously resided at the property for at least ten years are entitled to enhanced relocation payments and moving expenses.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11.  For each year after the 10th anniversary, the amount of the base relocation payment, as specified above, shall be increased by 10%.  Id.  This enhancement maxes out at 200% of the base relocation payment on the 20th anniversary of the tenancy.  Id.

Relocation Money for Tenants Evicted from Recently Sold Property

Where there has been a change in ownership of the rental unit within the prior 18 months, the landlord must pay relocation money for a no-fault termination of tenancy. Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.11(d)(5).  Further, if the tenant is forced to vacate with the 18 month period due to a large rent increase, the landlord must pay relocation money.  ID.  A large rent increase is defined as any rent increase exceeding CPI plus 5% within the 12-month period prior to the notice of the rent increase. Id.  Relocation money shall equal the amounts provided for tenants evicted pursuant to a demolition eviction.

Does the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance Bar Retaliation?

 Yes, the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance prohibits retaliation against any tenant who has previously reported a landlord’s violation or exercised any right guaranteed by the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, including the right to form or join a tenant organization.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.8.

What Damages May Baldwin Tenants Recover for Landlord Violations of the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance?

The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance contains a private right of action for landlord violations.  Baldwin Park Municipal Code § 129.21.

A landlord who demands, accepts, receives, or retains any payment of rent in excess of the maximum lawful rent, in violation of the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance is liable to the tenant in a civil lawsuit.  Id.  The Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance contains an attorney fee provision, which means the landlord will be liable for the tenant’s reasonable attorney fees. Id.  Further, damages are tripled where the landlord acts willfully or with oppression, fraud, or malice.  Id.

To discuss the Baldwin Park Rent Ordinance, Baldwin Park Ellis Act evictions, Baldwin Park owner move-in or relative move-in evictions, Baldwin Park wrongful eviction, or California Rent Control (AB 1482), contact Astanehe Law to speak with a tenant attorney.

Last updated: March 21, 2020.

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