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Landlord foreclosed on. Can new owners evict with 90-day notice or does RSO/LA City law offer protection?

Los Angeles, CA |

All tenants are on month-to-month tenancies, the original one-year leases having already converted. New ownership of the property is not one of the RSO's 12 legal reasons to evict. Does the RSO/local law supersede CA and federal laws? Can we be forced out?

We're in the City of LA and covered by the RSO.

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Attorney answers 1


Nope. The Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (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 that as the tenant, you must still continue to pay rent on time.

Under the RSO, tenants evicted for "no fault" reasons (which includes a foreclosure) 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.

In conclusion, if the new owner/lender opts to evict the existing tenants, the foreclosing owner/lender must still provide the tenant with 90 days written notice. But in addition, the foreclosing owner/lender must also pay the existing tenants any required relocation assistance within 15 days of being served the eviction notice.

The Los Angeles City Council voted to extend the ban on banks and other lending institutions from evicting a tenant in a foreclosed property (even a single family residence) through December 31, 2012.

See also the bulletin at:

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. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.



Thanks! Extremely thorough and helpful! Could you clear up one thing: tenants are entitled to refuse the relocation assistance and stay in the unit indefinitely, correct?