Assuming the dwelling units are required to be registered with the Los Angeles Housing Department, there is a strong argument that the maximum rent the landlord may collect is $0.00 under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) and must refund all illegally collected rent. For more information, please Carter v. Cohen, 188 Cal.App.4th 1038 (2010). In Carter, I successfully represented a tenant that lived in an unpermitted and unregistered garage conversion.
Further, you should contact the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and the Los Angeles Housing Department to file a complaint. If it is unpermitted and unregistered, they may require the landlord to pay you relocation fees before you can be evicted. In addition, failure to comply with the Los Angeles Rent Stablization Ordinance is a possible affirmative defense to an Unlawful Detainer. Finally, you may be able to recover the illegally collected rent and reasonable attorney fees under the RSO.
Alternatively, you might pursue a claim for the diminished value of your premises and the cost of moving. The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides an excellent guide:
Finally, in addition to either remedy, under Civil Code Section 789 . 3, you can seek damages of $100.00 per day if your landlord intended to cause you to vacate the premises by cutting off your refrigeration.
Contact a landlord tenant attorney in your area. You can also call the health department and the rent control board - some parts of Los Angeles are subject to rent control.
It sounds like you have an Unlawful Eviction and Constructive Eviction cause of action, but not sure on the premesis liablity. The Boarding house must have caused some form of damages (physically) to you or your family. Notice issues to the LL are also required to prevail on a premesis liability matter. I am not sure how the LL cut off your cable TV, or Fridge. Usually, a tenant subsribes direclty to local utilities and cable.
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