The year 2020 could bring a happy – or at least happier – new year for California renters, with new tenant protections going into effect.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 1, new laws limiting the ability of landlords to increase rent or evict certain tenants go become effective, as well as laws forbidding landlords to discriminate against renters using public housing vouchers.

Assembly Bill 1482, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October along with 24 other housing bills, imposes a statewide rent cap on apartments that are at least 15 years old. Rent increases are capped at 5 percent plus inflation, a provision set to sunset in 2030.

The new law also protects long-time tenants who are evicted without just cause. Tenants who have occupied a rental unit for at least 12 months must be compensated with relocation payments or waivers equal to a month’s rent if evicted without just cause.

Under “just cause,” a tenant can only be evicted for specific reasons, for example, not paying the rent or violating the lease. The new law applies to longtime tenants evicted without just cause.

Also going into effect Wednesday is Senate Bill 329, which prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters who use Section 8 or other government subsidies to pay all or part of their rent.

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