Renter Protections

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New City Regulations Become Effective on January 1, 2019

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NEW PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT RENTERS AND HOUSING SECURITY

(Effective on January 1, 2019)

Introduction

We are all connected: what happens to one part of the community impacts everyone. Affording a home in Redwood City and the broader Bay Area is becoming increasingly more challenging. The lack of affordable housing threatens our community’s well-being and the City Council’s vision of a community for all ages. Achieving housing security for all in the community is a top priority for the City.

Renters and Housing Security

Almost half of the City's residents rent their home. In an effort to support housing security for renters, the City Council approved new rental protections this spring which become law on January 1, 2019. To help address housing challenges facing our community who rents, the City has established minimum rental lease terms and is requiring relocation assistance under certain situations. Landlords in Redwood City must provide at least a 12 month lease and rents can only be increased after the 12 month lease period ends. In addition, a new law to support renters requires that if a landlord evicts a renter, under certain situations, the landlord must provide the renter with money equal to three months rent.

renter support

Minimum Lease Terms Highlights 

The overall purpose of the new minimum lease term requirements are to provide more stability for tenants through the encouragement of longer lease terms. 

  • The requirements provide:
    • flexibility for the tenant and the landlord (when they can agree on an alternative time frame for renting a unit).
    • ensure there are no constraints on landlords raising rents at the end of the lease agreement and each time the lease agreement is renewed. 
  • The requirements do not apply to residential projects consisting of two or fewer dwelling units including single-family dwellings, duplexes, condominiums; housing accommodation in hotels, or accessory dwelling units. For a full list of what housing qualifies, read the ordinance below. 
  • Other requirements include:
    • The landlord must offer a written lease which has a minimum term of one year.
    • If the tenant rejects the offer for a written lease which has a minimum of one year, this rejection must be in writing and the landlord and tenant or prospective tenant may then enter into an agreement, oral or written that provides for a rental term of less than one year.
    • Regulations do not apply to a rental unit occupied by a tenant who subleases that unit to another tenant for less than one year.
    • Regulations do not apply to a unit which is rented on or before the effective date of the ordinance (January 1, 2019), provided that, the unit is rented subject to a written lease and when the lease expires, the ordinance shall then apply, or if the unit is rented without a written lease, the landlord shall offer a written lease to the tenant in accordance with this section, at the time of the lease renewal.

Report a Violation

If a resident feels their landlord has violated the City's regulations, please contact the City of Redwood City Code Enforcement Division to report a violation by emailing them at codeenforcement@redwoodcity.org or call (650)780-7577. Residents may also report a violation at City Hall by visiting 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063.

Go here for more details. 

Relocation Assistance Highlights 

The purpose for relocation assistance is to minimize disruption to tenants and their families caused by a need for relocation by addressing financial impacts. Securing replacement housing generally requires a significant amount of money for expenses related to a physical move, such as firs and last month's rent and security deposits.

  • Eligible residential households include a displaced residential household whose annual income does not exceed eighty percent of the area median household income for San Mateo County as adjusted for household size according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and whose rental payments to the landlord remain current through the date of displacement. 
  • Rental units not included in the City's ordinance include a room or any portion of a residential unit which is occupied by the landlord, a mobile home, properties of four or fewer dwelling units located on one lot, including single-family, duplex, tri-plex, or four-plex homes and accessory dwellings, mobile homes or housing accommodation in hotels, motels, etc. Fora full list of other rental units that do not quality, go to the City's ordinance below. 
  • The ordinance outlines other special-circumstances households that are eligible for relocation assistance including any one who is sixty-two years or older, a household that has occupied their unit as their primary residence for five or more consecutive years or more. 
  • Displacement under the City's regulations means the vacating of one or more rental units with five or more units by residential households upon notice from the landlord because the landlord seeks to:
    • withdraw all rental housing units from rental housing 
    • recover possession to demolish or otherwise remove a rental housing unit from rental housing use after having obtained all proper permits from the City
    • recover possession to remodel, renovate or rehabilitate the units resulting in permanent displacement of the tenants
    • convert a building into a condominium, community apartment or stock cooperative
    • change the residential use to a non residential use

Helpful Resources and Documents

Frequently Asked Questions (Coming Soon!)

June 25 Staff Report

March 26 Staff Report

Minimum Lease Terms Ordinance

Relocation Assistance Ordinance