Community Development



WHAT IS A SUBSTANTIAL REMODEL?

"Substantially remodel" means the replacement or substantial modification of any structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system that requires a permit from a governmental agency, or the abatement of hazardous materials, including lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, that cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place and that requires the tenant to vacate the residential real property for at least 30 days. Cosmetic improvements alone, including painting, decorating, and minor repairs, or other work that can be performed safely without having the residential real property vacated, do not qualify as substantial rehabilitation.

INFORMATION FOR PROPERTY OWNERS

The Just Cause for Termination of Tenancies Ordinance (LBMC Chapter 8.99) establishes the provisions for the termination of tenancies in the City. For termination of tenancies due to substantial remodel or demolition, the process is as follows: 

  1. When you (the property owner or authorized owner representative) apply for permits, indicate that the construction work will involve displacing a tenant. You will either be prompted to fill out a Notice to the City Regarding Tenant Displacement form, or you may fill it out in advance and bring it with you to your appointment.

  2. After obtaining the approved permits, you may draft a Notice to Terminate Tenancy for the tenant(s). The notice should include:

    a. A copy of the issued permits
    b. The scope of the substantial remodeling work.
    c. An explanation as to why the work cannot be reasonably accomplished in a safe manner with the tenant in place.
    d. An explanation as to why the work requires the tenant to vacate for at least 30 days.
    e. A Notice of Tenant’s Right to Relocation Assistance

    It is in your best interest to provide as much detail as possible in the description of the remodeling work. You are encouraged to provide a project plan or timeline from your contractor. 

  3. Before these documents are delivered to the tenant(s), copies should be sent to tenantlandlordinfo@longbeach.gov or can be mailed to:

    Community Development: Housing and Neighborhood Services Bureau
    411 West Ocean Blvd, 3rd Floor
    Long Beach, CA 90802.

    If the tenant has been living in the unit for 12 months or more, the property owner must give them a 60-day notice and is required to either waive the last two months’ rent or provide $4,500 of relocation assistance, whichever is greater. Certain properties are exempt from this ordinance, including (but not limited to) those that have been issued a certificate of occupancy within the last 15 years, condominiums, and owner-occupied duplexes. Exemptions are listed in subdivision (f) of the ordinance. 

    Though the City does not issue an “approval” or “authorization” to move forward, the City may, at any point, issue a non-binding opinion that the scope of work does not meet the definition of “substantial remodel.”

INFORMATION FOR TENANTS

The City does not provide legal assistance and does not mediate in tenant and landlord disputes. Any owner of residential real property who intentionally violates LBMC Chapter 8.99 when issuing an invalid termination notice pursuant to subparagraph 2(D) of subdivision (b), shall be liable in a civil action to the tenant for a civil penalty in an amount of $15,000, and/or reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, each as determined by the court. A tenant may enforce the provisions of subdivision (i) by means of civil action.

Resources available to tenants who believe they are being wrongfully displaced can be found at longbeach.gov/lbtenants. These resources include organizations that provide free eviction defense services to lower-income renters as well as mediation services.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

On March 10, 2020, the City Council adopted a Just Cause for Termination of Tenancies Ordinance (LBMC Chapter 8.99), which was modeled after California Civil Code Section 1946.2 (AB 1482 – the State Tenant Protection Act). The ordinance includes substantial remodel as an allowed no-fault just cause for termination of tenancy.

Local tenant rights activists believe the ordinance creates an unintended opportunity to displace tenants due to remodeling work or rehabilitation activities when the displacement may not be necessary. The activists have voiced their concerns to the City Council, contending that the city’s lower-income residents are most affected by the perceived displacement flaw in the ordinance.

On July 13, 2021, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance that establishes a temporary prohibition on substantial remodel lease termination notices and evictions. The prohibition will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2021. The City Council also directed staff to explore the feasibility and costs associated with establishing a Renovation Administration Program and to meet with tenant and property owner stakeholders to discuss such a program and alternative options to address substantial remodel displacement.

The rental and household characteristics of Long Beach are varied. Here is an overview:

  • About 172,000 housing units
  • About 105,000 rental units
  • 43% of all households are cost-burdened (renters & owners)
  • 61% of all households are renters
  • 80% of very low-income renters are cost-burdened
  • 61% of households rent their homes
  • 12% of households are overcrowded
  • 82%of housing units are more than 40 years old, and 71% are more than 50 years old
  • Only 8% of housing units are under 30 years of age
  • Noting that significant building maintenance is typically needed at year 30 and major maintenance is needed by year 50.

Survey Feedback

We have heard from you! Thank you to those who were able to respond to our Long Beach Substantial Remodel Survey to help the City gain an understanding of the biggest challenges residents and property owners experience regarding housing and the Just Cause for Termination of Tenancies Ordinance. Your ideas and participation are important to help plan for housing in Long Beach and address potential tenant displacement caused by substantial remodels.

Previous Meeting Notes & Presentations

Additional Comments

Housing and Neighborhood Services staff presented recommendations based on feedback provided during stakeholder engagement activities at the Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, Long Beach City Council meeting. View the staff report.

QUESTIONS?

For information or inquiries about Substantial Remodel Tenant Displacement or the Just Cause for Termination of Tenancies Ordinance in general, please email tenantlandlordinfo@longbeach.gov.