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 Multifamily News
Continued from page 24
The rule follows along with HUD’s interpretation of the CARES Act notice to vacate requirement and their public statements which signaled their intention to make this a permanent requirement in federally assisted housing under their purview. While aspects of HUD’s Interim Rule are still being interpreted, the following are some of the key provisions:
• The Interim Rule will go into effect on November 8, 2021.
• In cases of nonpayment of rent, the Interim Rule gives the HUD secretary the discretion to require participating housing providers in HUD programs to provide adequate notice to secure Federal funding that is available due to a Presidential declaration of a national emergency. That notice must be at least 30 days.
• The authority extends to future national emergencies and is not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Seattle ‘Skirts’ State Law and Passes Rent Regulations and Tenant Protections
The Seattle City Council has done an “end-around” Washington state’s constitutional prohibition on local rent control regulations. Washington state law preempts local governments from enacting laws “which regulate the amount of rent to be charged” and instead reserves that power under the state government. During September, the City Council passed two ordinances that require the City’s rental housing providers to provide substantial prior notice to their tenants of any rent increases, and to pay for relocation expenses for low-income renters who move in response to larger rent increases.
Under prior city ordinance and state law, landlords have been required to provide their tenants 60 days’ prior notice of any rent increase. One of the two ordinances passed by the City Council increases that notification period to 180 days, which by far is the longest rent increase notification period in the U.S. Further, if a low-income renter decides to move in response to a rent increase of 10 percent or more, housing providers will be obligated to provide a renter with “economic dislocation relocation assistance” equal to three months’ rent under the other ordinance passed by the City Council.
Rental housing providers in Portland, Oregon, sued the City over a similar policy requiring owners to pay relocation expenses to tenants who move in response to a 10 percent or more rent increase arguing that the ordinance was clearly intended to deter owners from raising rents beyond a certain level and, accordingly, should be banned by Oregon’s preemption of local rent control laws. However, that legal challenge was rejected at the county and appellate court levels and is now pending before the Oregon Supreme Court.
Domestic Violence: A Tenant’s New Defense to a Nuisance Eviction
According to a Los Angeles Superior Court Appellate Judge, a tenant can assert as a defense to being evicted for causing a nuisance on rented property when non-domestic violence grounds are also asserted in the unlawful detainer action. (Elmassian vs. Flores; Los Angeles Superior Court - filed August 23, 2021.) In other words, the Appellate Court found that a tenant can assert the defense to being evicted based upon domestic violence causing a nuisance on rented property even if non-domestic violence grounds are also asserted in the unlawful detainer action – even if the non-domestic violence grounds are non-payment or destruction of property.
In order to support the defense, the Court ruled that the documentation needed to support the defense can consist of a report prepared by the police narrating a domestic violence incident based solely on a tenant’s statement which does not need to name the perpetrator of the domestic violence, does not need to indicate the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, and only documents one of multiple instances of domestic violence relied on by the landlord to evict the tenant.
Proposed, New Split-Roll Property Tax Ballot Initative Could Adversely
Impact Multifamily Properties
Proponents of a new, split-roll property tax ballot initiative have submitted their proposal to the California Attorney General’s

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