If I have paid the utilities in the past can I now have the tenant pay and do I need to write up a agreement for this?
No. Assuming your rental unit is covered by City of Los Angeles Rent Stablization Ordinance (RSO), you cannot unilaterally change the terms of the rental agreement, including who pays the utilities.
If you want to confirm that your rental unit is covered by the RSO, you can contact the Los Angeles Housing Department.
However, you should already be registering your rental unit annually with the LAHD, then apply for any exemption from the RSO. If not, you should make sure you register ASAP.
Yes, you may be able to do so (but not unilaterally) but with sufficient notice to the tenant of the change in terms of the tenancy, and so long as the rent increase with the utilities is not prohibited. Although your post indicates the rental dwelling is located within a rent controlled jurisdiction, it is not clear whether the actual rental unit is subject to rent control. Your post also does not indicate whether or not there is currently a lease agreement or rental agreement in place.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.