Q: I own a property in the City of San Diego and I do not want to rent to Section 8 tenants or tenants with rental assistance. Is it legal for me to refuse to rent to tenants that receive rental assistance?

A: It depends on the location of the rental unit.  Effective August 1, 2019, landlords with properties in the City of San Diego cannot refuse to rent to a prospective tenant or terminate a tenancy based only on the tenant’s source of income, including rental assistance from programs like Section 8 (see San Diego Municipal Code §98.0803 for full list of prohibited adverse actions). A landlord in the City of San Diego will be required to consider all Section 8 payments or any other assistance program payments as part of the prospective tenant’s annual income. Landlords will still be able to screen applicants according to lawful screening practices. After August 1, 2019, if you violate this law, a tenant may file a lawsuit against you within one year of the discovery of the alleged violation. Additionally, if the court finds that there was a violation prior to the tenancy or during the tenancy, the court can award up to three times the monthly rent that was advertised as well as punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs.  Please note, this only applies to rental properties in the City of San Diego or cities that have enacted similar ordinances.

Q: Can I advertise that I will not accept Section 8 applicants for my unit?

A: It depends on the location of the rental unit.  Effective August 1, 2019, landlords with properties in the City of San Diego are prohibited from marketing or advertising a rental-unit indicating that they will decline a tenant based on their source of income. After August 1, 2019, if you violate this law, a tenant may file a lawsuit against you within one year of the discovery of the alleged violation. If the court finds that there was a violation prior to the tenancy or during the tenancy, the court can award up to three times the monthly rent that was advertised or in place as well as punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs.  *This only applies to rental properties in the City of San Diego or cities that have enacted similar ordinances.

Q: I am a landlord that owns residential rental properties in Poway, San Ysidro, and La Jolla. All of the tenants living in these unit have been living in the properties for more than 2 years and are on month- to-month agreements. What type of termination notice do I need to give my tenants?

A: Tenants that live in a property for over a year are entitled to at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of their tenancy.  In certain jurisdictions, tenants that have lived in a property for more than two years are also entitled to know the cause, or reason, that they are being terminated.  For example, the City of San Diego’s Tenant’s Right to Know Ordinance only allows a landlord to terminate a tenant that has lived in the property for more than two years for specific reasons set out by the ordinance.  For a full list of the causes, please see San Diego Municipal Code Section §98.0730.  Many communities in the City of San Diego are commonly mistaken as separate cities. You should always check with the City of San Diego website and/or an attorney to see if your property falls within the City of San Diego. Failure to list a proper cause on a 60-day notice will cause you to lose an eviction. For example, Poway is its own City within San Diego County but San Ysidro and La Jolla are communities in the City of San Diego and will require a specific cause on a 60-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy of two or more years.

Q: I am a landlord and my tenant has not paid their rent. I served the tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit on Friday. When does my notice expire?

A: Effective September 1, 2019, the calculation of a three-day notice period for non-payment of rent has changed. Weekends and court holidays no longer count towards the notice period.  Under the new rule, if a three-day notice is served on a Friday, then the first day of the notice period is the following Monday because Saturday and Sunday do not count. Thus, the three-day notice will expire on Wednesday and you may proceed with the unlawful detainer on Thursday.

Q: I filed an unlawful detainer (eviction) against one of my tenants. My tenant was personally served with the summons and complaint on Thursday. When is my tenant’s deadline to file a response with the court?

A: Effective September 1, 2019, the calculation of a tenant’s deadline to respond has changed.  Weekends no longer count towards the response period, like court holidays.  If the tenant is served Thursday, then Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday count towards the first through fourth days, unless one of those days is a court holiday. Thus, your tenant must respond to the lawsuit by Thursday.