Recently, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to enforce a six- month temporary Rent Control Ordinance for Unincorporated Los Angeles that took effect December 20, 2018. Annual rent increases are limited to 3% once a year and will be retroactive dating back to September 11, 2018.

The Board of Supervisors will eventually draft a permanent rent freeze ordinance for Los AngelesCounty. Please note that the City of commerce also went through a similar 45-day rent freeze in Aug 15, 2017. That rent freeze has since been extended several times and will remain in effect until March of this year unless extended again.

Does Your Building Qualify?

If you rent or own an apartment building built before 1995 in unincorporated Los AngelesCounty chances are that your dwelling qualifies for rent control. (Duplexes and triplexes are included.)

This freeze, however, does not apply to newer homes or single-family houses thanks to the defeat of Proposition 10  which sought to overturn the state’s Costa-Hawkins Act that limits rent control to older dwellings.  (For a list of unincorporated area in Los Angeles County, visit: https://www.lacounty.gov/government/about-la-county/unincorporated-areas/.)

 When Did This Take Effect?

The rule became effective on December 20, 2018 but it is also retroactive setting September 11, 2018 as the baseline for rent caps. If you increased rent more than 3% after that date, the law provides that the tenant be reimbursed.

Just Cause Evictions

Owners must now show “just cause,” such as a renter is not paying their rent or is violating the terms of the lease. It is now much more difficult to evict a tenant in these unincorporated areas. (Note: If you are in the middle of an eviction, it’s best to seek help from an attorney.)

 Voluntary Move-Outs

Once a renter leaves an apartment, a landlord can raise the price by any amount as there are no vacancy controls.

GLENDALE RENT CONTROL UPDATE:  The city council didn’t accept ANY of the proposed ordinances.  Instead, on November 27, 2018, the Glendale City Council adopted an ordinance imposing a two-month rent freeze commencing on December 27, 2018 and expiring on February 27, 2019 (“Rent Freeze Period”).

The city of Glendale states “Generally, for tenancies commencing on or prior to September 18, 2018, the ordinance will require landlords in multifamily units to limit the rents they charge during the Rent Freeze Period to no more than the rent they were charging for a unit on September 18, 2018 plus 5%.

For tenancies commencing after September 18, 2018, rents may not exceed the rent at initial tenancy plus 5% during the rent freeze period.

By way of example and not limitation, if a landlord was charging rent of $1,000/mo. for a unit on September 18, 2018 and a rent increase went into effect on October 1, 2018 for $1,200/mo., the landlord must roll back the rent during the rent freeze period to $1,050 (the September 18, 2018 base rent plus 5%). The ordinance will expire on its own terms sixty days after its effective date”.

Patricia Harris is Senior Editor of the AOA News and Buyers Guide.