In Los Angeles, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance requires owners of rent-controlled apartments to comply with the ordinances regulating the amount of allowable rental increases and eviction rules. Los Angeles landlords owe their tenants rights to privacy, right to quiet enjoyment and rights to maintenance services. Tenants in rent-controlled apartments owe their landlords timely rent payments and compliance with the Ordinance's regulations.
L.A. Rent Control Basics
Rental property in Los Angeles is subject to rent control laws if the property is located in the city, built before November 1978 and the property contains at least two rental units. Owners of rent-controlled properties must comply with the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
Owners’ Rental Increases
Owners renting rent-controlled apartments can only raise the rent a certain percentage each year, as determined by the city’s Rent Control Board. Prior to raising the rent, the owner must give all tenants at least 30 days’ notice of the upcoming increase.
Owners can evict their tenants in rent-controlled apartments only for specific reasons. Under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, owners can evict tenants for nonpayment of rent, breaching the lease agreement, using the apartment to conduct illegal transactions, creating nuisances that harm other tenants’ safety and well-being and refusing entry to a landlord to show the unit to prospective renter or buyers. Additionally, owners can evict tenants for illegally subleasing the apartment after the tenancy ends or refusing to sign a new agreement.
Asking Tenants to Relocate or Move
If the landlord in Los Angeles requests the tenant to move because the landlord wants to lease the rent-controlled unit to a property manager or the landlord’s child, parent or spouse, the landlord can request an eviction if the tenant does not move. Los Angeles’ ordinance regulations also allow landlords to evict tenants for remodeling work lasting for over 45 days, requesting tenants to leave because the landlord no longer wishes to use the housing as a rental or is attempting to comply with the city government’s orders to vacate the apartment, tenants must move or risk an eviction lawsuit. If the landlord is attempting to evict the tenants for any of these reasons unrelated to the tenant’s conduct, then under the city’s Rent Control regulations, landlords may need to pay money for their relocation. The relocation fees are $2,000 or $5,000 for qualified tenants age 62 or older or disabled children under 18 per unit.
Applying for Increased Rent
The Rent Stabilization Ordinance offers owners with an ability to apply for an adjustment or increase to their rental fees with the Rent Adjustment Commission. Owners may apply for temporary rental adjustments if they are making capital renovations or primary renovations. The Capital Improvement Program allows the owner to obtain permission from the Rent Adjustment Commission to raise rents temporarily to cover improvements to private units or common areas if the new improvements will benefit residents for more than five years. Examples of capital Improvements include installing new appliances, adding a playground or swimming pool, painting the entire building and installing air conditions. The Primary Renovation Cost Recovery Regulations allow owners to apply for temporary adjustments of rent that improves the property or extends its useful life by any replacement of electrical, structural, mechanical or plumbing systems or removing hazardous materials from the property and incorporating abatement programs.
Since laws can frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.
Jill Stimson has worked in various property management positions in Maryland and Delaware. Stimson worked for the top three property management companies in the commercial industry and focuses her career on property building logistics and tenant relationships. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in psychology.