In 2020 Jacob and his friend rented a studio apartment somewhere in Los Angeles. When the lease ended in 2021, Jacob and his friend waited for his landlord to communicate the additional amount they now needed to pay to stay in the same apartment. But they never heard about the rent increase from the landlord.

If you’re a tenant in L.A. and wondering if there will be a rent hike at the end of your lease period, know that landlords in L.A. are now prohibited from raising the cost of more than 650,000 rent stabilizes units citywide. If you live in Los Angeles, know that there will be no rent hikes for L.A. tenants until 2023 and possibly beyond. That’s not all. Los Angeles has important complex tenant laws. Knowing them well before moving into the city can help you save money on rent. Read on to learn about rent control in Los Angeles.

What are rent control laws in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) is a law that restricts the rent amount a landlord can charge from a tenant. It also limits the reasons for eviction. The law is enforced by the Rent Stabilization Board (RSB) of Los Angeles.

What do you need to know about rent stabilization in Los Angeles?

A rental unit in Los Angeles might be subject to the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which protects tenants from unfair rent hikes and evictions provided the unit is built on or before October 1, 1978.

How does rent control work?

Rental control in Los Angeles means a cap on the annual rental increase on units. So if you’re a renter in L.A., you can usually expect a rent rise between 3 and 8 percent annually.

Key things you should know about rent-controlled apartments in Los Angeles

  1. Landlords need to give at least 30 days’ notice before a rent increase.
  2. Tenants can expect a 1% increase in rent every year for all the utilities that the landlord pays.
  3. Landlords cannot increase the rent more than once every 12 months.
  4. If the rent increases, landlords are free to raise the security deposit
  5. If you’re going to have an additional roommate who was not on the original lease, the landlord may raise the rent by 10%. But if a roommate who was initially in the lease moves out, the landlord needs to reduce the rent by the same amount.
  6. The landlord is bound to pay relocation assistance for no-fault eviction where the tenants have no fault. The amount may range from $8,500 to $21,200. The exact amount depends on the reason for eviction, the tenant’s income, and the duration of the tenancy.

What areas in Los Angeles have rent control

The law covers Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Inglewood, West Hollywood, and some unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Is your apartment falls under the rent increase law in Los Angeles

If you live in a unit built before October 1, 1978, it is covered by RSO. Mobile homes in parks are also covered under this act. To know when your apartment was built and if it’s covered under the rent control in Los Angeles, check with the city’s property database. You can find the information with just a few clicks. Know that even if your building meets all the specifications, it might be prevented from being covered by the RSO. This may happen under certain instances:

  • The unit is a government-funded property.
  • It is a luxury apartment.
  • The unit was completed after 1978
  • You live in a single-family home, and it’s the only building on the property
  • Hotel and motel rooms occupied for less than 30 days
  • Commercial buildings that were converted to residential buildings after October 1, 1978

Do rent control laws in Los Angeles allow eviction?

While living in rent-controlled apartments gives protection to a certain extent to tenants, however, you can still be evicted. Under rent control in Los Angeles, evictions are allowed in the following situations:

  1. Creating a nuisance
  2. Subletting the unit to someone else illegally
  3. Causing damage to the property
  4. Not paying rent
  5. Not obeying the rental agreement
  6. Using the rented property for illegal activities
  7. Failure to provide the landlord with reasonable access to the property

Benefits of staying in a rent-controlled apartment in L.A

Apart from protection against unjustified eviction or increased rent, you may receive 1% interest per year on your security deposit if you live in a rent-controlled unit for at least a year.

You can also file a complaint if you find your apartment is in an inhabitable condition or if there is an overcharge of rent. In such a scenario, you will be entitled to the reduced rent.

If the building is inhabitable and the landlord doesn’t rehabilitate it, the city can take over the building in rare extreme cases. You’re also eligible for reduced rent, and the city will restore the apartment to a livable condition.

Rent control in Los Angeles amidst COVID-19

While landlords generally raise rents between 3-8 % annually, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the scenario. After the 2020 pandemic, the mayor’s emergency order mentions that no landlords can increase the rent. However, they can charge a new rent once the tenant vacates and the new tenant moves in. This has been a historic decision, marking the first time in more than four decades under the rent control law in Los Angeles.

However, even with the rent freeze, many tenants in L.A. have suffered significantly in the last two years. While a handful of the white-collar employees have managed to work from home, the scenario is entirely different for the lower-income workers – especially in the hospitality and leisure industry. While the low-income tenants are eligible for rental assistance for $5.2 billion in federal funding to pay previously owed and future rent, there remains a high demand for assistance.

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