Chapter 8.45
RELOCATION ASSISTANCE FOR DISPLACED TENANTS

Sections:

8.45.010    Intent and purpose.

8.45.020    Definitions.

8.45.030    Relocation assistance requirements.

8.45.040    Exceptions.

8.45.050    Rent increases during repairs.

8.45.060    Enforcement by tenant or tenant’s association.

8.45.070    Repealed.

8.45.010 Intent and purpose.

(A)    The Board of Supervisors finds that tenants who are required to vacate dwellings rented for residential purposes due to unsafe or hazardous living conditions, or due to illegal use of the dwelling as a residence, oftentimes confront difficulties in finding temporary housing while said dwelling is being repaired, and/or difficulties in finding other permanent affordable housing. Further, said difficulties create a financial hardship for said tenants.

(B)    The Board of Supervisors finds that mobilehome owners who are required to vacate or move their mobilehome due to unsafe or hazardous living conditions which are the responsibility of the park owner, or due to an illegal rental of a mobilehome space, oftentimes confront difficulties and expenses in finding temporary housing or space for their mobilehome.

(C)    The Board of Supervisors also finds that property owners who do not properly maintain residential rental properties or mobilehome parks, and who allow said dwellings or parks to become unsafe or hazardous, or who create residential units or mobilehome spaces illegally should bear responsibility for the hardship their actions create for said tenants. Therefore, the Board of Supervisors finds and declares that it is necessary to enact this chapter to protect the public health, safety and welfare. [Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases, whenever used, shall be construed as defined in this section:

“Dwelling” means any structure which serves as the place of permanent or customary and usable abode of a person, including, but not limited to, a single-family dwelling, multifamily dwelling, a unit of a condominium or cooperative housing project, a mobilehome as herein defined, or any other residential unit which is considered to be real property under State law. A structure need not be decent, safe, or sanitary to be considered a dwelling.

“Illegal use” means the use of a structure or space for a dwelling in violation of zoning regulations.

“Mobilehome” means a structure designed for human habitation meeting one of the following definitions:

(1)    A manufactured home as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code; or

(2)    A mobilehome, as defined in Section 18008 of the Health and Safety Code; or

(3)    A recreational vehicle as defined in Section 18010 of the Health and Safety Code, that has occupied a site for nine or more continuous months in a mobilehome park, a recreational vehicle park, or a travel trailer park, under a rental agreement with a term of one month or longer.

“Mobilehome space” means an area occupied as a space for a mobilehome in a park.

“Right of first refusal” means the right of a tenant to reoccupy a dwelling on the site formerly occupied by said tenant, once the dwelling is repaired and becomes habitable, or once housing is redeveloped on the site. A mobilehome owner vacating a mobilehome space shall have the right to reoccupy the same or a comparable space within the same park, once the site has been restored.

“Tenant” means a person who has occupied a structure or mobilehome space for a dwelling for a period of 30 days or more under a written or verbal agreement with the owner by which the tenant has paid rent or provided other valuable consideration to the owner in exchange for the right of occupancy. [Ord. 4590 § 1, 2000; Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.030 Relocation assistance requirements.

(A)    Relocation Assistance Due and Notice to Tenant of Entitlement. The owner of a dwelling or mobilehome park shall provide directly to the tenant or tenants relocation assistance pursuant to subsections (B) and (C) of this section, within one week of any notice of eviction or other order requiring a tenant or tenants to vacate any dwelling or mobilehome space, rented for residential purposes due to (1) unsafe or hazardous living conditions (regardless of the date such use commenced), or (2) an illegal use of the structure or the mobilehome space for residential purposes. On or before the date the owner gives tenant(s) notice of eviction or other notice to vacate a dwelling or mobilehome space subject to this chapter, the owner shall provide written notice in English and Spanish advising the tenant of the right to relocation assistance and the right of first refusal specified in subsection (C) of this section. Except as otherwise provided by SCCC 8.45.040, the owner shall not be entitled to possession of the dwelling or mobilehome space pursuant to a notice of eviction or other notice to vacate if the owner has failed to provide the notice of the right to relocation assistance or fails to tender the relocation assistance required by this chapter for the tenant to vacate the dwelling or mobilehome space.

(B)    Relocation Assistance. The following relocation assistance shall be provided as applicable:

(1)    For Tenants Renting a Dwelling. The immediate payment of three months’ fair market value rent for a unit of comparable size, as established by the most current Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development schedule of fair market rents, or three months of the tenant’s actual rent at the time of relocation, whichever is greater, unless the property owner provides safe and legal housing that is equivalent in size, number of bedrooms and location within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County for the period that the tenant is required to vacate the dwelling, as evidenced by a written agreement binding the property owner to provide such specified replacement housing, tendered to the tenant for acceptance.

(a)    Where, under the provisions of this chapter, a tenant is required to vacate a dwelling with less than 30 days’ notice, relocation payment shall also include the immediate payment of the cost of alternative, safe and legal temporary housing for an additional one month after the tenant vacates the dwelling, unless the property owner provides safe and legal housing that is equivalent in size, number of bedrooms and location within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County for 30 days after the tenant vacates, as evidenced by a written agreement binding the property owner to provide such specified replacement housing, tendered to the tenant for acceptance.

(b)    A relocation payment shall be a separate requirement and obligation payable to a tenant in addition to the refund of any security deposit pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1950.5 or the payment of interest accrued on said security deposit pursuant to Chapter 8.42 SCCC.

(2)    For mobilehome owners renting a space and residing in the affected mobilehome, the park owner shall do one of the following:

(a)    Pay the cost of all expenses required to relocate the affected mobilehome to another comparable mobilehome space within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County in a park that is willing to offer a comparable lease to the mobilehome owner as evidenced by a written binding agreement. The park owner shall also pay the mobilehome owner the difference, if any, between the space rental paid at the park owner’s park and the rent charged at the mobilehome owner’s new park for a period of three months; or

(b)    Pay the cost of all expenses to remove and transport the mobilehome to a storage site, and pay all storage fees for a period of three months. In addition, the park owner shall pay for comparable, safe and legal temporary housing for a period of three months after the mobilehome owner vacates the mobilehome, unless the park owner alternatively provides safe and legal housing that is equivalent in size, number of bedrooms and location within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County for three months after the mobilehome owner vacates, as evidenced by a written agreement binding the park owner to provide such specified replacement housing, tendered to the mobilehome owner for acceptance. A relocation payment shall be a separate requirement and obligation payable to a tenant in addition to the refund of any security deposit pursuant to California Civil Code Section 798.39; or

(c)    If it is not necessary to remove the affected mobilehome, but the persons dwelling in the mobilehome must be relocated, the park owner shall pay for comparable, safe and legal temporary housing for a period of three months after the mobilehome owner vacates the mobilehome, unless the park owner alternatively provides safe and legal housing that is equivalent in size, number of bedrooms and location within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County for three months after the mobilehome owner vacates, as evidenced by a written agreement binding the property owner to provide such specified replacement housing, tendered to the mobilehome owner for acceptance. A relocation payment shall be a separate requirement and obligation payable to a tenant in addition to the refund of any security deposit pursuant to California Civil Code Section 798.39.

(3)    For Mobilehome Owners Renting a Space, But Not Residing in the Affected Mobilehome. The payment of all relocation expenses required to remove and transport the mobilehome to another comparable mobilehome space within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County in a park that is willing to offer a comparable lease to the mobilehome owner as evidenced by a written binding agreement, or to remove and transport the mobilehome to a storage site. If the mobilehome is moved to a storage site, the park owner shall pay all storage fees for a period of three months.

In addition to the relocation assistance provided a nonresident mobilehome owner, the park owner shall also provide relocation assistance to any tenant residing in the mobilehome. The park owner shall pay for comparable, safe and legal temporary housing for a period of three months after the mobilehome tenant vacates the mobilehome, unless the park owner alternatively provides safe and legal housing that is equivalent in size, number of bedrooms and location within the same or an adjoining planning area of the County for three months after the mobilehome tenant vacates, as evidenced by a written agreement binding the property owner to provide such specified replacement housing, tendered to the mobilehome tenant for acceptance.

A relocation payment shall be a separate requirement and obligation payable to a tenant in addition to the refund of any security deposit pursuant to California Civil Code Section 798.39.

(C)    Right of First Refusal. Any tenant evicted or required to vacate any dwelling or mobilehome space pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be given the right of first refusal to reoccupy a dwelling or mobilehome space on the site once said structure becomes habitable, or once housing is redeveloped on the site.

(1)    The owner of said dwelling or mobilehome park shall, at the time the tenant vacates, personally provide written notice advising the tenant of the right of first refusal. Said notice shall include a current address and telephone number which can be used by the tenant to contact the owner.

(2)    It shall be the tenant’s responsibility to provide the owner of said dwelling or mobilehome park with contact information consisting of the tenant’s current address and/or telephone number to be used for future notification, and to provide updated contact information to the owner upon change of said information.

(3)    Thereafter, when said dwelling or mobilehome space, or a redeveloped dwelling on the same site, becomes habitable, the property owner shall give written notice to the tenant advising said tenant that the dwelling or mobilehome space is ready for occupancy. Said written notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(4)    If the property owner cannot locate a previous tenant after two attempts over a period of two weeks made by certified mail, return receipt requested, or if the tenant has not responded within one week after receiving the notice provided by the property owner, the property owner shall be deemed to have complied with the first right of refusal provision of this chapter, and the tenant’s right of first refusal shall thereafter be forfeited. [Ord. 4590 § 2, 2000; Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.040 Exceptions.

(A)    Any tenant evicted or required to vacate as a result of unsafe or hazardous living conditions or illegal use, as defined in SCCC 8.45.030(A), who is then in default of rent, or who refuses to vacate or who has caused or substantially contributed to condition(s) giving rise to the abatement, shall not be entitled to receive relocation assistance from the property owner. The knowledge of a tenant of the illegal nature of a dwelling or mobilehome space offered for rent by a landlord for residential use shall not by itself disqualify a tenant from eligibility for the relocation assistance provided by this chapter. A tenant lawfully withholding rent pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1942 or pursuant to other statutory or common law to repair conditions rendering the rented dwelling untenantable shall not be considered to be in default of rent, and shall be eligible for the relocation assistance provided by this chapter.

(B)    Property owners are not required to provide relocation assistance to any tenant evicted or required to vacate a dwelling or mobilehome space that becomes unsafe or hazardous due to fire, flood, earthquake, or other event that is beyond the control of the property owner; provided, that such event causes the tenant to be evicted or requires the tenant to vacate the dwelling or mobilehome space within 30 days after such event; and provided that pre-existing violations of building or fire codes by the property owner were not a major factor contributing to the event or contributing to the level of damage which requires the tenant to vacate the dwelling or mobilehome space.

(C)    Property owners are not required to provide relocation assistance to a tenant who is being evicted for reasons which are independent of, and which occur prior to, any actions taken by government enforcement agencies to abate either unsafe or hazardous conditions or an illegal use of the structure or mobilehome space.

(D)    Whenever the County posts a notice to vacate, the County rather than the property owner shall be responsible for giving notice to the tenant of the right to relocation assistance. [Ord. 4590 § 3, 2000; Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.050 Rent increases during repairs.

It is unlawful for a property owner to increase the amount of rent for any dwelling or mobilehome space rented for residential purposes during the time that repairs are being made pursuant to any order requiring said repairs. [Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.060 Enforcement by tenant or tenant’s association.

(A)    The tenant or a tenant association or organization of which the tenant is a member may file a civil action to enforce the relocation assistance provisions of this chapter.

(B)    In cases where: (1) a tenant is evicted or required to vacate as a result of unsafe or hazardous living conditions, (2) the owner of a dwelling or mobilehome park fails or refuses to pay relocation assistance pursuant to this chapter, and (3) the tenant or a tenant association or organization of which the tenant is a member is required to file a civil legal action to enforce the payment of relocation assistance, the owner of the dwelling or mobilehome park shall be liable for treble the amount of the relocation assistance otherwise provided by this chapter if the court finds that the owner did not have a bona fide legal basis for disputing the obligation to pay relocation assistance. [Ord. 4590 § 3, 2000; Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].

8.45.070 Enforcement by tenant or tenant’s association.

Repealed by Ord. 4590. [Ord. 4517 § 1, 1998; Ord. 4178 § 1, 1992].