How Often Can Rent Be Raised?

How often can rent be raised? if you have a lease for more than 30 days, your rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease, unless the lease allows rent increases.
If you have a periodic rental agreement, your landlord can increase your rent, but the landlord must give you proper advance notice in writing. the written notice tells you how much the increased rent is and when the increase goes into effect.
California law guarantees you at least 30 days’ advance written notice of a rent increase if you have a month-to-month (or shorter) periodic rental agreement.
The landlord must give you at least 30 days’ advance notice if the rent increase is 10 percent (or less) of the rent charged at any time during the 12 months before the rent increase takes effect. Your landlord must give you at least 60 days’ advance notice if the rent increase is greater than 10 percent. In order to calculate the percentage of the rent increase, you need to know the lowest rent that your landlord charged you during the preceding 12 months, and the total of the new increase and all other increases during that period.
Civil Code Section 827(b). Longer notice periods apply if required, for example, by statute, regulation or contract. (Civil Code Section 827(c).) Tenants in Section 8 housing must be given at least 30 days’ written notice of a greater-than-10-percent rent increase if the increase is caused by a change in the tenant’s income or family composition, as determined by the local housing authority’s recertification. (Civil Code Section 827(b)(3)).
Normally, in the case of a periodic rental agreement, the landlord can increase the rent as often as the landlord likes. However, the landlord must give proper advance written notice of the increase, and the increase cannot be retaliatory. Local rent control ordinances may impose additional requirements on the landlord.
Increases in rent for government-financed housing usually are restricted. if you live in government-financed housing, check with the local public housing authority to find out whether there are any restrictions on rent increases.
A landlord’s notice of rent increase must be in writing. the landlord can deliver a copy of the notice to you personally. In this case, the rent increase takes effect in 30 or 60 days, as just explained.
The landlord also can give you a notice of rent increase by first class mail. In this case, the landlord must mail a copy of the notice to you, with proper postage, addressed to you at the rental unit. The landlord must give you an additional five days’ advance notice of the rent increase if the landlord mails the notice. Therefore, the landlord would have to give you at least 35 days’ notice from the date of mailing if the rent increase is 10 percent or less.
If the rent increase is more than 10 percent, the landlord would have to give you at least 65 days’ notice from the date of mailing.

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Unlawful Discrimination

housing-rentA landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant, or engage in any discrimination on the basis of group characteristics specified by law that are not closely related to the landlord’s business needs: race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to them, as well as gender and perception of gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, age, and medical condition. This includes such discrimination in all oral or written statements (e.g. advertisements for rent).

The landlord may, however, properly inquire into a prospective tenant’s credit history and his ability to pay the rent and security deposit. In disability cases, as a condition of making modifications, the landlord may require the person with a disability to enter into an agreement to restore the interior of the rental unit to its previous condition at the end of the tenancy (excluding reasonable wear and tear). Making such accommodations (including, for example, accommodations for a companion or service dog) is landlord’s obligation. (See Government Code Sections 12926(p), 12927(c)(1),(e), 12948, 12955(d); Civil Code Sections 51, 51.2, 55.1(b). See Moskovitz et al., California Landlord-Tenant Practice, Section 2.27 (Cal. Cont. Ed. Bar 2011).)

Under California law, a landlord cannot use a different financial or income standard for persons who  will be living together and  combining their incomes than standard used for married persons who combine their incomes. in the case of a government rent subsidy, a landlord who is assessing a potential tenant’s eligibility for a rental unit must use a financial or income standard that is based on the portion of rent that the tenant would pay – see Government Code Sections 12955(n),(o). A landlord cannot apply rules, regulations or policies to unmarried couples who are registered domestic partners that do not apply to married couples, nor can a landlord inquire as to the immigration status of the tenant or prospective tenant or require that a tenant or prospective tenant make any statement concerning his or her immigration or citizenship status. However, a landlord may request information or documents in order to verify an applicant’s identity and financial qualifications. (See Harris v. Capital Growth  Investors XIV (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1142 [278 Cal.Rptr. 614]; Civil Code Section 1940.3; California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 2:569.1 (Rutter Group 2011); California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 2.553 citing Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club (2005) 36 Cal.4th 824  [31 Cal.Rptr.3d 565]. See Civil Code Section 1940.3. 46 42 United States Code Section 3607(b), Civil Code Section 51.3(b)(1).).

Finally, “housing for senior citizens” includes housing that is occupied only by persons who are at least age 62, or housing that is operated for occupancy by persons who are at least age 55 and that meets other occupancy, policy and reporting requirements stated in the law. The owner cannot discriminate on the basis of medical condition or age. A person in a single-family dwelling who advertises for a roommate may express a preference on the basis of gender, if living areas (such as the kitchen, living room, or bathroom) will be shared by the roommate. (See Government Code Sections 12927(a)(2)(A), 12955(c); Civil Code Sections 51,51.2, Government Code Section 12948; Government Code Section 12927(c)(2)(B).).

If a landlord refuses to rent to you because of your race or national origin), you may have several legal remedies, including:

  • Recovery of out-of-pocket losses.
  • An injunction prohibiting the unlawful practice.
  • Access to housing that the landlord denied you.
  • Damages for emotional distress.
  • Civil penalties or punitive damages.
  • Attorney’s fees.

 

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Non-Compete Clauses

non-competeA Non-compete clause limits the employment of the employee after termination for a specific amount of time in a given area and field of expertise. Its purpose is typically to: (1) protect trade secrets, and (2) limit employees who possess the knowledge and skills in the given area.

(1) Trade secrets are limited by a non-disclosure agreement, which contains a list of particular secrets of the trade. It may also contain sales strategies and client lists. (2) Employment limitation is focused on the market niche and geographic area, usually for up to three years. Overbroad limitations will be stricken and deemed unenforceable, especially where they are overly restrictive.

A provision should be included, which clearly states that “in the absence of any provision thereof deemed unenforceable,” the remaining portion of the Agreement shall be enforced.

What is more, non-compete agreements must involve some give-and-take (consideration). If a non-compete is signed only after the employment began, without any extra payment or advantage to the party, the proffering party (employer) is running the risk of the clause being stricken by the court (for lack of consideration). The employer is traditionally the drafter of the non-compete, thus bears the burden of proof that any restriction is reasonable and necessary to protect against unfair competition.

In California, the employer must show that the non-compete agreement actually concerns proprietary information (objectively understood, not merely because the employer says so). If this information, be it client lists or sales tactics or pure data, can be obtained by some other means (e.g. internet search), the non-compete will be deemed invalid.

Finally, the employer may not force the employee to sign a non-compete under threat of termination. Such a forced clause would be held unconscionable and invalid, and the employer would be liable to the employee for damages in a wrongful termination action.

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