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Questions about Rent Control Law

Rent control refers to laws and ordinances that set limits on the amount of rent that can be charged and can be increased in any year. State laws in the United States affect city rent control ordinances, so landlords and tenants need to be aware of rent control laws when they rent/rent out a place. Also, in some cities like New York, rent control and rent stabilization mean two different things and have a varied set of regulations, while in other cities like Los Angeles they mean the same thing.

Listed below are a few questions on rent control related issues.

I live in Santa Monica and would like to know what rent control laws will apply to my family if my apartment is turned into condos?

A variety of factors affects how condominium units may or may not be covered by rent control. According to the Expert on JustAnswer, these would include:

(i) whether they were built as condominiums or converted from apartments; (ii) if converted, whether the unit has been separately sold to an actual purchaser; (iii) if built as condominiums, the date their construction was completed; (iv) in some cases, when the first unit was sold is important; and (v) whether the current tenants first rented before or after January 1, 1996.

The Rent Control Board would be best suited to determine the facts for your particular address so it would be advisable to get in touch with them to understand the rent control laws that would apply to you.

To evict a tenant, can a landlord declare an apartment under rent control his primary residence, assuming he doesn’t own any other assets?

If the landlord needs the apartment for himself or for another member of the family, he can bring a petition to recover the rent controlled apartment. A court hearing will then decide if the landlord’s need is genuine. If it is proved genuine, he can get a court order to evict the tenant.

Can I increase the rent in a property in Tucson, Arizona because it is falls below my mortgage/taxes/insurance? Is there rent control to prevent me from doing so?

Rent control does not exist everywhere, and Arizona does not have a rent control statute. The law here requires you give your tenant notice that you are increasing the rent at least ten days before the month is over. This is assuming the tenant is not covered by an existing lease at present. If there is an existing lease, then you will have to wait till the lease expires to increase the rent.

I recently bought a rent controlled property in L.A. My new tenants are refusing to sign a new lease contract since they possess the original contract from the previous owner. Is it against the law to insist that they sign it since it is rent control property?

If they do have an existing lease, then that lease would be considered legal. Therefore, you cannot force them to sign a new one and would have to honor the old one.

If you don’t rent out an apartment, can you still evict the rent control tenant there?

Yes it is possible. If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, there are three ways the landlord could so. One would be to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent. Secondly, the tenant could be evicted for a breach of lease (which could be in the form of damage to the premises or the use of drugs in the premises, and so on). Finally, the tenant could also be evicted if the landlord him or herself wants to use the premises to live in it.

There are boards or agencies that are set up within cities that have rent control and/or rent stabilization to enforce laws where both tenants and landlords can get legal information about their rights. However, some laws and regulations may still be confusing, and it’s important to get clarification in order to avoid major problems between landlords and tenants.
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Recent Rent Control Questions

  • From Me to My Landlord: Subject: Courtesy notice of intent

    From Me to My Landlord:

    Subject: Courtesy notice of intent to vacate
    Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 11:40:01 -0700
    Our Residential Lease Agreement dated 11/12/14 indicates that this lease will terminate on 6/30/14 at noon.
    I do not see any language regarding giving adequate notice but as a courtesy I want you to know that I will be vacating the premises on or before 6/30.
    I have enjoyed getting to know you and wish continued success for you and your family.

    Excerpt from Residential Lease or Month-to-Month Rental Agreement by California Association of Realtors
    http://www.car.org/legal/standard-forms/summary-forms-releases-chart/nov-2008-form-releases-chart/228368/

    TERM: The term begins on (date) ________________________________ (“Commencement Date”), (Check A or B):
    n A. Month-to-Month: and continues as a month-to-month tenancy. Tenant may terminate the tenancy by giving written notice
    at least 30 days prior to the intended termination date. Landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving written notice as
    provided by law. Such notices may be given on any date.
    n B. Lease: and shall terminate on (date) _________________________________________ at __________ n AM/ n PM.
    Tenant shall vacate the Premises upon termination of the Agreement, unless: (i) Landlord and Tenant have extended this
    agreement in writing or signed a new agreement; (ii) mandated by local rent control law; or (iii) Landlord accepts Rent from
    Tenant (other than past due Rent), in which case a month-to-month tenancy shall be created which either party may
    terminate as specified in paragraph 2A. Rent shall be at a rate agreed to by Landlord and Tenant, or as allowed by law. All
    other terms and conditions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.


    From Landlord to Me upon receiving Courtesy Notice:

    The rental agreement calls for 30 days notice prior to vacate, in this case the vacating date will be on 7-3 and the 3 days of July will be prorated accordingly.
    Please make sure you hand me the condo in similar stage as I gave it to you, get it professionally cleaned and all items to be in working condition,,etc., I trust you know what to do according to the lease agreement.

    MY QUESTION: Have I given satisfactory notice to vacate on 6/30?
    If I elected to accept my landlords bidding I would pay him on July 1st (due date) for three days pro-rated rent and it would appear that our current agreement B. Lease would convert to A. Month-to-Month agreement and since (iii) Landlord accepts Rent from Tenant (other than past due Rent), in which case a month-to-month tenancy would be created and I would then be requiread to terminate this new Month-to-Month by giving written notice at lease 30 days prior. Since I have already vacated, my landlord wouild simply keep my security deposit of $1,350. I do not want that to happen.
  • I am an owner of a 2-flat in the city of Chicago, in which

    I am an owner of a 2-flat in the city of Chicago, in which I occupy one of the units. Am I required to pay interest on the security deposit? Also, the lease ( a standard form that my leasing agent used) expired several months ago. My reading of the lease is that it reverts to a month to month if I let it.
    The apartment was rented to two unrelated individuals; no one of them, giving 30 days notice, has informed me he will be leaving. I informed the other individual that I wanted her to move; I gave her 45 days, in a written notice which I handed to her, which she took but refused to sign,to leave. She has a legal responsibility to move,correct? And she is responsible for the full months rent for the apartment, not just half, correct. I'd like to add that the apartment is nice, in good shape, in a desirable neighborhood,rented under market prices.
  • I am purchasing a condo in California but the seller requested

    I am purchasing a condo in California but the seller requested that they remain in the home for up to 30 days after close of escrow. I have filled out a Seller in Possession Addendum C.A.R. form SIP, 11/12 stating that they have up to 29 days to remain in the unit. It also states that local rent control and tenant's rights laws may apply. After the 29 days is up and if the seller is still in the property do I have the right to simply change the locks or would I have to follow a court eviction process? Citations and references regarding similar cases prefered with answer.
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