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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Attorney
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Is the landlord allowed to raise my rent by 50% to the

Customer Question

Is the landlord allowed to raise my rent by 50% to the market rate if my roommate, who is the original tenant, moves out? I live in a rent stabilized apartment in the City of Los Angeles and my roommate is moving out after 8 years living in the apartment. I want to stay, and I have lived here for 2 years. When I moved in, I paid an application fee with the landlord and signed a roommate addendum specifically stating that I am a roommate and not on the lease. However, over the past 3 months, I've paid the rent by check and the landlord has accepted it. We knew that my roommate was moving out and thought this might be a way to prove that I'm an 'Active Tenant' with equal rights to the property as my roommate who is the original tenant, if that is such a thing.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
The Los Angeles Rent Control Ordinance only allows a landlord to remove a subtenant who was NOT approved by the landlord if the primary tenant moves out. I mention that because, if he were allowed to ask you to move, he could raise the rent as much as he wanted. But you're a subtenant approved by the landlord. The agreement you signed that you're not on the lease doesn't change the fact that you're still legally considered a subtenant and that you were approved.
Since you're approved, he has to renew your lease, and he can't increase your rent more than he could have if your roommate stayed. If he tries, you can have a local attorney send him a letter explaining why that's not allowed, or the Rent Control Board may be able to help.
The landlord COULD have raised the rent 10% when you moved in two years ago. If you get a new roommate, he's allowed to raise the rent 10% when the new roommate moves in. And if he increased the rent 10% when you moved in, he actually has to lower it 10% because your roommate is moving out.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Lucy,
Thank you for linking to the section of the Rent Stabilization Board 10% rent increase. The landlord did not raise the rent by 10% when I moved in because another roommate was moving out.Do you have a link to the law that says "The Los Angeles Rent Control Ordinance only allows a landlord to remove a subtenant who was NOT approved by the landlord if the primary tenant moves out." ?( doesn't seem to allow me to paste a copy of the Notice of Occupant Change, or The Addition of Another Occupant contrant I signed 2 years ago, so here is the text of it:)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
After submission and approval of an application to rent, as required by all prospective occupants, the following changes to the tenancy for apartment (number) at (address) are request:NEW CO-OCUPANT: (Me)
VACATING TENANT: (person who used to live in my bedroom before me)EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS CHANGE: 6/12/13CHANGE OF OCCUPANT:
If any of the original tenants vacate and the remaining tenant desires to bring in a new co-occupant, the co-occupant shall be a subtenant of the original Lessee(s). If the original occupant(s) who took possession of the dwelling unit pursuant to the rental agreement with the owner no longer reside(s) there, an owner may increase the rent by any amount to a lawful subtenant, sublessee or assignee who did not reside at the dwelling or unit prior to January 1, 1996. Civil Code, Sec. 1954.53(2)It is understood that when the last original tenant of this lease vacates, all remaining occupants will vacate, or, upon prior approval from the Landlord, a new lease/rental agreement may become effective, or , if the landlord is not advised of other tenant/occupant changes and later learns of any changes, all tenants are subject to immediate legal action that could result in the eviction of all tenants.(signatures of me, my roommate, and the landlord)
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I simply restated the text of the ordinance, which says a landlord can terminate a lease if the only remaining tenant is a subtenant who was not approved. Again, if he can terminate the lease, he can raise the rent as much as he wants. And if he can't terminate the lease, he has to follow rent control regulations. It's the same link I gave you originally.
That civil code section applies to areas that don't have rent controls. Local rent control ordinances override it.