“Rent control” in the narrowest sense refers to city or county ordinances that limit the amount a landlord could increase rents every year. We have obtained useful information from Equitypro Management, our property management division, to share the details of each area of L.A. County and their respective rent control laws.
California Statewide Rent Control – A.B. 1482
- On January 1, 2020, California enacted state law A.B. 1482 which caps the rent increases for qualifying units at 5% + the cost of living OR 10%, whichever is lower.
Percentage change in the cost of living is a fluctuating metric that represents the percentage change from April 1 of the prior year to April 1 of the current year in the regional Consumer Price Index for the region the property is located.
Apartments built from November 1978 to 2005 are subject to this statewide rent control law.
City of Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles follows its own rent control ordinance that is different from the statewide rent control ordinance. However, this only applies to buildings with a certificate of occupancy from October 1978 or earlier. As stated above, apartments built after October 1978 to 2005 follow the statewide rent control ordinance.
For properties that follow Los Angeles City’s rent control ordinance, the current allowable rent increases as of February 2021 are as follows:
- 3% Increase once per year through June 30, 2021.
- An additional 1% for electric and 1% for gas utility bills, if the landlord is paying for said services.
- An additional 10% per additional occupant not originally referenced in the original rental agreement, with the exception of the firstborn child.
Unincorporated Area of Los Angeles County
For properties in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County that do not follow a rent control ordinance within its own city, the current allowable rent increases as of February 2021 are as follows:
- 3% Increase once per year, and is subject to change every year.
Exempt: Non-Rent Controlled Properties
There are properties that do not fall under any form of rent control ordinance given they follow certain conditions. As a result, there is no cap on how much a landlord can increase rents. However, there are limitations set in place due to COVID-19 (see below).
The conditions that exempt property from rent control are as follows:
- Roommate – Housing accommodations in which the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner who maintains their principal residence at the residential property.
- Single-family owner/owner-occupied residences, including a residence in which the owner-occupant rents or leases no more than two units or bedrooms, including but not limited to, an ADU.
- Housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 15 years.
- A duplex in which the owner-occupied one of the units as the owner’s principal place of residence at the beginning of the tenancy, so long as the owner continues occupancy.
- Single-family residential property provided the residential real property is alienable separate from the title to any other dwelling unit AND (1) real estate investment trust, (2) a corporation, or (3) a limited liability company in which at least one member is a corporation.
Rent Increases During COVID-19
- For non-rent controlled properties, the current cap on rent increases is 10% due to the state of emergency from COVID-19. Any higher than 10% would be considered price gouging.
It is very important during the time of COVID that landlords carefully follow their specific ordinances and guidelines for rent increases. Not following the ordinance could result in a legal backlash to the landlord.
Example of legal backlash to a landlord:
A landlord increases rent beyond the allowed amount, and the tenant accepts the increase. Fast forward a few months, and the tenant breaks the terms of the lease, so the landlord pursues eviction. When the lawyers find out that the landlord has been overcharging for rent, the entire case will be determined invalid.
A simple, yet effective solution to avoid a situation like this would be to hire a property management company that is current on all rules and regulations.
Our property management division, Equitypro Management, works diligently to keep our clients knowledgeable and in compliance with local and state regulations. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
By Phillip Gonzalez, Research & Marketing Coordinator