Can Rent Control Laws Prevent a Partition Eviction? (Civ. Code § 1632)

A house facadeNo, rent control laws cannot prevent a partition eviction. However, the answer is a bit more complicated than one might think. There are very specific rules and regulations in California that regulate both rent control laws and partition action evictions. Read on to learn more.

What is Rent Control?

While the benefits of rent control vary state-to-state, the regulations of each state’s rent control laws and regulations seek to restrict how much a landlord can raise prices on rent, restrict eviction against long-term tenants, and protect the tenant from rising costs associated with renting the landlord’s property.

Most importantly, rent control also sets guidelines and restrictions on unjust evictions. The purpose of rent control’s restrictions on evictions is to prevent landlords from evicting tenants with the purpose of re-renting the unit at a higher market rate or making more profit from a rental unit after they have evicted a long-term tenant with rent control.

What is a Partition Eviction?

A partition eviction is a court-ordered eviction process in California that seeks to solve co-ownership disputes. Sometimes co-owners of real estate have disagreements over whether or not to sell their property, and this court-ordered action forces the sale of the property with the goal of doing it as equitable and equal as possible for all parties, regardless of their percentage of ownership. Another situation where a partition action could arise is if the co-owners can not agree on a price to sell their property for, and a partition action could help eliminate this dispute because it would pay out each party as fairly as possible.

A partition action is discussed in the regulations under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 872.210, which states that a partition action is a legal process that occurs when a California real estate needs to be divided equitably among its co-owners.

As the right for a partition action is “absolute” under the California Real Estate Code, nothing in the California or Sacramento CA rent control regulations or other laws would be able to prevent a partition eviction.

This means that an eviction via a court-ordered partition action is going to succeed against any current tenant’s claims or defenses.

Who is protected by “Rent Control” in California?

Interestingly, in a partition action, a key question is “who” is subject to eviction. For example, a partition action could include the eviction of either a co-owner of the property or a third person who is not an owner of the Property. Whether the person subject to eviction is also an owner will have a substantial effect on the eviction process.

Specifically, Civil Code section 1632 includes definitions for both an “owner” and “tenancy” indicating that those terms are mutually exclusive. Indeed, the definition of “tenancy” refers to a lease or sub-lease, indicating that the “Rent Control” laws likely do not apply to a person who occupies the property without them, which is the case with one who is an owner.

Indeed, in such a case, a co-owner of the property would have to try to make the awkward argument that they are simultaneously both the “landlord” and the “tenant.” That argument is unlikely to be persuasive.

In the event that the parties leased the Property to a third-non-owner individual, then the additional analysis would likely be necessary.

Rent Control Laws in California

Rent control in California is governed by AB 1482, which is called the “Tenant Protection Act of 2019,” which offers a maximum rent increase percentage, eviction protections, and landlord/tenant hearing petitions. This program enacted by the State of California has the goal of assisting residential tenants with increasing rental rates by establishing limits on annual rent increases. In addition, it assists longer-term tenants with protection from unwarranted lease termination and provides protection from unjust evictions.

Rent control essentially limits what a landlord can do with their property both financially and physically.

As for California’s rent control regulations as it relates to the partition process, the most relevant component of the “Tenant Protection Program” is eviction protection.

So can Rent control laws prevent a partition eviction?

Under the Tenant Protection Act, there are several eviction protection regulations. These include that the landlord must offer to renew if the tenant has resided for longer than one year and that evictions are prohibited without a “just cause” reason once the tenant has resided in the rental unit longer than one year or twelve months and a day.

There are several examples of “just” causes, such as:

  • failure to pay rent,
  • owner wishes to move in,
  • criminal activity, such as committing criminal acts on the rental property,
  • breach of the lease agreement, such as having an unauthorized pet,
  • withdrawal of unit(s) from the rental market, OR
  • “An order issued by a government agency or court to vacate the residential real property.”

The “just cause” of “an order issued by a government agency or court to vacate the residential real property” is going to be the exemption of the eviction protections when discussing court-ordered petition actions which force the unit to go up for sale on the real estate market, thus removing the unit from the rental market.

It also is important to remember that when a partition action is court-ordered for a property, the right to the partition action is absolute. Absolute in this context means that the right to a partition action is going to occur by any co-owner, regardless of the other’s interests.

How can the attorneys at Underwood Law Firm, P.C. help you with California Real Estate Partition and Eviction Actions?

In a court-ordered petition action and evicting tenants, it is vital to hire a knowledgeable and experienced real estate attorney. Both petition actions and petition evictions, while dealing with the numerous rent control and eviction regulations, can be very cumbersome, bureaucratic, and time-consuming. It is best to hire a credible attorney to assist you in your real estate action, like the ones at Underwood Law Firm, P.C., to ensure you are set up for success in your real estate case.

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