Guide to Laws for Renters (aka Tenants) in Los Angeles
This guide is for residents in the city of Los Angeles. If you are not sure if you are within city limits, see our guide What City Am I in?
Many laws for tenants and landlords are made at the state level, so be sure to also read our Guide to Laws for Tenants and Renters in California.
The city of Los Angeles has implemented a temporary ban on evictions for ALL tenants (residential and commercial) who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). There is also a temporary ban on evictions for certain other reasons.
Update May 6, 2020
Tenants now have the right to sue landlords who violate the coronavirus protection regulations. If successful, a tenant could win $10,000 per violation ($15,000 if tenant is disabled or a senior). Before suing, a tenant must notify the landlord of an alleged violation, and the landlord has 15 days to fix it.
What are circumstances related to coronavirus qualify?
No owner can evict a residential tenant if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to circumstance related to the COVID-19, such as:
- Loss of income due to workplace closure or reduced hours
- Loss of income or increased child care expenses due to school closures
- Health care expenses stemming from COVID-19 infection of the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household who is ill with COVID-19
- Reasonable expenses stemming from government ordered emergency measures.
Does that mean tenants do not need to pay rent for these months?
No, you must still pay the rent later on. You will have up to 12 months following the expiration of the local emergency to repay any back rent due.
Can landlords charge interest or late fees on unpaid rent due to COVID-19?
What do I need to do to avoid being evicted for not paying rent?
You must inform your landlord as soon as possible before the rent is due or within 7 days of the rent due date and try to work out payment arrangements.
Do I need to provide my landlord with proof that I am affected by the Coronavirus crisis?
No. Many landlords are requesting this documentation, but you are not obligated to provide it to them. You only need to show it to government agencies or courts if they request it.
What other types of evictions are temporarily banned?
- No property owner shall exercise a No-fault Eviction during the Local Emergency Period. No-Fault evictions means those not based on an alleged fault of the tenant, such as when the landlord or his family intend to move into the unit or when the landlord wishes to withdraw the rental unit from the housing market.
- No property owner may withdraw an occupied residential unit from the rental housing market under the Ellis Act. Tenancies may not be terminated under the Ellis Act until 60 days after the expiration of the Emergency Order.
- Landlords may not exercise certain At-fault Evictions either, including the presence of unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance related to COVID-19.
Do landlords need to give notice of these protections?
Yes. Landlords are required to give written notice of the eviction protections to tenants within 30 days of March 31, 2020.
Is my landlord allowed to raise my rent right now?
If you are not under rent control, then the landlord may raise the rent, but may not evict.
Who do the Eviction Protections apply to?
The Eviction Protections apply to all residential and commercial rentals in the City of Los Angeles, including apartments, duplexes, condominiums and single-family dwellings. The protection applies to all renters, regardless of immigration status.
What dates do the Eviction Protections apply to?
The Eviction Protections apply to nonpayment eviction notices, served or filed on or after the date on which the local emergency was proclaimed, March 4, 2020, throughout the duration of the emergency period.
Is there rental assistance available for renters who cannot pay their rent?
Currently there is no rental assistance available from the city of Los Angeles.
What should tenants do if they receive an eviction notice?
You should immediately inform your landlord that you cannot pay your rent due to a loss of income arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. If the landlord does not withdraw the eviction notice, you should immediately file a complaint with HCIDLA at hcidla.lacity.org/File-a-Complaint or by calling 866-557-RENT (866-557-7368).
Important: Tenants do not have to leave their units unless they are served with a Sheriff’s Order, which happens after the case is heard in Court.
Where can tenants obtain help or information regarding a ‘Notice to Pay Rent or Quit’?
If a tenant receives a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, they should inform their landlord that they are an Affected Tenant as a result of COVID-19 before the expiration of any Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. Tenants may seek information and assistance, or file an eviction complaint with the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA).
What should I do if I receive a notice of an Unlawful Detainer?
If you reach the expiration date listed on the “Notice to Pay Rent or Quit”, you may receive a formal eviction or “Unlawful Detainer.” This means you may have to go to court to fight the eviction. Do not ignore a notice from the court or Unlawful Detainer notification!
Get legal assistance ASAP.
Tenants do not have to leave their units unless they are served with a Sheriff’s Order, which happens after the case is heard in Court.
How Will HCIDLA review eviction complaints related to the COVID-19 emergency response?
HCIDLA will ask for information and documentation to support your claims that you have a valid Coronavirus-related reason for not paying rent. Examples of documentation may include, but are not limited to, a letter from your employer citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced work hours or termination, paycheck stubs, bank statements, doctor’s note, school notifications.
What will the HCIDLA investigation do with my complaint?
If HCIDLA approves your complaint, they will send a letter to the landlord requesting cancellation of the “Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.”
What happens after the Declaration of Emergency is over?
Under the Mayor’s order, tenants have up to 12 months following the expiration of the local emergency to repay any back rent due.
Is there financial assistance for landlords who suffer a loss of income as a result of tenants’ inability to pay their rent?
Landlords may be able to apply for a disaster loan related to economic damage from the Coronavirus crisis through the Small Business Administration: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Where can I get more information or help?
Housing and Community Investment Department: https://hcidla.lacity.org/covid-19-renter-protections
Many laws for tenants and landlords are made at the state level, so be sure to read our Guide to Laws for Tenants and Renters in California. See our Legal Basics for more info on how the local, state, and federal laws work together.
However, for renters under rent control, the city of Los Angeles has many specific laws. See our Guide to Rent Control in Los Angeles.
If you need help with your case, we can help you find a good “landlord tenant lawyer” or alternative options.