Updated on

Rent Control Laws in California

In January 2020, California became the second state in the U.S. to institute statewide rent control. Annual rent increases are capped at 5 percent—but the rules may be stricter depending on the city.

Statewide rent control went into effect in California in January 2020.1 Rent increases across the state are now capped at 5% of the monthly rent plus inflation (up to a maximum of 10%). Landlords can only raise rent twice during a 12-month period to reach the maximum increase—assuming that the tenant is not on a year-long lease, in which case rent can only be raised at the end of the agreed-upon lease term.

Buildings that were constructed in the last 15 years are exempt from the new statewide law, however. This is a rolling date, which means that apartments built in 2006 will be covered in 2021, and so on.

While the new state law provides rent control in cities where it didn’t previously exist, many counties and cities in California already had rent control laws in place. If that's the case, the local laws do not change.

For example, in Santa Monica, the local rent control board determines each year's increase, which can only be implemented once per year during a certain time period.2 San Francisco has a similar system in place, which ties rent hikes to the Consumer Price Index. In Sacramento, rent increases are also capped at 10 percent, but only one increase is allowed during a 12-month period.3

[1] California Civil Code §1946.2

[2] City of Santa Monica Rent Control Board

[3] Sacramento City Code §5.156.050

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.