Eileen Cross, Main media contact and Water Department (831) 420-5213
Joyce Blaschke, Santa Cruz Police Department (831) 420-5844
Janice Bisgaard, Public Works Department (831) 420-5166
Police Department Press Releases, click here
Fire Department Press Releases, click here
Interim Emergency Rental Housing Ordinances
Attention Santa Cruz Tenants and Landlords
On February 13, 2018, the Santa Cruz City Council passed two emergency ordinances that took effect immediately.
The first is a rent control ordinance that limits rent increases on specified properties to 2% annually. The second is a just cause eviction ordinance that specifies the circumstances under which landlords may evict tenants.
These new laws may apply to your property. Please review the information which contains summaries, frequently asked questions, and the ordinances themselves. It also contains contact information for legal assistance.
Temporary Emergency Rental Housing Ordinances Are In Effect in Santa Cruz
The information on this webpage is not a substitute for legal advice. Specific questions concerning the ordinance’s application to your individual circumstances should be directed to your own attorney. The Santa Cruz County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service (831-425-4755) can refer you to an experienced attorney for a 30-minute consultation for an administrative fee of $50.
Temporary Rent Control Urgency Ordinance passed on 2/13/18.
In summary, the ordinance:
- Places a maximum of 2% annual rent increase
- Applies to any rent increase taking effect after February 13, 2018.
- Does not apply to the following residences under the State's Costa-Hawkins Act:
- Single family residences
- Units that were originally occupied on or after Feb. 1, 1995
- Also excludes the following from rent control:
- Units in hotels, motels, inns, tourist homes and rooming and boarding houses which are rented to transient guests for a period of fewer than thirty (30) days, including all units subject to the transient occupancy tax ordinance codified at City Code Chapter 3.28.
- Units in a hospital, convent, monastery, extended medical care facility, asylum, non-profit home for the aged, or dormitory owned and operated by an accredited institution of higher education;
- Units which a government entity owns, operates, or manages, units subsidized under Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. §1437f) or, if other applicable federal or state law specifically exempt such units from municipal rent stabilization and eviction controls,
- What does it apply to then? Basically, apartments initially occupied before 2/1/1995.
- Does not regulate the initial rate at which rent is offered.
- Expires if rent control ballot initiative:
- does not gather adequate signatures to make it on the November 2018 ballot, the expiration will be September 1, 2018.
- gathers adequate signatures to make it on the ballot and the measure fails, the expiration is the Council’s certification of the November 2018 election results.
- gathers adequate signatures to make it on the ballot and the measure passes, the expiration is the effective date of the measure approved by the voters.
Temporary Just Cause Eviction Ordinance passed on 2/13/18.
The ordinance spells out reasons why tenants can be evicted, such as:
- Failure to pay rent,
- Breach of the lease (exceptions apply),
- Qualifying nuisance activities,
- Qualifying unlawful behavior,
- Failure to provide access,
- Necessary and substantial repairs,
- Owner or owner’s close family members moving in (when certain criteria are met and advance notice is provided, as detailed in the ordinance), and
- Withdrawal of the unit permanently from the rental market (when advance notice is provided, as detailed in the ordinance; note, this intent to withdraw the unit permanently from the rental market could apply to an owner intending to move into the unit, but the ordinance requires that all units on the property be removed from the rental market to exercise this provision).
The Just Cause Eviction does not apply to:
- Tenants living in a single family home, ADU, or duplex when the owner lives on site.
- Tenants occupying a unit that represents the only rental unit that the landlord owns.
The Just Cause Eviction Ordinance expires if rent control ballot initiative:
- Does not gather adequate signatures to make it on the November 2018 ballot, the expiration will be September 1, 2018.
- Gathers adequate signatures to make it on the ballot and the measure fails, the expiration is the Council’s certification of the November 2018 election results.
- Gather adequate signatures to make it on the ballot and the measure passes, the expiration is the effective date of the measure approved by the voters.