It is important for both landlords and tenants to be knowledgeable about rent control in San Diego, California. Prior to leasing an apartment in San Diego, research, understand and ask questions about this subject.
What Is Rent Control?
Rent control is a legal guideline that regulates or prohibits a landlord from raising rents. Rent control typically applies only to residential properties. If the state legislature has provided the county with authority, the specific guidelines for rent control are set by the state or county governing authorities.
Rent Control in San Diego
There is no rent control in San Diego. However, other California cities may have rent control laws in place. Because there is no rent control, in a month to month rent contract or lease agreement a landlord can increase rent by any amount at any time.
Other San Diego Rent Laws
Although there is no rent control in San Diego, other landlord laws exist to protect tenants. In San Diego, a landlord is obligated to keep rental premises in habitable condition, regardless of any agreement to the contrary. Additionally, a landlord may not charge more than two months rent as a security deposit and cannot charge any other move-in costs regardless of their labeling.
The most important tenant rights in San Diego, however, are the notice requirements for eviction and allowable monthly rent increases. In a month-to-month tenancy, a landlord must provide thirty days notice of eviction or non-renewal of the lease. For a lease of a year or longer, ninety days notice is required. Additionally, throughout California, a landlord may not increase the rent for a residential property until the expiration of the initial lease term and must provide thirty days notice of any increase before the end of the rental period. For example, if a landlord and tenant enter into a one-year rental agreement, the landlord may not increase the rent by any amount until the end of that year.
San Diego Rental Assistance Program
The County of San Diego provides rental assistance for its low-income residents. Within this assistance, residents may choose between two programs: the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Moderate Rehabilitation Program. In the former, residents must pay at least 30% of their adjusted monthly income towards rent and utilities for any residence within the County boundaries as long as both parties agree to participate in the program and the County will pay the remainder of the rent due directly to the landlord. In the latter, residents are notified when one of a pre-selected and approved units becomes available.
To qualify for either of these programs, the individual must live or work within the boundaries of San Diego County and have an income at or below 50% of the San Diego Median Area Income. There is a long waiting list and no guarantee for either program. Should you live outside San Diego, there are five other Housing Commissions in surrounding areas. Check with your local realtor’s association to identify the Commission nearest you.
Although rent control is prohibited in San Diego, there are laws that protect a tenant’s rights. Always put any rental agreement in writing and retain a copy for your records. Being upfront and honest with your landlord are also good ways to prevent conflict.