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San Diego Renters Rights

San Diego recently adopted new renter protection laws that are stronger than state law.  The city’s new ordinance combined with California’s strong renter protections means renters in the city of San Diego have numerous rights and responsibilities.  Here’s what you need to know about the laws that protect renters in the City of San Diego.  

State and Local Renter Protections Ensure Housing Stability

Local Eviction Protections for City of San Diego Residents 

  • You can ONLY be evicted by your landlord if the landlord has a just cause. Just cause protections begin on day 1 of tenancy (with a minor exception for short-term leases).  
  • If you have a committed a curable lease violation, landlords must provide you with notice of the violation and opportunity to correct the violation before evicting you. 
  • You are entitled to two month’s rent if you are evicted for a no-fault eviction. This increases to three month’s rents if you are a senior or disabled.  
  • Your landlord is required to provide you written notice of the local tenant protections including the tenant protection guide
  • If your landlord offers you a buyout agreement, there are specific steps that must be followed to increase fairness.  

Protections Against Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment

  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, ancestry, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, source of income and military or veteran status. 
  • The Unruh Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination based on the bases of age, immigration status, and primary language.  
  • Your landlord cannot evict you for complaining to them about unsafe or illegal living conditions, such as broken pipes, no hot water, nonfunctional or missing exterior door locks, broken windows, lack of heat, insect or rodent infestation, malfunctioning appliances, or non-functioning smoke detectors.   
  • Your landlord cannot evict you for reporting unsafe or illegal living conditions to government agencies. 
  • Your landlord cannot retaliate against you by failing to remedy unsafe or illegal living conditions.  
  • Your landlord cannot harass you. Types of harassment prohibited by state law include: 
    • Being violent towards you or making credible threats of violence.  
    • Removing your belongings from your rental unit.  
    • Threatening to report you to immigration authorities.  
    • Shutting off power, heat, or water to your unit (when not required for maintenance or repair).  
    • Locking you out of our unit.  
    • Removing doors or windows.  
  • Your landlord cannot enter your unit except for specific reasons defined by law and must provide notice of when they plan to enter and why they are entering.

State Law Limits Rent Increases

  • Under state law, landlords cannot raise rent for most rental units by more than 5% plus the change in the Consumer Price Index or 10%, whichever is lower.
  • To find out the allowable rent increase in your area, click here.

Eviction Protections Under State Law

You can ONLY be evicted by your landlord if the landlord has a just cause. Once renters have lived in a unit for 12 months (or 24 months if additional renters move in), you can only be evicted under certain circumstance including:

  • Failure to pay rent after April 29, 2023.
  • Violating the terms of the lease.
  • Creating a nuisance or waste.
  • Subletting in violation of the lease.
  • Landlords must provide you with notice of the violation and opportunity to correct the violation before evicting you.
  • You are entitled to one month’s rent if you are evicted to allow the owner or their relative to move into the unit, to substantially remodel the unit, to comply with a government order or to take the unit off the rental market.

See a list of the complete eviction protections under state law.

Single-Family Homes

  • Renters of single-family homes (vs. multifamily buildings) are entitled to all of the above protections if the home is owned by a corporate entity, such as an LLC. 
  • Renters of all single family homes are protected against harassment and retaliation. 

Breaking Down Common Misconceptions

Don’t be misled. Renters across San Diego County should not fall victim to misinformation or scare tactics. Below we explain common myths.

  • I can't complain about unsafe conditions in my rental unit because my landlord will find a reason to evict me to avoid the repairs.
  • My landlord will sell the unit just to get me out without providing financial assistance to help me move.
  • My landlord will stop making necessary repairs if I owe back rent.
  • I have no renter protections, because I live in a single-family home.
  • Renters in San Diego County have eviction protections. Most renters may only be evicted for just cause. All renters are protected from retaliation and harassment from their landlord. Renters have a right to raise any of these laws as a defense to an eviction in court if their landlord seeks to evict them in violation of the law.
  • If the landlord takes the unit off the rental market or the landlord decides to move in, state and local eviction laws require landlords to provide most renters with relocation assistance.
  • Landlords are still responsible for keeping your unit safe and up-to-code.
  • Renters of single-family homes that are owned by corporate entities are guaranteed the same state rent control and eviction protections as renters of multi-family units. Renters of single-family homes are also protected by state anti-harassment and retaliation laws, habitability standards, and anti-discrimination laws.


Read the San Diego Tenant Protection Ordinance

California Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482)

Submit a Fair Housing Act Complaint

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. For advice on your specific circumstance, consult an attorney.