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Tenant Protection Ordinance

Ordinance Overview

The Tenant Protection Ordinance outlines landlord responsibilities and tenant rights regarding notices to terminate.  Under the Tenant Protection Ordinance, landlords of multifamily dwellings, guesthouses and unpermitted units will only be authorized to terminate tenancy under one of the 13 listed causes below (also view this flyer in Spanish and Vietnamese). Landlords must submit notices to vacate to the Rent Stabilization Program; submit a Notice to Terminate Tenancy with Just Cause using our simple online form.


Just Cause Reasons on Tenant Actions

1. Nonpayment of rent

2. Material or habitual violation of the lease

3. Damage to the apartment

4. Refusal to agree to a similar or new rental agreement

5. Disorderly behavior/disturbing the peace

6. Refuse access to the apartment when requested in accordance with law

7. Unapproved holdover subtenant

8. Criminal activity

Just Cause Reasons Based on Landlord Decision or Consequence of Action

9. Substantial rehabilitation of the apartment

10. Removal of apartments from the rental market under the Ellis Act

11. Owner move-in

12. City code enforcement actions requiring a moveout

13. Convert an unpermitted apartment for permitted use


Relocation benefits must be paid when a tenant is being removed from an apartment for reasons 9-13. Benefits are paid based on the size of the unit occupied by the tenant who receives a notice of termination:

 Studio 1-Bedroom 2-Bedroom 3-Bedroom
 $6,925 $8,400 $10,353  $12,414


The following documents are available for the Tenant Protection Ordinance:



Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities

Landlord Responsibilities:
  • If giving a notice of termination, serve a written copy to the tenant with the proper amount of notice according to State law. Ensure that the applicable 13 just causes are included on the notice.
  • Provide a copy to the City within 3 days of service to the tenant. You can submit a copy of the notice online.
  • Provide relocation benefits at the time of service to the tenant, if applicable.

Tenant Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that if you receive a notice of termination, that it is in writing and with the proper amount of notice according to State law.
  • Ensure that the notice has at least one of the 13 just causes listed as the reason for the notice being served.
  • Contact the Rent Stabilization Program to ensure that the landlord submitted the notice to the City correctly. If not, contact the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley's Eviction Assistance Clinic at 408-280-2424.


Council Actions

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, the City Council took action to amend the Ellis Act Ordinance, Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), and Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO). Over the past several months, we have worked with community and stakeholders to develop recommendations for these challenging issues. The following list the results from the City Council meeting regarding the Tenant Protection Ordinance:

  • Prohibit landlords from disclosing or threatening to disclose tenants' immigration or citizenship status to authorities for the intent of retaliation consistent with AB 291;
  • Include "criminal activity" as a separate just cause basis for eviction when a tenant is "held to answer" for a serious or violent felony committed during tenancy and within a 1,000 ft. of the premises;
  • Include an "opportunity to cure" that would require that landlords to provide tenant households a written notice to remove the tenant who was held to answer from the apartment or from the lease agreement;
  • Return with a proposed ordinance after analysis to require landlords to post in the common areas a notice stating that it is illegal for a landlord to disclose immigration status of a tenant;
  • Return with proposed ordinance after analysis to require landlords to allow a right to repossession of the unit where an acquittal or dismissal of the tenant's felony charges;
  • Return with proposed ordinance after analysis to allow victims of domestic violence who have been residing in a unit with the leaseholder who is the alleged abuser a mechanism to take over the lease; and
  • Return with proposed ordinance after analysis to extend TPO to duplexes requiring a just cause for termination of tenancy.


On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, the City Council took action on the following agenda items summarized below:


Amendment to the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO):  

  • Include dependent child; foster child; minor in the tenant's care; spouse or domestic partner; or parent of a tenant under exempted categories of additional family members allowed under TPO's Just Cause reason for material or habitual rental agreement violation; and
  • Reduce the maximum occupancy limit for adults to the number allowed by the rental agreement or two adults per bedroom, whichever is greater. 

The second reading of the Tenant Protection Ordinance and Apartment Rent Ordinance took place Tuesday, November 28, 2017, and Council approved the changes above so the ordinances will go into effect on December 28, 2017. In the weeks following, staff will begin implementing a plan to reach out to constituents with informational materials and opportunities for additional assistance and education.

In 2018, the City Council will consider criminal activity and immigration status as it applies to the Tenant Protection Ordinance in addition to updating the regulations.