Measure M summary

Here is my detailed summary of Measure M.

“Just Cause Eviction” section (section 5 in text)

This section does NOT apply to: units where landlord lives and shares bathroom or kitchen with tenants, government owned units, short term tourist-type rentals, dorms, medical facilities. It applies to both single family units and apartments, regardless of what happens with Prop 10.

Just Causes for eviction:

  1. Failure to pay rent
  2. Breach of Lease – violating some agreement in the lease, with caveat that landlord can’t force new lease terms once tenancy has started
    -Subleasing is NOT grounds for eviction if all of these are true:

    • Main Tenant still resides at house as primary resident
    • The sublease is replacing someone already subleasing as per the rental agreement.
    • The landlord unreasonably refused a lease after request from tenant.
    • A tenant’s family member moving in is NOT grounds for eviction as long as number of people doesn’t exceed code.
  3. Nuisance – causes damage to unit, permit a nuisance, interfere with comfort, safety, or enjoyment of other residents of the property. Nuisance defined by rental board.
  4. Illegal activity.
  5. Won’t let landlord on property.
  6. Won’t renew rental agreement.
  7. The unit is left alone with subletter .
  8. Unit is unpermitted.
  9. Owner move-in
    • Also kids, spouse, grandchildren, parents, grandparents (not aunt or uncle, e.g.)
    • Can’t evict if landlord or relative already lives there unless there are 3 or fewer units and the landlord or relative has lived there for 3 years.
    • Cant evict if there is already a vacancy for the relative.
    • Relative must intend in good faith to move in within 90 days of eviction and stay for at least 3 years. Board defines ‘intend in good faith’.
    • If relative or landlord doesn’t move in in 90 days- offer it back to tenant, pay ‘all reasonable expenses’ to tenant.
    • Elderly or disabled tenant: If tenant is at least 62 or disabled or terminally ill and has lived there for 5 years, you can’t evict them for family member, unless family member is also in that category.
  10. Repairs that are essential to bring unit up to code
    • Must make unit uninhabitable for 30 days.
    • Must give tenant first right of return.
  11. Withdrawal of Unit from Rental Market
    • Must remove all units on property from the market
    • Must give tenant 120 days notice, or
    • 1 year notice if they are 62 or disabled and have been there 1 year
    • If unit returned to rental market within 10 years, tenant has first right of return
    • If unit returned within 5 years, first right of return at original rent.

      -Temporary Tenancy – Landlord who lived in unit for at least 6 months can rent it out for 1 year or less as long as it’s agreed on in rental agreement. (like a “vacation house exchange”)
      -Domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking… if the tenant is a victim of this, you can’t evict them based on this, or on the noise, disturbance, or police presence associated with it.

Compensation for certain evictions:

If you evict someone for reasons 8-11 above, you have to provide relocation assistance of 6 times the fair market rent for the unit. (or 7x if they are elderly, disabled, etc.) (The board can increase this compensation if they want). Compensation must be paid right when they leave. The tenants get the first right of return if the house returns to being rented.

If you raise the rent 10% in any 12 month period, and the tenants move out because can’t afford the new rent, you must provide relocation assistance. It doesn’t define how much specifically, so kinda by default implies that it is the same as above, though could be argued about.  Tenant must request this within 15 days of the notice to increase rent. The rent board can reduce the 10% requirement if they see fit. This doesn’t take effect if the 10% increase is from the process of petition to the Board for a rent adjustment.

“Rent Control” section

This section is limited by the Costa-Hawkins act, which passed in 1995.  Costa-Hawkins prevents rent control on Single Family Homes and condos (housing units that have a separate title). It also prevents rent control on newer apts (built after it passed in 1995). It also prohibits ‘vacancy control’ on all units – meaning rent control that limits landlords ability to raise rent after tenants move out.

If Prop 10 passes in November, it erases Costa-Hawkins and so this section would apply to all housing units in Santa Cruz, and would also allow control of ‘between tenant’ rent increases.

Rent Control Rules for existing tenants:

  1. Landlords can’t charge more rent than the “base rent” plus the “Annual General Adjustment”.
  2. The “base rent” is defined as the rent charged in October 2017.
  3. The Annual Adjustment is the percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for the given region, but it can’t be more than 5%, and can’t be less than 0%.
  4. Landlords can’t increase the rent more than once per year, and can’t ‘save up’ rent increase amounts. If they don’t raise rent the allowable amt each year, they lose the chance.
  5. Landlords can’t increase rent if they fail to give notice, the unit isn’t up to code, or they haven’t made repairs ordered by the rental Board, etc.

A landlord can petition the Rent Board for a rent increase if that increase is needed to make a “fair return” on their investment, which is defined as the base rent adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index.

  Rent Control Rules for new  tenants:

      “The Board shall issue rules and regulations to govern the restrictions on the initial rent for new tenancies where such restrictions are permitted by state law. ” State law refers to Costa-Hawkins. If Costa Hawkins is repealed (Prop 10) then the board can make whatever rules it wants, which is kinda vague.

Rent Board:
– Initially 7 members, one chosen by each city councilperson. After that, 5 members elected by general electorate. 4 Year terms.

– Board will decide on it’s own annual budget. (no maximum amt given). They will hire whatever staff they need (director, hearing officers, housing counselors, legal staff, etc.)

– Board will be funded by ‘Rental Housing Fee’. The amount of this fee will be determined by the board (no guidelines or restrictions given in the language). They can also ask the City for money. City will provide start-up costs and may ask for reimbursement.

– The Board may give a discount on the rental housing fee (amt not stated) to landlords that charge less than 90% market rate.

– If any part of the language is struck down in court, the Board has sole authority to enact ‘replacement regulations’ consistent with the intent of this ordinance.

-If the basic existence of the Board is struck down, the City will make a ‘department’ or something that does the same thing as the Board.