Rent limits and just cause urgency ordinance

New state law (Assembly Bill 1482) provides an annual rent cap of 5 percent (5%) plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) and just cause eviction protections for residential tenancies beginning January 1, 2020. Before the state law will take effect, City Council passed an urgency ordinance (Ordinance No. 1063) to enact the law locally, effective immediately within the Menlo Park city limits as of November 12, 2019. The City's urgency ordinance may provide tenants with a legal defense to certain unlawful detainer actions. 

Rent increase limits

Annual rent increases are limited to 5 percent (5%) plus CPI, or 10 percent (10%) whichever is lower. 
  • Within incorporated Menlo Park, rent increase notices served on or after September 12, 2019, shall not exceed the maximum increase limit, which is 9 percent (9%)
  • Rent cannot be increased more than twice in one year and the total increase must not exceed the maximum increase limit
  • Certain exemptions apply based on building type
  • Excluded housing: 
    • New housing with certificate of occupancy within the past 15 years
    • Government subsidized or below market rate housing with rent based on income level
    • Single family homes or condos with no corporate ownership
    • Duplexes if the owner lives in the other unit
    • College dorms
    • Mobile homes and RVs in mobile home parks that are owned by the occupant

Just cause eviction protections

Landlords/owners need a valid reason to evict a tenant, which are identified by the following categories.
  • At-fault eviction (nonpayment of rent, breach of lease, etc.).
  • No-fault eviction (owner or family member intends to occupy the unit, intent to substantially remodel, etc.); no-fault eviction notices require relocation payments to the tenant 
    • One (1) month rent relocation payment is required for all tenants or if tenant qualifies for the Menlo Park Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance up to three (3) to four (4) months relocation payment is required
  • Certain restrictions and exemptions apply based on building type and term of occupancy
  • Just cause protection requires at least twelve (12) months of tenancy
  • If a new tenant has been added to a lease, one or more of the existing tenants must have continuous tenancy of twenty-four (24) months or more
  • Excluded housing:
    • New housing with certificate of occupancy within the past fifteen (15) years
    • Government subsidized or below market rate housing with rent based on income level
    • Single family homes or condos with no corporate ownership
    • Duplexes if the owner lives in the other unit
    • College dorms
    • Hotels
    • Extended care and adult residential facility
    • Co-housing where owner shares kitchen or bathroom
    • ADU’s where owner occupies main unit