Many cities, including Los Angeles, have rent control ordinances that protect tenants from large rent increases. This guide will help you identify whether you are protected by rent control and how you are protected.
Is My Home Protected by Rent Control?
To qualify for rent control protection, your rented home must be:
- Within Los Angeles city boundaries
- Have two or more rental units on the lot, and
- Be built before October 1, 1978
Properties not protected by rent control include:
- Single family dwellings
- Properties Built after October 1 1978
- Government Owned Properties
- Hotels and Motels
What Protections Do I Get with Rent Control?
If your rental unit is protected by rent control, then:
- Your rent cannot be raised more than once every 12 months
- Your landlord must provide 30 day written notice prior to raising your rent
- Your baseline rent may not be increased by more than a small percentage, which is set annually by the consumer price index – generally 3-5% allowed per year.
Can My Landlord Raise my Rent for Other Reasons?
While your landlord may not raise your baseline rent by more than the fixed percentage, they may increase your rent slightly for other costs they incur, such as:
- Utilities – 1% allowed each year for both gas and electric if the landlord pays for utilities
For example, if you paid $1000 a month in rent in 2013, and the CPI was set at 3%, then your landlord could only raise your rent by 3%, plus 1% for gas and 1% for electricity if the landlord pays for utilities. Thus, in 2014, your rent would increase by a maximum of 5% to $1050.
Can a Landlord Raise Rent by More than the Maximum after a Tenant Vacates?
Yes. Once a tenant vacates a unit the landlord may set the rent at market price. However, the tenant must vacate voluntarily or be evicted for a legitimate reason, such as:
- Failing to pay rent
- Violation of Rule on the Lease
- Creating a nuisance
- Using the Apt for illegal purposes
Thus, the landlord cannot just evict tenants in bad faith in order to raise the rent.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have an issue with your rent or landlord you should contact a landlord-tenant attorney who handles landlord/tenant issues.