Proposed Tenant Rights bill by Heystek

The following is a proposal from Davis City Council candidate Lamar Heystek on the floor of the ASUCD Senate on Thursday, April 6, 2006. He wants anyone who has suggestions to offer them, or even add them to the bill — this is supposed to be a fluid document.

The City Council of the City of Davis hereby ordains the following:

BASIC RIGHTS. The City of Davis shall protect and defend the rights of renters as provided by local, state and federal law. These rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The right to be treated fairly and equitably when applying for, living in, and vacating a rental residence;
  • The right to be given notice prior to any entrance into a rental residence by a rental property owner or manager, except in an emergency;
  • The right, upon written request to the rental property owner or manager, to a prompt response to requests for repairs;
  • The right to a written notice from the rental property owner or manager prior to any rent adjustment;

The rental property owners or his/her agent(s) shall post for tenants' public viewing or otherwise make available to all tenants paper-based copies of California Tenants - A Guide to Residential Tenants and Landlords Rights and Responsibilities.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH. The rental property owner and/or his/her agent(s) shall not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying in the window or on the door of the premises leased by the tenant in a multifamily dwelling, or from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of the premises leased by a tenant of a single-family dwelling noncommercial signs, posters, flags, or banners, unless the posting or display would violate a local, state or federal law.

CODE COMPLIANCE. Rental property owners and/or their agent(s) shall post for public viewing or otherwise make available to all tenants the Web address for accessing the City of Davis Municipal Code, information on reporting a code compliance violation, and information on initiating an investigation thereof.

The City of Davis shall, within one (1) year of adoption of this ordinance, assess existing code compliance measures and determine whether additional resources should be allocated for the purposes of code compliance.

TIMELY RETURN OF SECURITY DEPOSIT WITH INTEREST. A tenant shall be entitled to the return of any security deposit that may have been collected by the rental property owner and/or his/her agent(s), plus interest in the amount of five (5) percent per annum, and a good faith accounting of any charges against that deposit within 21 days after the rental residence has been vacated. The bad-faith retention of the security deposit may subject the rental property owner to liability, per California Civil Code 1950.5, for the amount of the improperly withheld deposit, plus up to twice the amount of the security deposit, as a bad faith penalty, in addition to any actual damages.

LEASE RENEWAL PERIOD. The rental property owner is not required to renew an existing lease at the end of the term. After furnishing the renter with the terms of the new lease, the owner and or his/her agent(s) may request the renter to sign an Option to Lease at any time. The owner or his/her agent(s) may not, however, require the renter to sign a renewal lease prior to one hundred (100) days before commencement of the lease.

TAXES, BONDS AND OTHER ASSESSMENTS. The rental property owner shall inform tenants in writing of any parcel taxes, bonds and any other assessments imposed on the rental property or its residents by government jurisdictions, even though tenants are not directly liable for payment.

PERIODIC REVIEW OF RIGHTS. The City of Davis shall direct the City-UCD Student Liaison Commission to review the aforementioned rights on a yearly basis, proposing appropriate additions and other changes as necessary.