Tenant’s rights workshop

By Lacey Stepter
Special to the Sun

The Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance held two workshops over the weekend on January 11 regarding the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, also known as Assembly Bill (AB) 1482. AB 1482 was created to make sure that tenants are not being overcharged excessively for rent and is intended to help with relocation assistance for those being evicted without just cause. The rent cap written into the legislation limits the amount of rent a landlord can increase monthly and requires them to give notice of the increase before it occurs.

The GBLA held the workshops to provide tenants throughout Kern County the opportunity to brush up on the new laws which extend their rights as renters.

In Kern County, based on the GBLA’s calculations, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 7.9 percent. A simple multiplication of your monthly rent by 1.079 would calculate the maximum increase allowed under AB 1482. The most current Kern County CPI is 2.9%. Under AB 1482, Landlords may raise the rent 5% plus CPI annually. So, the 7.9% increase amount comes from adding the 2.9% CPI to 5%. For example, if you pay $500 per month for rent the formula for calculation would be 500 × 1.079 equaling 539.50. Deduct the rent amount and $39.50 would be the maximum amount allowed for the rent increase. A landlord is only allowed two rent increases per 12 month period. The Tenant Protection Act does not override local rent control rules and does not apply to dormitories, duplexes occupied by the owner, mobile homes, government or low-income buildings, or units built within the last 15 years.

Unfortunately, if you have been overcharged for rent the ACT does not require the landlord to refund the money that you have overpaid, but, it will require them to decrease the rent properly. AB 1482 also ensures that tenants living at a property for 12 months or more may only be evicted for ‘Just-Cause.’ It also requires that the landlord provide relocation assistance to the tenant equivalent to one month’s rent within 15 days of the service of a tenancy termination notice.

Examples of tenants not at fault for their termination are if the landlord or their family members want to move in if the landlord does not want to rent the property any longer, if the court or government has ordered to vacate the premises, or if the landlord is planning to demolish or plans a substantial remodel of the property. Relocation assistance is only allowed for no-fault evictions. Just-cause evictions do not apply to dormitories, owner-occupied duplexes, units built within the last 15 years, affordable housing, hotels, motels, medical housing, senior housing, houses occupied by the owner, or mobile homes.

Correction: Upon communication with other sources, we would like to make a correction. The CPI for Bakersfield/Kern County should be 3.3% (until or on or about April of the calendar year). Our story in the January 15 issue listed the CPI at 2.9%, however, the percentage should be 3.3%.