Just Cause Eviction

Just Cause Eviction

Just Cause Eviction

As 2019 comes to an end, there are many new laws that will have a significant impact on California landlords, including the Just Cause Eviction law. On January 1, 2020, Just Cause Eviction will take effect. This means, in order to evict a tenant from a rental unit, landlords must have a “just cause” reason that is the dominant motive for pursuing the eviction. Or put simply, the law requires landlords to give “just cause,” or a legitimate reason as defined by law, for evicting renters.

The information in this article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Just Cause Eviction: A Law That Impacts California Landlords

In California now, landlords can evict tenants at the end of their lease without specifying any reason, as long as they give advance notice of 60 days. Or, 30 days if the tenant has been renting for less than a year. But, as of January 1, 2020, eviction in California will never be the same. In fact, many landlords fear what might be more cumbersome evictions in the coming year.

The bottom line is that a very effective tool is being taken away from landlords. After all, who serves a termination for no reason. There is always a reason, but now the burden is on the landlord to prove it. For this reason, it’s important for every landlord to understand at-fault and no-fault evictions, as well as when they have to offer relocation assistance

Just Cause Eviction

Understanding Just Cause Eviction

Under current law, landlords can terminate a tenancy for any reason or no reason at all. But, under the new “Just Cause” law, landlords must list one of several reasons for why they want a tenant out. For example, you can evict a tenant who does not pay rent. You can also evict a tenant who does not follow the terms of the lease or engages in illegal activities while in your property. However, this will all change come January. Which is why landlords need to be even more careful about staying up to date with requirements and expectations.

Understanding At-Fault & No-Fault Just Causes

According to the California Rental Housing Association (2019), “At fault eviction causes are based on the actions or activities of the renter” (para. 9). And, “No fault just causes are due to the owner’s actions or compliance with a government entity” (para. 10). What’s important to make note of, a no-fault just cause means paying relocation fees! In fact, regardless of the renter’s income, you must help them relocate by providing a direct payment. And, when you do issue a notice to terminate tenancy for a no-fault just cause, you must also notify the renter of their  right to relocation assistance.

At-Fault Just Causes

At fault “just causes” include non-payment of rent, habitual late payment of rent, lease violations (in certain cases a tenant must be given 3 days to cure the violation), nuisance, and use of a unit for an illegal purpose. 

No-Fault Just Causes

Situations that require the landlord to regain the use of the rental unit, as a result of a personal or business decision, and not the fault of the tenant may be cause for eviction. However, landlords may have to pay relocation fees to assist the tenant with the move.

Relocation Fees

A no-fault just cause, entitles the renter to relocation assistance or a rent waiver. You can decide in which manner you want to compensate the tenant. To put things into perspective, the relocation fee must be equal to one month’s rent (this includes rent assistance and rent waiver). And, it must be paid to the renter within 15 calendar days of the service of notice of termination of tenancy. Moreover, you are also are required to issue a notice of termination based on the no-fault just cause. And, you must include the renter’s right to relocation assistance or a rent waiver. For more on this matter, read 1946.2.


For any San Diego rental property owner, keeping up with the new laws and compliance can be a nightmare. If you are struggling to understand how this impacts your San Diego rentals. You may want to consider working with property management company in San Diego. Whether you are interested in changing property managers, or simply looking to hire a property management company for the first time, we can help. We take care of all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multiplexes such as duplexes and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. Let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy your life!  Call us today at (858) 576-2176. We will save you time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.