Here’s What You Need to Know About Rent Control in the City of Los Angeles

This page is about rent control (aka “Rent Stabilization Ordinance” or RSO) in Los Angeles, California. For more info on how rent control works in general, or for other cities or unincorporated areas in California, see our Guide to Rent Control in California. If you’re not sure if you are in the city of Los Angeles or not, see What City Am I In?

How do I know if I am under rent control in Los Angeles?

There are now 2 ways a building can fall under rent control in Los Angeles. First, the local rent control law applies to most properties being rented as a residence, built before October 1978 (or a “replacement unit” for a rent-controlled building). If this does NOT apply, then the new California statewide rent control law may apply. The new statewide law takes effect Jan 1, 2020, but the city council has implemented emergency measures to immediately stop landlords from evicting tenants except for good reason (see good cause, below); and to assist lower income tenants with rental payments for rent increases above 8% per year which have taken effect since March 2019.

The local ordinance applies to the following units built before Oct 1978:

  • apartments
  • condominiums (“condos”)
  • townhomes
  • duplexes/triplexes/4-plexes
  • 2 or more single family dwelling units on the same parcel (plot of land)
  • Rooms in a hotel, motel, rooming house or boarding house occupied by the same tenant for 30 or more consecutive days
  • Residential unit(s) attached to a commercial building
  • Mobile homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) in mobile home parks

How much can landlords raise the rent in Los Angeles?

Landlords of a property that is covered under the local rent control law (as opposed to the state rent control law) can raise the rent a maximum of 4% in a 12-month period for a current tenant. If the landlord pays the gas and/or electric costs, the landlord can raise the rent an additional 1% per utility. So if a landlord pays for both gas and electric, they can raise the rent by 6% per year.

Can the landlord increase rent for additional occupants?

For each additional tenant that moves in, the landlord may impose a one-time, permanent rent increase of up to 10%. This does not apply to the first minor dependent child (under 18).

Can my landlord charge any other fees?

If you are in a rent-controlled building in Los Angeles, the landlord cannot charge any fees other than the following:

  • Registration fee: Landlords may charge tenants $1.61 per month or $19.32 annually as the tenant’s portion of the registration fee (50% of total fee of $38.75 per year).
  • SCEP (Systematic Code Enforcement Program) fee: Landlords may charge tenants $2.83 per month or $33.97 per year as the tenant’s portion of the SCEP fee (50% of total fee of $67.94 per year).1Added by Ord. No. 187,108, Eff. 8/6/21
  • A $3.00 surcharge for the installation and cost for a hard-wired smoke detector or a combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector.
  • additional fees for pets
  • utilities and related service fees

See more at the Los Angeles Housing Department website

If my building is under rent control, can my landlord evict me at any time for any reason? What is “good cause”?

If your building is rent controlled, you generally cannot be evicted except in a few circumstances. These are known as good cause:

  • you are not paying rent or you are otherwise violating the lease
  • you are creating a “nuisance” or causing damage to the unit
  • you are not allowing the landlord reasonable access to the unit
  • you are involved in criminal activity
  • you are not an approved tenant on the lease
  • the landlord wants to take the property off the rental market (usually to convert to condos under the Ellis Act) or is replacing the building with affordable housing
  • the landlord or landlord’s immediate family member wants to live in the unit
  • an on-site resident property manager will live in the unit
  • the government is ordering you to leave the unit

Does my landlord need to pay me relocation assistance?

If the landlord is removing you from a rent-controlled unit for a qualified reason in which you are not at fault, the landlord is generally required to pay you a tenant relocation assistance payment. OR if the landlord is doing primary or major renovation work, you may voluntarily terminate the tenancy in exchange for a relocation payment.

This fee is generally a minimum of about $8,000, but the exact amount depends on various factors as the renter’s age, disability status, income, and length of time living in the unit.

Reasons for eviction which require a rental relocation payment:

  • The owner, owner’s immediate family member, or resident manager will move into the rental unit
  • Conversion to condos, or otherwise permanent removal from the rental market (under the Ellis Act)
  • Government order
  • Conversion to affordable housing
  • Primary renovation work or demolition

Can a landlord pay a tenant to leave a unit?

A landlord of a rent-controlled unit may offer, and a tenant may (but is not required to) accept, money in exchange for voluntarily vacating the unit. This is called a “Buyout Agreement” or “Cash for Keys” agreement. There are certain requirements for this, including allowing the tenant to back out of the deal for any reason within 30 days.

Can I allow another person to move in to my unit?

A landlord has the right to approve or disapprove of additional tenants in the unit, but this approval may not be unreasonably withheld. A reasonable requirement would be that each adult tenant must be able to pay the full rent on his/her own.

The landlord does not have to allow more than one additional adult or two additional
minor dependent children.

When can a landlord increase rent of a unit to market rate?

The rental price of a rent controlled unit may be increased to market rate if a tenant either voluntarily moves out or is properly evicted.

Further Resources

See more at the Los Angeles Housing Department

Related Pages

References[+]

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