San Jose rent & eviction protections

Every locale in the Bay Area has experienced growing pains, but perhaps none more than the epicenter of San Jose, a technology hub that needs to accommodate not only high-paid engineers and programmers but also cafeteria workers, shuttle drivers and security guards.

The city's response was to amend its rent control ordinance by capping the annual rent increase at 5%. Apartment buildings with three or more units with a Certificate of Occupancy before September 7, 1979, are likely covered by the ordinance, though exceptions apply. When in doubt, you can consult this map to see if the property is rent stabilized or better yet, consult an attorney.

If subject to the ordinance, rent increases may only be given once in a 12-month period.  Refreshingly, landlords may petition the San Jose Rent Stabilization Program to pass through costs to tenants when specific capital improvements are made and can also request rent hikes above 5% when there is proof that operating costs exceed income.

However, this body has an open door policy - tenants can initiate petitions of their own. These include requests to review a service reduction claim when the landlord decreases services without a commensurate decrease in rent or claims that any proposed increases be reduced or disallowed based on underlying housing code violations.

San Jose eviction controls

If the rental property is governed by the Tenant Protection Ordinance, a landlord can only evict the tenant for one of 13 reasons you can view here. Owner and relative move-in evictions  are one such permissible cause for eviction, but San Jose has carved out unique rules.

A 50% interest in the property is required for owners (or their spouse, domestic partner, parents, or siblings) to move into a tenant occupied property and then, only when there is no other available unit in the building for the owner to move into. Moreover, the owner or his or her relative must move into the unit within three months from the date when the tenant vacates and must maintain the unit as their principal place of residence for 36 continuous months.

When San Jose landlords contemplate “substantial rehabilitation” that requires a relocation of tenants to make repairs, there are specialized regulations and notice requirements and entitle displaced tenants to relocation assistance.

Ditto for Ellis Act evictions, a legal vehicle that allows owners to demolish or remove property permanently from the rental market. No less than 120-day eviction notices are required to alert tenants of the intention to withdraw units from the market, with additional safeguards for certain vulnerable groups.

Having managed landlord-tenant relationships throughout the Bay Area, we have a handle on rent and eviction controls in every locale, but San Jose’s regulatory regime stands out as particularly complex.