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How does California law protect against unfair rent?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | Landlord/Tenant Concerns |

Credit Karma reported the average increase in rent for a one-bedroom rental in the U.S. in 2022 was 24.2%. However, rent increase limits help protect renters in California.

The state has specific regulations to safeguard tenants from exorbitant rent hikes, ensuring that housing remains affordable and accessible. Understanding these limits is essential for both tenants and landlords, as they play a significant role in maintaining a fair and stable rental market.

Increase limits

For most residential properties, landlords can increase the rent once every 12 months. The increase has a limit of either 5% of the current rent plus the local rate of inflation or 10% of the current rent, whichever is lower. This means that landlords cannot impose arbitrary and excessive rent hikes on tenants without valid justification. These limitations help ensure that rental prices remain reasonable and that landlords do not subject renters to sudden, unmanageable increases.

Local ordinances

Local rent control ordinances further restrict rent increases in certain cities and counties across California. These ordinances impose additional limitations on how much landlords can raise the rent. Local rent control rules can vary, and tenants and landlords need to familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their area.


It is important to note that not all rental properties are subject to local rent control ordinances, and some housing units are exempt. For example, local rent control rules may often not cover many single-family homes and condominiums.


Tenants in California must receive proper notice of any rent increase. In most cases, landlords must provide a 30-day written notice if the rent increase is less than 10% of the current rent. If the increase is 10% or more, they must give a 90-day written notice. This advance notice allows tenants to plan for any changes in their housing costs and make informed decisions.

Overall, understanding California’s rent increase limits is important for renters and landlords alike. These regulations aim to strike a balance between the rights of property owners and the need to protect tenants from unjustified and dramatic rent hikes.