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Under California law a landlord cannot raise your rent during your initial lease term, absent a lease provision to the contrary. If you do not have a lease, or if you are on a month-to-month, then the landlord can increase the rent so long as s/he provides the tenant proper written notice. Under California law, the landlord must provide a tenant with at least 30 days' advance written notice of a rent increase if the rent increase is 10 percent (or less) of the rent charged at any time during the 12 months before the rent increase takes effect. (35 days if the notice is served by mail). If the landlord is increasing the rent more than 10% in a 12-month period, then pursuant to California Civil Code §827, the landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days prior written notice (65 days if the notice is mailed). In rent controlled cities, like Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood additional rules apply.
Pursuant to the newly enacted California Tenant Protections and Relief Act - Sept 2019, annual rental increases for all multi-unit dwellings built more than 15 years ago (presently before Sept 2005) are capped at 5% plus the rate of inflation (presently 3% for 2019). The Act further prohibits an owner of residential multi-unit dwelling built before 2005 from increasing the rent more than 2 times in any 12-month period. For more information, please click here.
Allowable Rent Increases Under the Los Angeles RSO for Rent Controlled Units
The Los Angeles RSO addresses allowable rent increases which can range from 3% to 8%, the registration of rental units, legal reasons for eviction, and the causes for eviction requiring relocation assistance payment to the tenant. Under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO ), the landlord is allowed to make the following annual increases in the rent:
Four Special Circumstances Which Allow the Landlord to Raise the Rent Substantially.
Notice Required Under the RSO.
To raise the rent, the landlord must serve the tenant(s) with a written 30-day notice for rent increases that are 10% or less of the tenant's rent (35 days if the notice is mailed), or a 60-day notice (65 days if mailed) for rent increases that exceed 10% of the tenant's lowest rent within the preceding 12-month period.
Additional Costs a Landlord is Allowed to Pass Through to a Tenant:
1. In the month of August only, the landlord may collect $12.25 from each tenant (50% of the annual $24.51 registration fee paid to the Rent Stabilization Division). To collect the $12.25, the landlord must serve the tenant in the month of May or June with a written thirty (30) Day Written Notice and provide the tenant a copy of the Registration Certificate.
2. The landlord may also collect the annual $43.32 Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) fee if paid in full by the landlord by increasing the rent $3.61 per month. To collect this monthly fee from the tenant, the owner must similarly give the tenant a written thirty (30) Day Notice of Rent Increase prior to the collection of this fee once a year and provide the tenant a copy of the Registration Certificate.
After a Vacancy
The allowable rent level after a vacancy depends on the reason for the vacancy. The RSO provides that the rent may be raised to any amount upon re-rental if the vacancy resulted because the tenant: (1) voluntarily vacated the unit; (2) was evicted for non-payment of legal rent; or (3) was evicted for violating the terms of the rental agreement and failing to cure the violation. If the vacancy occurs for any other reason, the Los Angeles RSO requires the rent to a new tenant to remain the same as that for the prior tenant. Examples include: (1) an eviction to recover the unit for the use of the landlord, his immediate family. or a resident manager; (2) an eviction based on the prior tenant's illegal acts; (2) an eviction based on the tenant's refusal to sign a new lease with the same terms as are in the RSO; and (3) an eviction based on the tenant's refusal to allow the landlord reasonable access to the unit.
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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.