How Rent Control Works in Los Angeles

 

The city of Los Angeles has some of the nations highest apartment rents, averaging $2742 in May 2018, an 8.72% jump from the previous year. To make rent more manageable, the city has implemented rent control regulations and local laws. Rent control not only helps produce more manageable payments but can protect a renter from evictions. Due to the complexity of rent control laws, many owners do not understand their obligations and many renters may not understand what benefits they are entitled to. The basics of the program are detailed below.

 

How does rent control work?

 

Local ordinances put a limit on annual rent increases. This means that rentals protected by rent control ordinances will see a maximum of a 3 to 8 percent rise in their rent annually. The allowable increase is almost always tied to CPI, although most municipalities make their own adjustments to the index. The actual allowed increase is often well inside of the maximum allowable increase and was approximately 2% in Los Angeles last year.

 

Is my apartment rent-controlled?

 

In Los Angeles County, only Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the city of Los Angeles have rental control laws in effect. Your location is not the only determining factor if your rental is rent-controlled, the type of housing and the date it was built are also additional factors.

 

To find out if your apartment is rent-controlled you can check for the construction date and see if it is protected by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance by entering your address into the city’s property database ZIMAS.  

 

Can I be evicted from my rent-controlled apartment?

 

Tenants that benefit from rent-controlled properties can be evicted but have stronger legal protections. Under most circumstances, tenants can only be evicted for at fault reasoning, such as failure to pay rent or violations of the rental agreement. In cases of Ellis Act Eviction landlords must pay relocations fees to help tenants find new places to move into. The relocation fee is dependent on how long the tenants have lived in the building, their age, and their salary.

 

Does rent control help make cities more affordable?

 

Rent control is an oft-debated topic. Advocates of the policy argue that it provides financial relief and stability. In a recent study conducted by Stanford University revealed that tenants in San Francisco saved a combined total of $2.9 billion on rental costs between 1995 and 2012.

 

Critics argue that rent-controlled properties make cities more expensive for newcomers given the dampening effect they have on market supply and demand fundamentals. Multiple factors obviously contribute to elevated housing costs and the only certainty is that rent control alone has not been an effective strategy for controlling housing affordability in Southern California.