Sacramento’s rent control law goes into effect today. What renters, landlords need to know

The Sacramento Tenant Protection and Relief Act goes into effect Thursday, impacting renters and landlords in the city of Sacramento.

Here’s what renters need to know about the new ordinance:

Who is covered?

The protections apply to all renters in Sacramento who live in apartments, duplexes, mobile home parks, and single room occupancy hotels built prior to Feb. 1, 1995. It applies to tenants who signed leases that are month-to-month or longer. It expires Dec. 31, 2024, but could be extended.

What does the ordinance say about rent hikes?

The ordinance prohibits landlords from raising annual rent more than 6 percent plus inflation, which is currently about 2.7 percent. The city is using 2.5 percent though, a city official said Thursday. That means landlords cannot charge renters more than 8.5 percent more than the previous year’s rent. Landlords will never be able to raise the rent more than 10 percent, even if inflation exceeds 4 percent.

What does the ordinance say about evictions?

Starting Thursday, all tenants who have been living in their unit for more than a year cannot be evicted unless they stop paying rent, are charged with a crime, are illegally selling drugs, fail to give landlords access to the unit, or otherwise violate their leases.

Landlords will still be able to evict tenants if they are making certain repairs or selling the unit, under certain circumstances, but will have to show proof, and will need to give tenants a 120-day notice.

What can renters do if they think their landlord is violating the ordinance?

Renters who have concerns or believe their landlord is violating the ordinance can call the city at 916-808-8121 or email tpp@cityofsacramento.org.

Independent hearing examiners will hear from both the renter and the landlord and make a determination.

Currently, there is only one independent hearing officer employed by the city, who handles other types of complaints, said Ryan DeVore, the city community development director. The city is in the process of hiring more hearing officers, though, who should be working in November, DeVore said.

To learn more about the ordinance, visit www.cityofsacramento.org/TPP.

Could a stricter version be enacted?

A stricter version that would prohibit rent increases of more than 5 percent, without inflation factored in, qualified for the March ballot in the city. However, a state bill Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign would allow the three proponents who submitted the ballot measure to withdraw it. If they do so, it will no longer be included on the ballot. The proponents have agreed not to pursue the ballot measure, said Margarita Maldonado, a member of Housing4Sacramento and one of the three proponents.

In the meantime, statewide rent control is moving forward. A law sent to Newsom’s desk Wednesday would cap annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation. Housing built in the last 15 years would be exempt, but unlike the city ordinance, that would be on a rolling deadline. If Newsom signs the bill, as he is expected to, it would go in to effect Jan. 1 and stay in effect through 2030.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.