With the pandemic making more and more people financially and housing insecure, tenant protections have never been more critical.
Adopted by the Sacramento City Council in late 2019, the Tenant Protection and Relief Act was designed to assist residential tenants living within the city.
The act helped spawn the City’s Tenant Protection Program (TPP), which was created to enforce limits on annual rent increases and protections for unjustified evictions.
In partnership with nonprofit Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH), City staff respond to calls for assistance as well as share information on other resources available.
“The TPP team is dedicated to helping tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure compliance with tenant protections,” said Tina Lee-Vogt, program manager with City’s Code Compliance. “Staff will continue to develop the program and provide enhanced outreach to help renters in the city.”
The program has proved vital assistance during the pandemic. In the past year, the City and SSHH have responded to more 4,000 calls for assistance.
According to Lee-Vogt, there are two basic components of TPP: limited annual rent increases and eviction protections.
- First, TPP limits annual increases in rental rate to no more than 5% plus the change in the Consumer Price Index not to exceed 10%. The current maximum allowable rent increase is 6% over one year. This amount is updated annually on July 1 and is available on the TPP website.
- Second, a landlord cannot terminate a rental housing agreement and require a tenant to move without “just cause” reasoning once the tenant has lived in the unit more than 12 months.
What exactly is “just cause?”
Just cause reasons include failure to pay rent, breach of the rental housing agreement, criminal or nuisance activity, failure to give access, necessary and substantial repairs requiring temporary vacancy, owner move-in, or withdrawal of the rental unit from the rental market.
TPP applies to most apartments and duplexes built before Feb. 1, 1995, including mobile home rentals and single occupancy rooms in hotels rented for longer than 30 days. Single-family dwellings and rental units in condominiums and stock cooperatives are excluded.
The program requires a rental housing registry, and landlords must pay an annual program fee of $20 per unit. There are approximately 42,000 rental units subject to the program.
Tenants who need assistance are encouraged to contact the TPP office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 916-808-8121.
They should provide the rental address, reason for contacting the program and the best daytime contact information. Also, they should include in email or be prepared to provide any documentation such as the lease and the notice received. Having this information at the ready helps to expedite a response, Lee-Vogt said.
Residents can stay up to date by visiting TPP’s website, which includes current program details and dates for upcoming outreach events for landlords and tenants.
Impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic?
Renters impacted by COVID-19 can find useful information on the State of California’s Eviction Moratorium and Tenant Relief Act on the Housing is Key website.