Renting in Los Angeles: 4 Laws You Should Know

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There are a number of laws you should know about when it comes to renting in Los Angeles. As a tenant, you have many rights afforded to you by law, and they appear to be heavily in your favor. However, your landlord also has rights, and knowing as much as you can on the following 4 laws will make you better prepared for renting your apartment and avoiding surprises:

1. Interest on Security Deposit

If you rent in Los Angeles, your landlord is required to pay interest per year on your security deposit. This benefits the tenant because all that money could potentially be yours when you move out, as long as there are no damages to the property and you don’t owe any back rent. And if you do owe money, you’ll have more to pay towards it because of the interest that accrued. Your lease will determine how often this interest gets paid out, whether monthly or yearly. By law, the landlord must pay the interest to the tenant at least once every five years. Many cities don’t make this a requirement, making it one benefit of renting in Los Angeles.

2. Late Fees

City ordinances don’t allow for a grace period after the rent is due. That’s up to the landlord and would need to be stated in the lease agreement. Otherwise, you can be charged a late fee if you pay rent a day or more later than when it’s due. Landlords are allowed to apply late fees to rent payments for any tenant renting in Los Angeles, and the amount is agreed upon prior in the lease agreement.

3. Evictions

A tenant renting in Los Angeles can be evicted based on the following:

  • Illegal activities
  • Non-payment of rent
  • Subletting without approval
  • Violation of a term in the lease
  • Refusal to extend or renew lease
  • To stop renting that unit altogether
  • To comply with the Los Angeles Municipal Code

A few of these reasons for evictions will require your landlord to fill out a form to get approval from the Rent Stabilization Division. The landlord must also serve a tenant with an appropriate Notice of Eviction or Notice to Quit.

4. Landlord Wants to Live there

You are taking a risk when you’re renting in Los Angeles if a landlord wants to evict you in order to live in the apartment. This is not far fetched, especially in an economic recession and when the state as a whole is financially bankrupt. As long as a landlord can show that they want to live there in good faith, such as financial hardship, and just because they want to kick you out of the apartment, they are likely to be able to move in. This also applies to the landlord’s spouse or parents. For example, if the landlord wants to move a parent into the apartment for the same reasons, then you’re out as a tenant.

Make plans to deal with the impact of each of these laws if you plan on renting in Los Angeles. Understand your lease carefully, as you will be bound to it in areas not covered by city ordinances.

One Response to “Renting in Los Angeles: 4 Laws You Should Know”

  1. December 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm, Anonymous said:

    This article is incredibly misleading. All of the provisions mentioned in this article only apply to properties subject to Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinace. Not all properties in the City of Los Angeles are subject to LARSO. Properties subject to rent control are those within the City of Los Angeles, built prior to 1978, where there are two or more unit on one parcel. Single family homes and properties which received their C of O after October 1, 1978 are not subject to these provisions. There are also older properties which received luxury exemption which are not subject to LARSO.

    Also important to note, there are strict restrictions on an owner recovering possession for use by self or family.

    Here is the link to the LARSO handbook which more accurately explains the rent control laws.


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