LANDLORD / TENANT LAWS IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
GENERAL LANDLORD/TENANT LEGAL ISSUES
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How quickly can you start eviction proceedings and how long
does it typically take?
A. Once the initial notice to the tenant is served and the time allowed is expired, we can file an unlawful detainer action immediately. For an uncontested proceeding, a tenant could be evicted in approximately four to five weeks from the filing date. For contested proceeding, it could take approximately eight to ten weeks.
Q. Is My Property Subject To The Los Angeles Rent Control?
A. Residential properties, built prior to October 1978 are subject to Rent Control. Per the Rental Stabilization Ordinance, owners whose properties are subject to rent control must register their property with the City of Los Angeles. A single family home is not subject to the Rent Control Laws. However, the following are:
· town homes
· two or more dwelling units on the same lot
· mobile homes and mobile home pads, and
· rooms in a hotel, motel, rooming house or boarding house occupied by the same tenant for sixty (60) or more consecutive days.
Q. My tenant pays very low rent due to rent control. Is there any way to evict him legally?
A. If the tenant is in violation of the lease agreement, he/she could be evicted legally. If not, my office can negotiate and prepare an agreement so the tenant voluntarily vacates so you can raise the rent.
Q. How do I Prepare a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
A. Pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161, a notice shall be prepared as follows:
All the named tenants must be included in the notice. You must state the exact amount of rent that is then due (Do not include any late charges, or any other charges). Include the property address and date the notice. The notice must contain the person to pay, that person's phone number, the address where payment should be made and the hours when payment can be received. Check my free sample of 3-day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
Q. What if the tenant pays the amount requested on the 3-day notice?
A. If the tenant pays the entire amount of the 3-day notice, landlord shall not proceed with the eviction process.
Q. What are the proper ways for serving a notice on my tenants?
A. Pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure Section 1162, a notice shall be served by:
1. “Personal Service”, i.e. delivering a copy of the notice to the tenant personally; or,
2. If he is absent from his place of residence, and from his usual place of business, by leaving a copy with some person of suitable age and discretion at either place, and sending a copy through the mail addressed to the tenant at his place of residence; or,
3. If such place of residence and business can not be ascertained, or a person of suitable age or discretion there can not be found, then by affixing a copy in a conspicuous place on the property, and also delivering a copy to a person there residing, if such person can be found; and also sending a copy through the mail addressed to the tenant at the place where the property is situated. Service upon a subtenant may be made in the same manner.
4. If the notice being served is a 30-day notice to quit, it may be served solely by certified mail.
Q. How many tenants could legally reside in my rental unit?
A. The agreement which is made between a landlord and tenant will determine how many persons are allowed in a dwelling unit. This agreement is legally binding as long as it does not violate the Los Angeles City Maximum Occupancy Law. Feel free to call our office to see if you have a case for eviction on this issue.
Q. What are my options if an additional unauthorized tenant moves into my rental unit?
A. Two options. You may either move immediately for an eviction process due to violation of the lease agreement or increase the rent up to 10% for as long as the tenant is occupying the unit. These increases require a 30-day notice.
Q. What happens in Trial?
A. Generally, a trial usually takes half a day depending on how many witnesses appear and how many documents must be presented to the judge. It is imperative that you arrive timely. Your attorney will go over the questions that will be asked of you during trial and this can only be done if you are timely. Further, be sure to bring those witnesses and documents that are necessary. You may contact your lawyer to find out what is necessary.
Q. Is it possible to settle the case during trial?
A. Yes. The Judges actually encourage settlements in every case. Your attorney will talk to both landlords and tenant negotiating a settlement agreement. Moving date and money judgment will be discussed during negotiation. If parties enter into any agreement, it will be in writing and would have the same effect as a court judgment. Settlement is in your best interest.
Q. What happens after the trial?
A. Your attorney will file required documents with the court and the sheriff will vacate the premises for you within approximately 21 days from the trial day. We will notify you as to exact date and time.
Q. How much can I deduct when my tenant vacates?
A. You are allowed to deduct for rent or other charges owed under the rental agreement, reasonable cleaning charges, and unusual wear and tear to the unit.
Q. Can residential tenants obtain money for relocation assistance?
A. Under certain circumstances, if the property is located in the city of Los Angeles and the rental unit is under rent control, there may be a way for tenants to obtain relocation assistance from the landlord.
Q. How much security can I as a landlord charge?
A. Upon move-in, a landlord may charge an amount equal to two months rent for an unfurnished unit. (Three months for a furnished unit.) Therefore, where there is an unfurnished unit renting for $500, a landlord may charge a first month rent and a $1000 security deposit for a total of $1500.
Q. When does the security deposit have to be returned?
A. The landlord has 21 days to itemize and return that portion of the security deposit, if any, to the tenant. A written statement should be prepared and mailed to the tenant. If you do not have the tenant's new address, you must mail it to the unit that the tenant vacated.
Q. What happens to the tenant’s belongings left behind?
A. Landlord may immediately removes the item and put it in a locked storage facility. The tenant may retrieve his belongings if he wishes within the allowed time. It is suggested that landlord be lenient and give tenants a chance to move their belongings in order to avoid unnecessary lawsuits. If the belongings are less than $300.00, landlord may dispose of them. If the tenant does not remove his belongings, contact our office and we will arrange for a public auction to sell the belongings.
Q. What is the maximum allowable rent increase in a rent control
A. Currently, every 12 months, landlord may increase the rent by only 3 percent in a rent control building unless your landlord pays for any of the utilities such as gas or power. Landlord could increase the rent by 1% for each utility that he pays.
Q. What kind of notice is required for a rent increase?
A. “30 Day Notice” for rent increased up to 10% and “60 Day Notice” for rent increased 10% and more. To draft such a notice, please contact my office.
If you have questions or need further information, please contact Ray R. Nosrati at:
Law Offices of Ray R. Nosrati
3435 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Fax: (323) 969-9096
Web Site: www.homeJustice.com
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