How Will the New Housing Laws in Redwood City Impact You?

Legal Update and Real Estate Law by Lorena Roel, Esq.

It is the New Year, and with that comes resolutions, gift returns, tax returns and new laws.  This is a short guide to help landlords and tenants navigate the new rental protections laws that the City Counsel of Redwood City approved in 2018 and are effective as of January 1, 2019.

Minimum Lease Terms

As of January 1, 2019, landlords must provide their tenant a written lease for a fix term of at least one year (12 months). The tenant must accept or reject the lease in writing. If the tenant accepts the written lease, then they sign the lease. If the tenant rejects the written lease, then the landlord and tenant may enter into an oral or written lease agreement for a period of less than one year.

If the tenant is already in a month-to-month tenancy as of January 1, 2019, then the landlord must immediately provide the tenant a written lease. If the tenant is in a fix term lease as of January 1, 2019, then the landlord shall immediately provide the tenant a written lease at the end of the term.

A landlord may increase the rent at the time they provide the tenant the written lease, whether it is a month-to-month tenant or at the end of a fixed term lease as long as the landlord provides 30 days notice for tenants who have lived in the property less than one year, and 60 days notice for tenants who have lived in the property for more than a year. After the landlord provides the tenant the first written lease in accordance with the new laws, the landlord may only increase the rent on a yearly basis.

This portion of the new law does not apply to duplexes, single-family homes, condominiums, accessory dwelling units, owner-occupied units and subleases. To review Ordinance No. 2449, also known as the Minimum Lease Ordinance, please click here.

Relocation Assistance

A tenant that is current on their rental payments and has an annual household income equal to or less than 80% of the median income for San Mateo County may receive relocation assistance if they are being displaced. Displacement occurs when the 1) landlord withdraws all rental housing units from market; 2) demolishes or removes the unit; 3) remodels, renovates or rehabilitates the unit; 4) converts the building into a condominium; or 5) changes the use.

The relocation assistance includes three months rent paid, refund of the security deposit subject to repair of damaged property and a 60-day subscription to rental agency service.

This portion of the new law only applies to properties with five or more units. To review Ordinance 2450, also known as the Relocation Assistance Ordinance, please click here.

If you have any questions about the legalities and rules related to these issues, the attorneys at the real estate law firm Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP may be able to assist.

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