I own a duplex in Los Angeles. I live in one the units. I need my tenant to vacate in order for my son and his family to move into the unit. I know that I need to pay the tenant's relocation fees and file the necessary forms with the Los Angeles Housing Dept. Is there anything else I should know or do?
Yes, in which case you will need to evict her with an unlawful detainer action.
Whether a new owner of property must pay relocation assistance depends, first, upon whether the property is subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). To be under the RSO, the following three criteria must be met:
1) Property located within the City of Los Angeles;
2) Two or more units on the lot; and
3) Building must have Certificate of Occupancy issued on or before October 1, 1978.
The RSO protects tenants from arbitrary evictions and permits only twelve legal reasons for eviction. Lenders and their agents violate the RSO when they attempt to evict tenants on the basis of foreclosure or in anticipation of the sale of the property. The sale or foreclosure of a residential rental property is NOT one of the twelve legal reasons for eviction under the RSO.
If a tenant is residing in a Los Angeles City rent-controlled unit with "just cause" eviction protections, the tenant cannot be forced to leave just because the landlord sold the building or lost it in foreclosure. Note of course the tenant must still continue to pay rent on time.
Under the RSO, tenants evicted for "no fault" reasons (which includes a foreclosure or sale) are entitled to relocation assistance of at least $7,300 if the tenant resided in the unit for less than 3 years, and $9,650 if the tenant has resided in the unit for 3 years or more. If the rental unit is occupied by a qualified tenant (senior citizen, disabled adult, or dependent child), the qualified tenant is entitled to $15,500 if the qualified tenant resided in the unit for less than 3 years, and $18,300 if the tenant has resided in the unit for 3 years or more.
It might make a difference if the new owner is a private owner versus a bank. A lower amount of relocation assistance is required for "mom and pop" properties (4 units or less) where the owner is seeking to occupy the premises, or to move in a resident manager and the owner does not own any other tenant occupied structures. If so, eligible tenants are only entitled to $7,000 and a qualified tenants are only entitled to $14,000 in relocation assistance.
If the RSO applies and the new owner opts to evict the existing tenants, the new owner must pay the existing tenants any required relocation assistance within 15 days of being served the eviction notice
Rental properties (except mobile homes and mobile home pads) with a Certificate of Occupancy issued after October 1, 1978 (new construction) are exempt from the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance. (Los Angeles Municipal Code section 151.02.) However, exemptions must be asserted annually. Even if the rental units are exempt from the RSO, you may still need to pay the annual Systematic Code Enforcement Program fees (which is $35.52 per rental unit). Unless specifically exempted from RSO registration, an owner cannot legally collect from a tenant unless the owner has paid the annual rent registration fee and provided a copy of a valid registration statement to the tenant. Tenants may raise the non-payment of RSO registration and/or Systematic Code Enforcement Program fees by the owner as an affirmative defense against eviction of the tenant. For more information, see:
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
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