Evictions and Terminations

NOTE: None of the following information serves as legal advice. To find a tenant lawyer in your area go to out local resource directory. All of the below information is for tenants in private residences in California, and is does not necessarily apply to tenants in subsidized or LIHTC housing. See our COVID-19 Tenant Defense Toolkit for current eviction protections during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Key Protections for All Tenants

  • "Self-Help" Evictions by a landlord or master tenant are CRIMINAL under California law. Landlords and master tenants must follow a legal process through the courts in order to evict a tenant in California, and cannot just change the locks or throw out someone's personal belongings without going through court. To inform your landlord of your rights as a tenant, fill out our Lock Out Sample Letter and provide directly it to the landlord.

  • Retaliation by your landlord or master tenant is prohibited under California law. If a tenant exerts their rights to safe and sanitary housing, and a landlord attempts or threatens to evict, increase the rent or otherwise cause the tenant to leave, within 180 days of the tenant exerting their right, the landlord is presumed to be retaliating against the tenant. To inform your landlord of your rights as a tenant, fill out our Retaliation Sample Letter and provide it directly to the landlord.

  • Discrimination is prohibited. Landlords are prohibited from evicting or threatening to evict you based on your race, color, national origin (ethnicity), religion, gender, marital status, familial status, disability, sexual orientation (FEHA), gender identity (FEHA), source of income, medical condition. Applicable Laws: Fair Housing Act Fair Employment & Housing Act Govt. Code 12900Unruh Act, Civil Code 51, 54

  • If your landlord is threatening to call Immigration Officials on you or your family as a way to harass you to leave, fill out our Immigrant Status Threats Sample Letter to protect your rights and provide it directly to the landlord.

  • Proper Notice of Termination must be given by a landlord or master tenant. Tenants should be given a written notice that is either served in person or posted and mailed. Landlords must give propoer notice time depending on the type of termination. If you are served an improper notice, use our sample letters below to inform your landlords of your rights. 

    • 3-day Notice to Pay / Cure or Quit - in cases where the tenant is at fault 

    • 30 day Notice of Termination - if tenant has lived in the unit for less than 1 year

    • 60 day Notice of Terminaion - if tenant has lived in their unit for more than 1 year 

    • 90 day Notice of Termination - if tenant has lived in properties that were foreclosed

    • IMPORTANT: if your notice is due to not being able to pay rent due to something related COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Tenant Defense Toolkit.

Just Cause Protections for Some Tenants

  • Under the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, some tenants are protected against unjust evictions, and landlords can only evict them for one of 11 Just Cause reasons. To find out if you are covered by the new Statewide Just Cause protection, please read through our AB1482 Toolkit, and use the "Am I Covered" worksheet (page 3 of PDF) to find out what protections you have under this new law. 

  • NOTE: Not all tenants in CA are protected under this new law. If you are not covered, all of the protections listed above still apply. 

Sample Letters for Asserting Your Rights

Fighting to Stay - We are Stronger Together!

Throughout California, we've seen people band together with their neighbors, community members, and loved ones to collectively fight their evictions! Time and time again, we see that this is the most effective way to build long-term stability and staying power. To learn more about how to talk to your neighbors, and organize to stay in your community check out our page on forming a tenants union here.

 

 

Help build power for renters' rights: