Calif. Business and Professions Code §11319
Added and amended by A. B. 2413
Effective date: January 1, 2019
Lease provisions may not limit a tenant’s right to request emergency assistance in response to an incident of domestic abuse, sexual assault or other emergency. Landlords may not penalize tenants who request such emergency assistance by charging fees or altering or terminating the tenant’s lease or rental agreement in response.
When a landlord penalizes a tenant for requesting emergency assistance and files an unlawful detainer (UD) action against the tenant, the tenant may raise the penalty as an affirmative defense against the eviction, and the UD action will fail when the tenant’s claim is credible.
When the UD action references the tenant’s call for emergency assistance within 30 days of the call taking place, the affirmative defense is assumed. The landlord may rebut the presumption by citing a different reason for the UD action.
A tenant is not required to document proof of the necessity of a call for emergency services, but when documentation is provided, the landlord may not evict the tenant or fail to renew the tenancy in response. The documentation may be signed by a sexual assault counselor, domestic violence counselor or human trafficking caseworker, provided the documentation displays the letterhead of their employing organization.
A landlord may not disclose any information contained in a tenant’s documentation of an emergency unless:
- the tenant consents in writing to the disclosure; or
- the disclosure is required by law or court order.
Government agencies may not require a penalty against a landlord or tenant requesting emergency assistance. When a local agency does authorize or require a penalty, a tenant or landlord may obtain a court order mandating that the agency not authorize or require the penalty.