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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27692
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have a question about my status as an apartment tenant in

Customer Question

Hi there. I have a question about my status as an apartment tenant in Los Angeles in a rent controlled unit. My roommate is moving out. I have a replacement roommate whom I want considered by my landlord. My landlord has told me "No." She'd rather I move out, along with my roommate. When I called to ask why she said she could make more money by putting the apartment back out on the market. She said she might consider allowing me to stay but would insist I sign a new lease with the new roommate at a higher price for rent.
But per the LA landlord/tenant handbook provided to me by the city's housing and community investment department under code 151.06 G in a rent controlled apartment: "when two (2) tenants occupy a unit and one of the tenants vacates the unit and the
remaining tenant gets a replacement roommate, the replacement roommate does not
constitute an additional tenant. However, the landlord does have the right to approve
a new adult tenant. Approval cannot be unreasonably withheld."
I wrote an email to her informing her of this code and asked if she would consider the new roommate given the statute. And she will now not return my emails or calls. My roommate moves out in two weeks. And I will be on the hook for May rent. But I cannot have my replacement roommate move in without her approval as that would violate the lease agreement. What can I do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold approval of your roommate. Withholding approval because she wants to force you to move so she can charge more rent is unreasonable. Therefore, SHE is in violation of the law and cannot evict you for moving in the new roommate you have found. If she were to try to evict you, you could defend on the basis that she's violating local rent control statutes and does not have just cause for eviction. And if she changed the locks or something, you could sue her for a penalty of $100/day until you got back in under Cal. Civ. Code, Section 789.3.

One option here is to call the county by dialing 2-1-1 and let them know she's trying to force you to move out illegally. They may be able to help. Or you could try asking a local attorney to send the landlord a letter explaining why you will not be vacating.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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