FAQs - Landlords

A voter-initiated City Charter Amendment, which was approved by Pasadena voters at the November 2022 General Municipal Election. Codified as City Charter Article XVIII, Section 1811 of the Charter establishes the Pasadena Rental Housing Board, its composition, duties, authority, and oversight of the Pasadena Fair and Equitable Housing Charter Amendment.

The Charter Amendment established Rent Control and Eviction Protections on certain rental units in Pasadena.

View Rent Control Overview.

View Eviction Protections.

Additional information about Measure H.

Rent Control

The new rent control laws apply to most multi-unit residential rental properties (includes apartments, duplexes, triplexes, etc) built before February 1, 1995.

Exceptions Include:

  • Residential rental units built after February 1, 1995.
  • Hospitals, medical facilities, treatment/recovery programs, educational dorms, convents, and nursing homes.
  • Condominiums and single-family homes
  • Subsidized units owned by a government agency or by a nonprofit and subsidized by tax credits.

View Rent Control Overview.

If the unit is subject to rent control, the legal rent, known as Base Rent, will be determined as follows:

  • For tenancies commencing on or before May 17, 2021: the new base rent (the starting point for rent increase calculations) is the rent in effect on that date. Before imposing any rent increase, rents must be rolled back to the rent in effect on May 17, 2021.
  • For tenancies commencing after May 17, 2021, the base rent is the initial rent paid by the tenant.

View Rent Control Overview.

If the unit is subject to rent control:

  • Landlords may only increase rents once every 12 months, with a written 30-day notice.
  • The annual rent increase effective October 1, 2023, is 2.75%.
  • New "Base Rent" Determination: For tenancies commencing on or before May 17, 2021, the new base rent is the rent in effect on that date. Prior to imposing any rent increase, rents must be rolled back to the rent in effect on May 17, 2021, or the initial rent paid by the tenant for tenancies that commenced after May 17, 2021.

View Rent Control Overview.

Any rent increase after October 1, 2023 may not exceed 2.75%, the approved Annual General Adjustment (AGA).  Any deferred or banked increases that were previously approved but never implemented cannot be combined with the AGA to justify a higher rent increase. In simpler terms, landlords cannot add any past approved increases to the annual 2.75% limit.

Coming later in 2024, a petition process will be available to request higher rent increases for specific circumstances outlined in the Charter Amendment.

Landlords must provide the General Notice to Tenants with a rent increase. This form is similar in content to the Notice to New Tenants, but it does not require a signature.

Rent Rollback refers to requiring landlords to reduce rents to previously established levels, typically due to unjustified rent increases above permitted limits.

Tenants may use the Rent Rollback Form to request from the landlord a rent rollback and refund for overpayment.

Tenants may use the Notice of Rent Withholding, to notify landlords of their intent to withhold rent overpayments due to the owner's failure to comply with the Rent Rollback requirements of the Charter Amendment.

Eviction Protections

Nearly all rental units in the city, including condos and single-family homes.  There are exceptions.

View Eviction Protections.

Tenants may only be evicted for the following just cause reasons. The landlord must include one of these reasons in writing on the notice to quit for it to be valid.

Just Cause evictions include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Owner or owner relative move-in
  • Withdrawal of the rental unit from the market
  • Breach of Lease
  • Nuisance
  • Necessary and Substantial Repairs
  • Failure to give access to the unit
  • Refusal to execute a new lease
  • And others...

View Eviction Protections.

The termination notice must include language that informs the tenant of the existence of the article under Section 1806(e) of Pasadena's Charter Amendment, by posting a notice, owners must also state the just cause for termination per Section 1806(i) in the termination notice.

The time required to give notice is typically governed by California law (Ca Civ. Code Section 1946.1) and sets the time as 60 days notice for tenancies over one year.

No-fault evictions have additional notice criteria. Please see the Notice of Intent to Terminate for No-Fault -  Landlord Information Sheet for more guidance.

Please send all termination notices to the Rent Stabilization Department at rentalboard@cityofpasadena.net. Per Section 1806(k) of the Pasadena Charter Amendment, a termination notice must be filed within 3 days of service on the tenant.

Relocation Assistance

Landlords must provide relocation assistance which includes an additional sum for moving expenses to any tenant who is displaced because of a no-fault eviction or an excessive rent increase causing the tenant to move out of the unit. Relocation assistance can be in the form of money, comparable accommodation, and/or services from a relocation specialist in locating a new place to live – all provided by the landlord.

No-Fault Evictions that qualify for relocation assistance include:

  • An eviction for necessary and substantial repairs
  • An eviction so that the owner or a qualified relative can move into the unit (owner move-in)
  • An eviction to withdraw the unit permanently from the rental market (Ellis Act)
  • An eviction based on a government order (red-tag, demolition order, etc.)
  • Inability to pay a rent increase in excess of 5% plus the most recently announced Annual General Adjustment (AGA) in any twelve-month period

View Eviction Protections

View Relocation Assistance Information

For all No-Fault Evictions:

Fifty percent (50%) of the total Relocation Assistance must be paid to the tenant household within ten

(10) days of service of the notice of termination of tenancy. The remaining balance of the Relocation Assistance must be paid no later than twenty-eight (28) days prior to the expiration of the written notice of termination of tenancy.

Please Note:

  • Landlords must file a Notice of Intent to Terminate Tenancy with the rent board at least 30 days prior to the date on which the landlord intends to serve the notice to tenants.
  • The Rent Stabilization Department currently does not have the staff necessary to forward the Notice of Intent to Terminate Tenancy and the Tenant Relocation Claim packet to Tenants. Therefore, Landlords should file a copy of the Notice of Intent to Terminate Tenancy with the Rent Stabilization Department via email at rentalboard@cityofpasadena.net and send a copy of Notice of Intent to Terminate Tenancy along with a blank copy of the Tenant Relocation Claim packet to each of their affected Tenants at the same time.

For tenants who move due to an inability to Pay Rent Increase

Fifty percent (50%) of the total Relocation Assistance must be paid to the tenant household within ten (10) days of notification by the Board of the total amount of Relocation Assistance due. The remaining balance must be paid to the tenant household upon leaving the Rental Unit.

Please Note:

  • Tenant must send Notice of Inability to Pay Rent Increase to Landlord within 30 days of receiving rent increase notice.
  • Tenant must ALSO send a copy of Notice of Inability to Pay Rent Increase to Rent Stabilization Department within 5 days of sending to the property owner.
  • The Rent Stabilization Department will assist the property owner and tenant in calculating relocation assistance payment amounts due.
  • Tenants have 90 days to move after the rent increase becomes effective. Failure to move may result in a forfeit of any unpaid relocation assistance and the tenant will be required to repay the property owner for any relocation assistance received.

View Relocation Assistance Information.

For tenants displaced due to specific no-fault evictions, tenants may receive from landlords Base Relocation Payment based on length of tenancy and the size of the unit PLUS Moving Expense Allowance PLUS Additional Payment for Special Circumstances Households.

Tenants are also entitled to a full security deposit refund in addition to any relocation payments received.

View the payment schedules and other Relocation Assistance Information

Government Subsidized Housing  

No. As with the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, there is no applicable federal or state law or administrative regulation that specifically exempts Rental Units subsidized with Section 8 Project-based Vouchers from municipal rent control.

View additional guidance on Section 8

It depends. If there is an applicable federal or state law or administrative regulation that specifically exempts Rental Units covered by those programs from municipal rent control, then those units will be exempt pursuant to the Charter Amendment.

A rent increase for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenancy that is covered by rent stabilization should be calculated by applying the effective Annual General Adjustment (AGA) to the entire Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract rent, not just the tenant’s share of the rent.

Further, pursuant to the Charter Amendment, the rent for these tenancies may not be increased more than once in any twelve-month period.

A landlord that seeks to increase their Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenant’s rent pursuant to the provisions Charter Amendment must still submit the proposed rent increase to the Pasadena Department of Housing for approval.

Yes.  Once the Pasadena Rental Housing Board has established the petition process, a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher recipient may file a petition for downward adjustment of rent due to the landlord’s failure to maintain habitable premises, a reduction in maintenance or housing services, and/or unlawful rent.

General Questions

No.  Per Section 1806(f), a property owner cannot increase the security deposit as a condition for a tenant as a condition of continued tenancy.

Per Sections 1806(e) and 1807(c) of the Pasadena Fair and Equitable Housing Charter Amendment, the Notice to New Tenants must be provided to existing tenants at the time of the enactment of the Pasadena Fair and Equitable Housing Charter Amendment AND any new tenancies that began after its enactment. The Department also provides a Spanish version of the Notice, which can be found here.

Per Sections 1806(e), every property containing rental units subject to the Pasadena Fair & Equitable Charter Amendment shall post a notice on a form prepared and authorized by the Rental Board, providing information about the existence of the Charter Amendment.  Notice must be posted in a conspicuous location in the lobby of the Property, near a mailbox used by all Tenants, or in or near a public entrance to the Property.

Download the General Notice to tenants for posting in English and Spanish.

At this time, anyone who wants to confirm if a termination notice has been filed may email rentalboard@cityofpasadena.net. Staff will confirm whether a termination notice was received. However, staff cannot comment on the validity of termination notices filed with the Rental Housing Board.

There is no change to the terms of your tenancy. The new property owner steps into the shoes of the old property owner as a successor, per Section 1803(m).  Furthermore, the sale of property or change in ownership does not constitute a just cause for eviction in Pasadena.

An owner may approach the tenant to discuss a tenant buyout where the tenant will agree to move in exchange for an agreed amount.

Review the information sheet on  Tenant Buyout for more information.

Per State law, if at the end of a fixed-term lease, the landlord continues to accept rent payments from the tenant(s), it is presumed that the lease is renewed with the same terms of the original lease, and the tenants would then have what’s known as a “month-to-month” lease (Cal. Civ. Code § 1945). The owner may present the tenant(s) with a new lease agreement with the same material terms prior to the expiration of their original/current lease. If the current lease has not expired and the new lease has the same material terms, the owner may terminate a tenancy if the tenant(s) fail or refuse to sign a lease renewal (Section 1806(5)).

The Rent Stabilization Department funds its operations and services to tenants and landlords through an annual fee levied on each rental unit subject to the Pasadena Fair & Equitable Housing Charter Amendment.  Nearly all residential rental units in the City of Pasadena are subject to the Charter Amendment, including condos and single family homes.  Landlords are responsible for paying this fee annually for each rental unit and the charges cannot be passed along to the tenant.

The fee adopted for the Fiscal Year 2024 (June 30, 2023 through June 30, 2024):

  • $91.85 per Rental Unit
Special Note:   Collection of the Rental Housing Fee is delayed.  The fee collection will begin once the Rental Registry database has been launched. Read more about the Rental Registry.

Do you need to pay the Rental Fee prior to the launch of the Rental Registry database launch?  Contact the Rent Stabilization Department for support.