The Basics of the LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance
Los Angeles buildings constructed prior to 1978 are subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which places stricter regulations on rent payment amounts and evictions. According to the RSO, rents can be increased only one time per year, and by only 3% at a time. Additionally, for tenants residing in the same housing unit for more than one year, the landlord is responsible for a 1% interest on the tenant’s security deposit.
In the event that a tenant moves out, a landlord has the freedom to then raise the rent to any amount that they choose before signing a lease agreement with their next tenant. However, evicting a tenant in order to raise the rent is not allowed. In fact, there are far fewer reasons for which landlords can evict their tenants under the RSO.
Valid evictions include the tenant’s failure to abide by the term of their lease agreement, or in the event of required major rehabilitation or demolition of the rental unit.
In the most unaffordable city in the country, LA’s RSO has helped plenty of renters survive on lower income. However, the biggest benefits are seen by those who hang on to their rental units for many years – and these tenants have a wide range of incomes. This is great for those experiencing bigger savings, but this creates a separate issue of a decreased supply of available units under rent control for other renters…also with a wide range of incomes. The result is a big part of what’s contributing to LA’s current housing crisis – lots of low-income residents searching for affordable housing, with extremely limited affordable housing options.
Rent control currently applies to a large portion of Los Angeles housing units. In order to ensure the safety, fairness and satisfaction of both tenant and landlord, it’s very important that both parties properly understand their rights and obligations.
The RSO has many restrictions that can affect tenants and landlords throughout Los Angeles, and it is important to understand the basics of what is and is not allowed under these regulations. More information can be found on the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department website.