Rent Increase Protections in California
- Procedures - although not all tenants are covered by the 3 types of protections below, any rent increase in California must follow certain procedures in order to be considered valid. For example, the tenant must be notified through a written notice with certain amount of days in advance depending on the rent increase. See more below in "Rent Increase Procedures."
- Rent Gouging During a State of Emergency (COVID-19) - During this state of emergency, California generally prohibits "rent gouging" in any area whose housing is impacted by an increase in demand due to the state of emergency, which means that the rent cannot be increased by over 10%. Click here to find out whether your county is currently in a state of emergency. If your landlord has tried to raise your rent by over 10% during this time, inform your landlord that they are in violation of this protection with our sample letter here.
- Statewide Rent Cap - In 2019, the CA state legislature passed The Tenant Protection Act to limit the amount that landlords can increase the rent every year. It prohibits rent increases of above 5% + CPI (Consumer Price Index) for tenants who are protected based on their housing. NOTE: THIS DOES NOT COVER ALL TENANTS. To find out if you are protected, and to learn more about what this all means please read our AB1482 Toolkit here
- Local Rent Control - in 23 cities in California, tenant organizers have fought to pass rent control - meaning, a reasonable maximum a landlord can increase rent, with real enforcement and consequences for landlords who don't comply at the local level. To learn if you live in a city with rent control, and what it means for those cities, check out our Rent Control webpage.
Rent Increase Procedures (covers all tenants in private residences, despite their protections above)
Notice of a Rent Increase must be served in WRITING and on paper for it to be valid. If not, fill out this Sample Letter of Improper Notice of Rent Increase and provide it directly to your landlord.
Landlords must serve it in person OR post AND mail it to tenants. If not, fill out this Sample Letter of Improper Notice of Rent Increase and provide it directly to your landlord.
Rent increase must be served with the proper amount of time given:
- 30 days notice for a rent increase of below 10%
90 days notice for a rent increase of above 10% (as of 1/1/2020)
If not, fill out this Sample Letter of Improper Notice of Rent Increase and provide it directly to your landlord.
Rent cannot be increased during a fixed-term lease (for example, if you have a one year lease ending 12/2021, it cannot be increased in 10/2021).
- Government subsidized housing (Section 8 , HUD, Low-Income Tax Credits), and other affordable housing have other special laws and protections that regulat the frequency and amount of rent increases.
Sample Letters to Assert Yourt Rights Regarding Rent Increases
- Improper Notice of Rent Increase
- Rent Rollback for AB1482 (as of January 1, 2020)
- Rent Increase Not In Compliance with Ban On Price Gouging during COVID-19 State of Emergency
Fighting to Stay - We are Stronger Together!
Throughout California, we've seen people band together with their neighbors 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!
- Boyle Heights Tenants in Los Angeles win 42-month leases with rent cap of 5% annually after year long rent strike.
- Concord Tenants win year leases after organzing against 30% rent increases.