On November 14, 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed legislation that brings rent and eviction controls to the unincorporated area of the County of Los Angeles; which consists of over 125 unincorporated areas.  In these areas, you can now only evict a tenant for “just cause.” While this is “a temporary measure”, the writing is on the wall that it will become permanent.

Unfortunately, the trend is for more and more local governments to pass rent and eviction controls that limit rent increases and the reason(s) for evicting tenants.

Important key points of the County of Los Angeles Rent Control Law are that it:

  1. affects apartments built prior to February 1, 1995;
  2. limits rental increases to 3% per year;
  3. for the purpose of the 3% rent increases it uses rent that was in place
  4. on September 11, 2018; and tenants in the regulated apartments can only be evicted for just cause.

Further, there are more onerous requirements under the ordinance.  You must now serve the tenant and the County offices with the notice of termination (including a three day pay rent or quit notice) by certified mail return receipt requested.

Just Cause Evictions

Evictions in theCountyofLos Angeles within the regulated apartments mean that a landlord will no longer be able to use a 30/60 Day Notice to evict a tenant.  You can only evict for just cause.  Just cause evictions must be based on:

  • the failure to pay rent
  • breach of provisions in the rental agreement; such as having too many occupants in the rental unit and having unauthorized occupants living in the rent unit after service of a ten-day notice
  • engaging in conduct that is considered a nuisance to other tenants and the neighboring community
  • engaging in criminal activity
  • engaging in gang activity and
  • refusing to allow access to the landlord to make repairs to the rental property.

As we have seen under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, the cost of evicting a tenant will rise substantially because the landlord will now have to prove a just cause for eviction. This, will more than likely, also bring attorneys from B A S T A, Neighborhood Legal Service, Eviction Defense Network and the like into the courtroom to defend the tenants affected by the new rent control law in the County of Los Angeles.

Further, demands for jury trials by these eviction defense lawyers will rise throughout the County of Los Angeles; costing the landlord more dollars for the preparation for trial and loss rents due to the increased time the eviction case will come to trial.

Recommendations

In response to this legislation and others on the way, it is important for the landlord to review their written rental agreements and to add more teeth to the reasons for eviction.  Check to make sure that you have a cap on the attorney fees clause such as $500.00.  The landlord should also serve a 24 Hour Notice of Entry to every rental unit in an effort to inspect the rental unit for needed repairs and the number of occupants living in the rental unit. Make sure that you have completed all needed repairs before filing an eviction.

More Rent Control Ahead?

Finally, the landlord/property management companies must understand that more and more rent control laws are being considered by many cities across California.  Even though Proposition 10 failed this past election, the Rent Control advocates have bigger plans in place to limit the return a property owner can expect from the rental property.

Attorney Helen Grayce Long is an attorney at Fast Eviction Service. She attended UC Berkeley and graduated with a bachelor of arts.  She then attended the University of San Francisco School of Law.  Grayce has been an attorney for 25 years and specializes in Real Estate Law.  She’s done landlord/tenant work throughout the state of California with an emphasis on Rent Control law.  For more information call (800) 686-8686, email hglongatty@fastevict.com or visit www.fastevictionservice.com