Following a recent settlement announced by Attorney General Rob Bonta, California landlords are reminded of the importance of understanding and complying with the California Tenant Protection Act.

This landmark legislation, signed into law in 2019 as AB 1482, caps rent increases at 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living (CPI), or 10%, whichever is lower. The law also requires a “just cause” for evictions, such as non-payment of rent or breach of contract.

The settlement came after a year-and-a-half-long investigation by the Attorney General’s office into alleged violations of AB 1482. The defendant, a property manager and developer with property in Silicon Valley, was accused of raising rents significantly beyond the limit set by the law, with the increases in question averaging 151%. The company also allegedly wrongfully evicted several tenants.

Over $300,000, as part of the settlement, is expected to be refunded to the tenants who were reportedly overcharged, according to information provided by the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Rob Bonta

“When the Legislature writes a law and the governor signs it, it’s the law, it’s not a suggestion, it’s not a recommendation, it’s not a ‘if you want to,'” said Attorney General Rob Bonta, as quoted in an article by CalMatters.  He further said, “This is a first for my office. But it won’t be the last.”

This enforcement action serves as a clear reminder to all landlords and rental housing providers in California to understand and abide by AB 1482.

The California Apartment Association provides several pieces of compliance materials on AB 1482, including a calculator that determines the maximum allowable rent increases by location, based on the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures.

CAA updated its CPI calculator earlier this week, making it easier for landlords to calculate the maximum allowable rent increase under AB 1482 wherever their property is located.