What is Rent Stabilization?
The L.A. Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) is a law that restricts how much a landlord can increase your rent.
Through June 30, 2018*, landlords cannot increase rent more than 3% per year (or 5% if they also pay utilities). In general, under RSO, landlords cannot increase rent past 8%.
Increases can only occur every 12 months.
Rent Stabilization does not limit how much money a landlord can charge at the start of a rental agreement, only how much the rent can increase once the unit is occupied by the same tenant. Limits the legal reasons for eviction. You can only be evicted for the reasons listed in the RSO, and in some cases you MUST be compensated.
How do I know if I live under Rent Stabilization?
If you live in the City of Los Angeles AND your unit was built as housing before October 1, 1978 (i.e. Certificate of Occupancy issued before this date), then you are probably protected by these laws.
The cities of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica also have rent stabilization laws, which differ somewhat from the City of L.A.’s
What if I don’t live under the Rent Stabilization?
If you DO NOT live in a building under Rent Stabilization then rent increases depend on the type of rental agreement you have with your landlord.
Lease of more than month-to-month: Landlord CANNOT increase rent during the term of the lease, unless the lease explicitly allows for rent increases.
Month to Month Leases: Landlords can increase your rent as often as they like, but California law requires 30-day advance written notice of the increase, and such an increase cannot be retaliatory.
Landlords MUST give at least: 30-day advance notice for rent increase of up to 10% of the previous rent charged at any time in the last 12 months OR a 60-day advance notice if the rent increase is greater than 10%
In today’s housing market, many landlords are seeking to remove their current tenants in order to profit from higher rental fees or sell the unit in a Tenants in Common sale. If you’ve been offered a cash for keys agreement, the first thing to know is that you are legally entitled to relocation funds ranging from $10,750 - $20,450. Secondly, tenants have no legal obligation to sign a cash for keys agreement, so the decision to approve or decline any Cash for Keys offer is entirely up to you. You might want to consider the current state of the housing market before making a decision by using this handy dandy RSO Calculator. Never relinquish your rights without consulting with an attorney (see resources page).
What if I have been offered a Cash For Keys agreement?
Tenants in Common (TIC) is a fast spreading real estate trend in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is commonly targeted at under-performing buildings – like apartments under RSO. The building is bought by an investor, who then offers existing tenants a Cash For Keys agreement. If the tenant does not accept the Cash For Keys offer, then the Investor often uses the Ellis Act to force the tenants out of the units to sell the entire building under a TIC. TIC sales means more than one party buys a building for ownership of a percentage of the building. This practice is totally unfair to pre-existing tenants and 100% legal.
What is a Tenants In Common Sale?
The “Ellis Act” is a state law which says that landlords have the unconditional right to evict tenants to “go out of business.” ... Ellis Act evictions generally are used to change the use of the building. Most Ellis evictions are used to convert rental units to condominiums, using loopholes in the condo law.
What is an Ellis Act?
Joining the movement simply means going to your local union meeting and meeting your neighbors. Locals bring neighbors together to discuss housing issues, organize direct actions and build community.
How do I join the movement?
Sharing your story of eviction and landlord harassment is powerful on many levels. Firstly, you are putting a human face on the housing crisis in California. Many believe that the housing crisis does not apply to them, but it applies to anyone who is renting. You are also empowering others to know their housing rights and not feel totally helpless and alone when facing this threat. Joining this campaign means spreading the word about this very big problem, which is incredibly valuable in the fight for housing rights in Los Angeles.
Why is it important to share my story?
It is entirely up to each individual whether or not you decide to leave your home in the face of an eviction threat or stay. There is no right or wrong answer. We believe that every unit that is given up to a landlord looking to increase their profit is a unit lost for those who need it most. We also believe there is a movement of tenants who will stand and fight with you in the right to stay in your home…because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We believe that every unit under the threat of a no-fault eviction means more threats for others under RSO. If you are considering fighting to stay in your home, there are many creative ways to make an impact for your cause and we would love to help. First step would be to join the Los Angeles Tenants Union.