City of East Palo Alto Tenant Protections

The information below is provided by Tenants Together, based partially on research conducted by the Urban Displacement Project, and was last updated in October 2018. For complete information on the City's tenant protections, please visit their website here.

Disclaimer: This website is for general information and none of the information provided constitutes legal advice. In addition, please note that ordinances are periodically updated, modified, or interpreted by regulations. We recommend contacting the City for the official version of its law in the event that you intend to rely on this information.

Rent control is effective at keeping people in their homes. Rent control policies limit rent increases and provide greater housing stability for tenants. Rent control ordinances in California allow landlords to set the initial rent in any amount, but limit rent increases after a tenancy begins.

Rent control is often combined with eviction protections, known as "just cause for eviction," to make sure that landlords do not get around the rent increase limits by simply evicting tenants arbitrarily and bringing in new tenants. Just Cause protections provide basic fairness and prevent retaliation, discrimination, and harassment proactively.


Rating 1
What regulations does the City have? Just Cause and Rent Control Protections
Year Just Cause was Originally Adopted 1988
Year of Most Recent Just Cause Amendment 2010
Year Rent Control Originally Adopted 1988
Year of Most Recent Rent Control Amendment 2016

Just Cause Protections Summary

What causes for eviction are considered just cause - tenant at-fault?
  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violation of contract (please note there are special provisions in case of subletting)
  • Refusal to pay or make repairs caused by the tenant or nuisance
  • Tenant disturbs the peace and quiet
  • Tenant refuses to allow the landlord access to the rental unit during normal business hours
  • Substantial repairs by the landlord
  • Landlord seeks recovery to demolish
  • Owner moves in
  • Tenant refuses to vacate temporary housing
  • Tenant refuses to sign a new lease
  • Unapproved subtenants
Exemption: Any accommodation subject to rent control in which there are dependent minor children enrolled in school shall not be required to be vacated during the course of the school year.
What causes for eviction are considered just cause - no-fault?
  • Owner move-in
  • Condo conversion
  • Demolition (or government agency order to vacate)
  • Ellis Act
  • Landlord seeks to recover possession of the rental unit to comply with a contractual agreement or government regulation
Key Eligibility and Exemption Summary All non-exempt single family and multiple family dwellings are eligible
Is there a minimum tenancy for coverage? No
Do protections apply to new construction? Yes
What triggers the obligation to pay relocation assistance?
  • Demolition
  • Removal from the rental market

Rent Control Protections Summary

What units are eligible for rent control and which are exempt?
  • Eligible Units: Any rental property under the Rental Control Program such as where there are 2 or more units built before 1988.
  • Exempt Units: Single Family homes, condos, nursing facilities, hotels, owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes
Additional Details East Palo Alto requires registration of units in which the city takes greater responsibility on ordinances to know when rent is increased and by how much
Banking Allowed Yes
Does the landlord have to petition for additional increases? N/A, no mention of substantial additional increases

Just registration fee: Owners can, with proper advance 30-day notice, pass on to tenants half of the City’s registration fee for the Rent Stabilization Program. In program years 2011 through 2015, the tenant’s share of this fee is $9.75 per month. Tenants cannot be charged more than this amount or charged this fee retroactively. This fee is not part of the rent or included in the calculation of the MAR or rent increases based on AGAs. The City’s fee is in addition to the rent and helps cover the cost of administering the Ordinance.

A landlord cannot increase rent unless a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent has been issued for the current tenant of a regulated unit after a landlord has submitted a Registration Statement. Once a Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent has been issued, the landlord can raise that tenant’s rent once every 12 months, but not in excess of 10% annually, as long as the unit continues to be properly registered, and the landlord is in substantial compliance with the Ordinance. No rent increases are permitted for tenants within 12 months of initial occupancy.

On what grounds is the landlord allowed to petition for additional rent increases? N/A

Rent Board Summary

Does the City have a Rent Board? Yes
Is the Rent Board appointed or elected? Appointed by the City Council
Number of Units Covered by Rent Control 2,500
Number of Units Covered by Just Cause 2,500