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On December 6, 2016, the City Council passed a 12-month lease ordinance finding that tenants have a right to a written lease and that a contractual relationship with a landlord may offer some needed assurances of stability and minimize displacement of tenants in a rental housing market affording tenants few and increasingly expensive options.
The ordinance applies to multifamily rental properties, with four or more units.
Rental units not included in the 12-month lease ordinance are:
This ordinance became effective March 6, 2017.
A landlord shall offer a tenant or prospective tenant a written lease with a minimum term of one (1) year every twelve months. The written offer must include both the English and Spanish paragraphs below, in all capital letters and in at least size fourteen (14) font:
THE MENLO PARK CITY CODE PROVIDES YOU WITH THE RIGHT TO A WRITTEN LEASE. LANDLORDS MUST OFFER TENANTS THE OPTION TO ENTER INTO A ONE (1) YEAR WRITTEN LEASE. IT IS THE TENANT'S CHOICE WHETHER TO ENTER INTO SUCH A WRITTEN LEASE WITH A LANDLORD. FURTHER INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE CITY'S WEBSITE (MENLOPARK.ORG).
EL CODIGO DE LA CIUDAD DE MENLO PARK LE PROPORCIONA EL DERECHO A UN CONTRATO DE ARRENDAMIENTO POR ESCRITO. LOS PROPIETARIOS DEBEN OFRECER A LOS INQUILINOS LA OPCION DE TENER UN CONTRATO DE ARRENDAMIENTO POR ESCRITO POR UN TIEMPO MINIMO QUE INCLUYE UN OPCION: UN ANO. ES LA OPCION DEL INQUILINO SI ESCOGE TIPO CONTRATO POR ESCRITO CON DEL DUENO. PARA MAS INFORMACION VISITE EL SITIO WEB DE LA CIUDAD (MENLOPARK.ORG).
Menlo Park Municipal Code Title 8, Chapter 53
It applies to all tenants, both current and prospective.
A one year lease must be offered to a tenant, in writing, every twelve months.
The ordinance does not specify how to prove a one year lease was offered. It is a best practice for landlords to keep track of offering tenants a one year lease and keep all of the signed rejected/accepted offers. The ordinance does specify, “a rejection of the offer must be documented in writing and signed by the tenant” and “signing of a lease which has a minimum term of one year shall be considered an offer in writing.”
No. The landlord is responsible for providing this documentation the tenants. Remember, the one year lease offer must be in writing and the specified language (in question above) must be included in the lease agreement.
That would be up to a court to determine, not the City. Question of fact as to whether they received and rejected/didn’t accept the offer, or whether never received the offer unless you have proof of delivery.
It is recommended the landlord send the tenant a notification by certified mail.
A tenant may reject the one year lease option. A rejection of the offer must be documented in writing and signed by the tenant.
Landlords must offer tenants a one year lease, but the landlord and tenant may agree to other rental terms.
No. Landlord are only obligated to offer tenants a one year lease every twelve months.
No. The landlord is only obligated to offer a tenant a one year lease every twelve months. Even after the six-month lease is up, the landlord does not need to offer the tenant a one year lease.
No. The decision to renew a lease is between the landlord and tenant.
The ordinance does not address rate increases, but if the landlord and tenant agree to a rate increase within the lease agreement, it should be written within the contract of the lease agreement.
The ordinance provides a tenant with the opportunity to file a civil claim against the landlord. For free legal advice, contact Community Legal Services. As an alternative, Project Sentinel offers free tenant/landlord dispute mediation.
Adam PattersonManagement Analyst IIEmail