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Housing, other law changes coming to California in 2024 

Each year, the California Legislature enacts bills that result in changes to public programs, policies, and issues like housing. Such changes can have incredibly large impacts, and a few of those bills go into effect in 2024. 

Our legal staff compiled a list of the most meaningful changes in our areas of practice, including some changes that went into effect in recent years. Some of the changes affect renters, seniors, and those with criminal records. Be sure to know your rights once these bills go into effect.

Just Cause Evictions, effective April 1, 2024 (CA Civil Code 1946.2, SB567): 

Current law allows a landlord to use the following “no-fault” just cause reasons for terminating a tenancy:  owner moving back into the property, or owner’s spouse, domestic partner, children, grandparents, parent or grandchildren moving into the property; withdrawal of the property from the rental market; compliance with a government order or code; intent to demolish or substantial remodel the property.   There was no requirement the landlord prove any of these events happened. 

The April 1st change will require landlords to provide documentation to support their just cause reasons to confirm the owner or relative moved into the property, the property was withdrawn from the rental market, a government code or order forced the eviction, or the property is being demolished or substantially remodeled.   

Security Deposits, effective July 1, 2024 (CA Civil Code Section 1950.5, AB12)

Current law allows landlords to charge tenants a “security deposit” in order to move into a rental unit. Landlords are permitted to charge an amount equal to two months of rent for an unfurnished unit, and an amount equal to three months of rent for a furnished unit. Landlords can also charge the first month’s rent, which means that total move-in costs may be as much as three months’ worth of rent.

Effective July 1, 2024, landlords can only charge a security deposit equal to the value of one month’s rent, whether the unit is furnished or not.   But landlords can charge up to the value of two months’ rent, plus the first month’s rent if the owner is a natural person or limited liability company consisting only of natural persons and they own no more than two rental dwellings that contain no more than a total of 4 units. 

Landlords cannot charge more than the value equal to one month’s rent, plus first month’s rent to service members regardless of the status of the owner of the rental property. 

Medi-Cal Expansion, effective January 1, 2024:

Beginning January 1, 2024, a new law in California will allow adults ages 26 through 49 to qualify for full-scope Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. All other Medi-Cal eligibility rules, including income limits, will still apply.  

This initiative, called the Ages 26 through 49 Adult Expansion, is modeled after the Young Adult Expansion, which provided full scope Medi-Cal to young adults 19 through 25, and the Older Adult Expansion, which provided full scope Medi-Cal to adults 50 years of age or older. 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services do NOT consider receipt of health, food, and housing benefits as part of the public charge determination. Therefore, using Medi-Cal benefits (except for residential nursing home or mental health institution care) will not hurt an individual’s immigration status. 

Expanding the jurisdiction of California’s small claims courts, effective January 1, 2024 (SB 71): 

New limits will be implemented on the dollar amounts of small claims ($12,500 for actions by individuals) and limited civil ($35,000).  

Overall, SB 71 primarily focuses on expanding the jurisdiction of California’s small claims courts, allowing them to handle cases with higher monetary limits and clarifying the conditions for limited civil cases. It also includes provisions related to various types of cases and situations to ensure that the jurisdictional limits are applied appropriately. 

Expungement (SB 731, effective July 1, 2023, and AB 1076, effective Jan. 1, 2021):

California has taken the lead in creating reformative laws to assist those with criminal records.  SB 731 and AB 1076 are two landmark pieces of legislation that aim to break barriers and promote a fresh start.  The Time Done Bill, or SB 731, allows individuals convicted of non-violent, non-serious felonies to receive or apply for automatic dismissal after serving their sentence and waiting a specified period.  Moreover, SB 731 expands relief for all felonies except PC 290 under AB 134.  AB 134 also eliminates the filing fee for dismissal petitions.  As part of the Clean Slate Act, AB 1076 requires the Department of Justice to automatically dismiss eligible criminal convictions and arrests on a monthly basis.  

In sum, these bills aim to create a more equitable criminal justice system and provide a second chance for individuals with criminal records. They provide an opportunity for individuals to move on with their lives and find employment, education, and other essential services. Since the enactment of AB 1076, 11 million Californians have had their convictions dismissed or arrest records sealed.  Moreover, these bills can help to reduce recidivism rates, allowing individuals to reintegrate into society more successfully.