New Redwood City Rental Housing Laws Go Into Effect January 1, 2019

Learn how these new City policies may affect rental property owners and tenants in Redwood City

As the calendar year ends, three new laws go into effect on January 1, 2019 in Redwood City that may affect certain rental properties and their tenants. This blog provides additional details so that Redwood City rental property owners and tenants know what to expect regarding a new smoking ban, and new rental housing policies including rental relocation assistance and rental housing minimum lease term requirements.

Smoke-Free Multi-Family Housing Units (Smoking Ban)

Redwood City’s smoking ban intends to protect tenants from secondhand smoke regardless of type of smoke including tobacco, cannabis or other types of smoke. There is documented negative health impacts of second-hand smoke particularly affecting people in multi-family housing units. About half of all Redwood City residents live in multi-family housing units. The adopted smoking ban in and around multi-family housing complexes went into effect for newly constructed units on January 1, 2018 and will apply to all new and existing multi-family residences, with two or more attached units including duplexes, apartment buildings, condominium complexes, senior and assisted living facilities, and long-term health care facilities on January 1, 2019. It is the responsibility of the property owner to update all leases, provide written notice to tenants and post a required Smoking Ban notice in English and Spanish at their rental property or properties.

For additional details, including the Smoking Ban requirements, required notice to download and print available online or ways tenants can report a smoking violation, go here.

New Renter Protections Policies

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. 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 past spring. These new protections will become law on January 1, 2019. The City has established minimum rental lease terms and is requiring relocation assistance under certain situations. Rental property owners in Redwood City must provide at least a 12-month lease and rents can only be increased after the 12-month lease period ends. This applies to rental properties with three or more units. In addition, a new law to support renters requires that if a property owner evicts a renter, under certain situations, the property owner must provide the renter with money equal to three months’ rent. This applies to rental properties with five or more units.

Read on for more details about each of these new requirements or go to the City’s official web page for more, www.redwoodcity.org/rentalprotections.

Rental Relocation Assistance

The City’s new Relocation Assistance policy seeks to address the significant monetary challenges of displacing low-income renters (households earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI)). When rental property owners of buildings with five or more units withdraw from the housing market, seek to remodel, renovate and/or demolish, convert or change the use of the building to nonresidential, they will be required to assist existing tenants with their moving costs. The ordinance requires a minimum of three months’ rent to assist tenants with first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit to obtain a replacement unit and only applies to these limited conditions. This new requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2019. To understand how this new City policy may affect you as a Redwood City rental property owner, click here.

Minimum Rental Lease Terms

The City will be requiring a minimum of a year lease for rental properties with three or more units in an effort to provide more stability for community members who rent. The Minimum Lease Term ordinance gives some flexibility to negotiate the term of the lease to be less than one year, so long as both parties agree in writing, and it provides no constraints on a property owner raising rents at the end of the lease agreement or when renewing a lease. Rental housing with three or more units must adhere to the new ordinance and while it does set a minimum lease term, once the lease term is complete; there is no obligation for the property owner to offer any renewal of the lease. This new requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2019. To learn more about this new policy, go here.

Summary of New Policies and Online Resources

Rental Protections Website: www.redwoodcity.org/rentalprotections

As of January 1, 2019:

· Minimum Lease Terms applies to rental housing with three or more units.

· Rental Relocation Assistance applies to rental housing with five or more units.

Smoking Ban Website: www.redwoodcity.org/smokingban

As of January 1, 2019:

· Smoking ban requirements apply to new and existing multi-family residences, with two or more attached units including duplexes, apartment buildings, condominium complexes, senior and assisted living facilities, and long-term health care facilities.

For Frequently Asked Questions, go here. For FAQs in Spanish, go here.

For the required notice to print at rental properties under the new smoking ban law, go here. For the notice in Spanish, go here.