What percentage of residential landlords are aware of the rent control and eviction limitations under the Tenant Protection Act (TPA)?

  • Less than 50% (56%, 31 Votes)
  • 50%-75% (38%, 21 Votes)
  • 100% are aware (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 55

Question: When may a landlord, for reasons of their own, lawfully evict a residential tenant in California who is in full compliance with their occupancy agreement?

Answer: Landlords evicting a residential tenant who is not in default are limited to specific circumstances, called “just cause,” for lawfully evicting the tenant under California’s Tenant Protection Act (TPA), now updated for 2024.

Just cause evictions, a level playing field

To stay compliant with California’s Tenant Protection Act (TPA) — and avoid provoking litigation —  landlords need to apply the rules when evicting tenants. Landlords will learn; some slowly, with pain.

Broadly, what the TPA does is:

  • caps annual rent increases at 5% plus the rate of inflation for much of California multi-unit residential properties; and
  • requires “just cause” to evict tenants in place for 12 months or more.

The just cause for eviction rules are designed to encourage landlords to avoid “work arounds” in an effort to profit when state and local rent controls, as public policy, maintain reasonable annual rent increases in residential rentals. For the evasive landlord, it has become challenging to evict tenants to re-rent their properties to new tenants at current market-stressed higher rates.

Further, when a tenant is being evicted for no fault of their own, the landlord may also be required to provide modest financial relocation assistance.

Editor’s note— The TPA applies to most multi-unit residential real estate housing in California and those single family residential (SFR) units owned by a REIT, a corporation or an LLC with a corporate member. However, there are numerous exemptions for multi-family units and mom-and-pop conditions for SFRs to be excluded. Read more about which properties are exempt from the TPA. [CC §1946.2(e)]

Related article:

2024 updates to no-fault just cause eviction procedures

To initiate any type of Just Cause eviction, the Notice to Vacate allowed are of two types, based on whether the tenant is:

  • at fault, called an at fault just cause eviction [CC §1946.2(b)(1); See RPI Form 577-1]; or
  • not at fault, called a no-fault just cause eviction. [CC §1946.2(b)(2); See RPI Form 569-2]

A landlord may engage in a no-fault just cause eviction of a tenant when the landlord’s intention for recovering possession is any of the following reasons:

  • the landlord or family members limited to their spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parents or grandparents intend to occupy the premises;
  • the property is withdrawn from the residential rental market;
  • the property is unfit for habitation as determined by a government agency and through no fault of the tenant; or
  • the landlord intends to demolish or substantially renovate the property. [Calif. Civil Code §1946.2(b)(2); See RPI Form 569-23]

For an eviction after March 2024 based on future occupancy of the unit by a defined family member, the family member must:

  • occupy the property within 90 days after the tenant vacates the property; and
  • remain in possession for at least 12 continuous months as their primary residence. [CC §1946.2(b)(2)(A)]

No Fault Eviction for substantial remodel

Consider a residential tenant in a property controlled by the TPA who has occupied it for 12 months or more.

The owner wants to evict the tenant to avoid the state rent control of TPA rent caps. With a new tenant, the landlord may establish the unit’s rental rate as they choose, limited of course by current market factors and sound economic reasoning. Conversely, increases in rent during a tenancy are limited by the state’s rent increase caps. [CC §1947.12(b)]

Related article:

2020’s Tenant Protection Act Part II: Rent caps


To initiate a no-fault just cause eviction as part of a work-around attempt, the landlord serves the tenant with a 60-day Notice to Vacate to terminate the current occupant’s tenancy. In the notice, the landlord states they intend to substantially renovate the property. [See RPI Form 569-2; 577-1]

On the tenant vacating due to the Notice to Vacate, the landlord completes cosmetic improvements, including painting, carpet replacement and repairs as necessary to eliminate wear and tear and relet the unit fully refreshed. The unit is marketed for lease at current rental rates, a significantly higher rental rate than the evicted tenant paid.

The evicted tenant, aware of the reletting of the unit, files a complaint with California’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG), claiming the renovations completed were not substantial, and failed to meet the no-fault just cause eviction required for the landlord to have lawfully evicted the tenant.

Did the landlord perform a lawful eviction?

No! To qualify as a substantial remodel, the modifications the landlord wants to make cannot be accomplished in a safe manner when the tenant is in place. A remodel is any structural, electrical, plumbing or mechanical alterations which require a permit from a government agency. An unsafe remodel also includes the abatement of hazardous materials like lead-based paint, mold or asbestos. [CC §1946.2(b)(2)(D)]

Eviction on a sale to an occupying buyer

Consider a landlord who wishes to sell their property, which is currently leased by a residential tenant. The tenant is three months into a 12-month lease.

The landlord’s broker locates a buyer who agrees with the seller on a price, contingent on the seller evicting the tenant as the buyer intends to occupy the property on closing.

The landlord serves the tenant with a no-fault just cause Notice to Vacate which states the property is being withdrawn from the rental market.

Does the landlord’s action constitute the basis for a lawful eviction under the TPA?

No! Simply selling the property is not the same as withdrawing the property from the rental market.

When the landlord sells the property, the buyer must honor the existing lease since the tenant owns a possessory interest in the property — a leasehold estate. Further, when the buyer intends to occupy the property on expiration of the lease term, they follow the no-fault just cause eviction procedures. This eviction includes paying the tenant a relocation fee.

Relocation assistance is equal to one month’s rent and is to be made:

  • as a direct payment within 15 calendar days of the notice to vacate; or
  • in exchange for the landlord’s waiver of the payment of rent for the final month before it becomes due. [CC 1946.2(d)(1); See RPI Form 569-2 §7]

The landlord notifies the tenant of their right to relocation assistance in writing. This notice of rights is written in the specialized 60-Day Notice to Vacate required for tenants who have resided in the property for 12 months or more. [CC §1946.2(d)(2); See RPI Form 569-2 §7]

Landlord compliance, OAG enforced

When landlords are guilty of violating the TPA, landlords may face consequences such as a:

  • court trial;
  • penalty fine; and
  • jail term of one year or less.

Landlords violating Just Cause eviction laws are liable for up to three times the tenant’s costs to move, and additional fines. The OAG, the city attorney or county counsel may bring these actions against the landlord.

Further, any landlord who attempts to violate rent caps set by the TPA is liable for up to three times the amount of any payment demanded or received which exceeds the TPA limits. [CC §1946.2(h)]

Landlords who attempt to bribe tenants to waive their TPA rights also violate the TPA. Landlords may not even ask a tenant to waive their rights under the TPA. Any waiver of TPA rights is void as contrary to public policy.

Related article:

Attorney General fines landlords for TPA violations