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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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