California does not have statewide rent control laws; rather, they are creatures of ordinances that are enacted by local municipalities. Although there are oftentimes similarities in how locales approach rent stabilization, the rules vary from city to city and generally includes rent increases limits and eviction restrictions. Some cities' rent controls require relocation assistance to be paid to tenants under certain circumstances, and interest on security deposits.

We touch briefly on some locales here. If you have questions, contact our office for informed advice.

Los Angeles

With buying out of reach for most Angelenos, residents face some of the highest rents in the nation. The City of Los Angeles attempts make the cost of rental units more affordable by protecting tenants from excessive rent increases while allowing landlords to increase each year by a fair amount.

If your duplex, triplex or apartment building was built and occupied before October 1, 1978, it is subject to the city's Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The ordinance limits annual rent increases between 3 and 8 percent and is tied to the Consumer Price Index. In most cases, tenants can only be evicted when they are at fault – for instance, if they have missed payments or violated the terms of their lease agreement.

Reasons to evict →
Check the date of construction of your building →
Buying out tenants in Los Angeles →


Santa Monica

Santa Monica likewise ushered in rent control rules to alleviate the housing deficit and to ensure owners received no more than a fair return. Like Los Angeles, Santa Monica tenants can only be evicted for “just cause.”

The city also controls the amount that may continue to be charged, and provides a recourse for tenants to collect any excess rent paid to the landlord. The Rent Board determines which amenities and services are included in the rent and offers remedies for removal or reduction of those amenities and services. Rental property owners also have limitations on removing of rent-controlled units from the market.

If your residential rental building was constructed prior to April 10, 1979, you are likely subject to the rules.

Summary of regulations →
Maximum allowable rent →
Santa Monica fault-based and no-fault based evictions →


West Hollywood

The City of West Hollywood has been in effect since June 27, 1985 and it can be best delineated by three sections. One governs Maximum Allowable Rent, while the eviction code sets the grounds for eviction. Finally, the eviction code includes a subsection establishing the actions which could be illegal attempts to get a tenant to vacate the unit (Harrassment Code).

Rent control applies to properties with more than one dwelling unit that received their original Certificate of Occupancy before July 1, 1979. It also applies to properties with only one dwelling unit whose original Certificate of Occupancy was issued before July 1, 1979 and whose current tenants moved in before January 1, 1996. Yet, there are some properties that are covered only by the Ordinance's Eviction and Harassment Sections.

Rent Stabilization Guide →
Maximum Allowable Rent →
Just cause evictions permitted →


Unincorporated communities in Los Angeles

There is a battle waging in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles after supervisors voted 4-1 to limit rent increases to 3 percent per year. View a map to see affected communities.

This was a temporary measure and will be revisited in November. The so-called rent freeze, if approved, will cap annual rent increases at 3 percent a year for six months, using today's rent levels as the baseline. This baseline, proponents say, is essential to stopping landlords from steep rent hikes ahead of the final adoption.

For more information, visit our article on this subject.



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