Many reasons can make living in California challenging, from a competitive job market to expensive housing. Luckily, Los Angeles renters’ rights are one of the most favorable in the entire US. This is very important, considering that over 64% of all residents in LA are renters. Here are some of the most important Los Angeles tenant rights.
LA Laws Protect Tenants From Illicit Rent Increases
You may ask yourself: What are renters’ rights? Under the LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), landlords are limited in raising the price. With the rent control in place, an apartment’s price can only be raised once every twelve months and by no more than 4%. This is especially great when living in Downtown LA, although not all apartments fall under the Ordinance. If yours doesn’t have rent control, the owners still can’t increase it until your lease expires, and you need to renegotiate at the next signing. Unfortunately, if you’re renting with a month-to-month lease, the landlord may increase it at any time if they provide you with a written notice beforehand.
Landlords Are Obligated to Keep up the Housing Conditions in California
Before deciding where to live in Los Angeles, you should get familiar with housing laws. Under The Implied Warranty of Habitability in California, landlords must keep the premises of renting units livable. This means that:
The unit must be clean,
There are no leaks in the walls or the ceiling,
All the doors and windows are working properly,
There is hot water available,
Any vermins have been exterminated.
If any of these problems occur, they render your unit uninhabitable, and the landowner must address the issue immediately. They are technically forbidden to take rent from these units until the problem has been solved. Other issues, like a dangerous structural flaw, chemical hazards, and ineffective sanitation are also major red flags that must be resolved quickly. If problems persist, you are not required to pay the rent. However, it’s better that you continue to do so. You don’t want to be on the wrong foot with your landowner if the situation gets resolved quickly.
Here’s a quick video explaining some FAQs regarding the topic, such as what constitutes an uninhabitable living condition, what the owner can and cannot do, etc.
What Should a Tenant Do When a Landlord Won’t Cooperate
If your unit is uninhabitable and the landlord doesn’t cooperate, you can do a few things. You’ll firstly contact them about the problem via email or text. This way, you will have proof of correspondence and that they are aware of the problem. File a complaint with the Housing and Community Investment Department if the issue is not resolved. After a thorough inspection, they will send out a letter requesting that the landlord fix the problem immediately.
With the Help of the Law, Landlords Can Face Legal Charges
Though it’s not common the landowner refuses to fix a problem, if it happens, you will have the legal right to withhold any further payments. While it can be a hassle, you can file a lawsuit against them for the previous payments, and you’re most likely to win the case.
Before Getting Into the Apartment, a Landlord Needs to Give the Tenant a 24-Hour Notice
One of the renters’ rights in Los Angeles is that, unless it is a case of emergency, owners are lawfully required to give you a notice 24 hours before entering your apartment for any reason, like showing the unit to potential future tenants or repairs. Furthermore, they can only do this during work hours, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Termination Notice and Security Deposit Return
Under the State of California Civil Code 1946, the termination notice period is determined by the time between two payments. If you pay rent once a month, that means you must have at least 30 days before having to move out. This ensures the tenants’ rights in Los Angeles aren’t violated.
This period can be shorter if specified in the lease, but not any shorter than seven days. If you don’t feel comfortable with these terms, you shouldn’t sign the lease and look elsewhere. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary moving stress.
You must get your security deposit back within 21 days of moving out. It’s not uncommon for tenants to lose a part or all of the deposit anywhere in the US. Luckily, it’s necessary for landlords in LA to provide you with a justified list of security deposit deductibles.
Los Angeles Renters Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A temporary ban on evictions is currently enacted in the city. This means that you can’t be evicted if you’re unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 related circumstances. Since May 5th, 2020, you can sue your landlord for violating the regulations. Tenants stand to win $10,000 per violation or $15,000 if they have a disability. Before you sue your landowner, notify them of the alleged violation. They will have fifteen days to fix the mistake.
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