WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Rising rent increases are nothing new across the Bay Area, but they have been happening more earnestly before January 1st, 2020 when a new rental protection law takes effect in California.
“I feel like in my job is to protect my clients and the general public and to be on the other side it’s really scary,” said Cait Hudson, a realtor who lives in Walnut Creek.
Hudson says on the day before Thanksgiving, a notice was put on the door of her Lacassie Ave. apartment, which she’s lived for the past six months.
“I knew it was going to coming because my lease was going to be ending so I knew I was going to get it at some point,” she told KTVU Thursday.
While she was prepared to get a new lease, she was not prepared for the $500 rent increase that is required.
“I’ve lived at other apartment complexes in the area were of course at the end of the lease you’re going to expect some sort of increase but it being this much… I was shocked,” Hudson said.
After some digging, she discovered that California lawmakers passed AB 1482 in September, tough new rules that caps rent increased at roughly 9% a year and make evictions more difficult for landlords.
Hudson said she requested a one-year lease, but the landlord would only offer a term of six months, an issue that struck her as odd at the time, but she ignored the feeling and decided to move ahead.
“I just went ahead and signed the six months with the hope that I could sign another six-month lease or another year lease.”
A year-long lease that carried over into the new year would have provided her with protection from a steep increase in rent, but a six-month term would guarantee that she would not fall within the requirements of the law.
When AB1482 was signed into law in September, many landlords began to immediately to work around it by trying to get tenants out of their buildings before the end of the year.
“We saw a huge influx of these cause, no-fault termination notices coming to tenants who were into month-to-month tenancies… Suddenly landlords were just deciding to tenancies in droves. Our clinics were just sort of overwhelmed,” said Shirley Gibson, Directing Attorney at Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.
When word began to spread about what landlords were doing, some cities as Daly City, Milpitas, San Mateo, San Carlos & Menlo Park passed emergency ordinances that guaranteed protection before the law takes effect.
“We were pleased to see that many city councils stepped-up and rose to the occasion and intervene in that,” said Gibson. “What our local jurisdictions did in many instances was let’s just make these implementation dates sooner than January 1st.”
Walnut Creek has no such ordinance, which likely would not have mattered for Hudson because of her landlord’s instance on signing a lease that could come to an end at the end of the year.
But she will be out of a home come the end of the year.
She just signed a lease on a new place but feels for those who aren’t as lucky.
“I think it’s unfortunate for all of the other people that live in this unit. Not just this unit but other units in the Bay Area because they’re being displayed especially during the holidays,” said Hudson.
Paying an additional $500 a month is a big hit, but it’s important to note that Hudson’s landlord has done nothing illegal since her lease is scheduled to end at the end of the year.