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Los Angeles Rent Control for Beginners

Rent Control is overseen by the Los Angeles Housing Department – their web address is: www.lahd.lacity.org

Information from LAHD on rent stabilization ordancence (RSO) can be found here:


All buildings that have two or more units in the city of Los Angeles built before 1978 are under rent control. Why the seemingly arbitrary year or 1978? Because that is when the Los Angeles Rent Control Ordinance was passed.

How do I know if my property is located in the city of Los Angeles?

Area’s in tan are city of Los Angeles, white areas are private cities or unincorporated areas of Los Angeles

View the LA City Boundary Map. If your two more unit property is within the boundaries of LA City and built before 1978 then you are subject to Los Angeles rent control. One thing you will notice from the map, is that there is no rhyme or reason to the shape of the city. I think its shape looks like a drum stick. Cities were annexed into the city of Los Angeles piece meal over the last 100 years. Review the boundary map to determine whether the subject property is within the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles.

Notable exclusions to the city of Los Angeles on the Westside are: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City, and West Hollywood. These are separate municipalities and have their own rent control laws. (Santa Monica has one of the strictest  rent control laws in the country, Beverly Hills has one of the most lenient, Culver City has no rent control).Unincorporated area of Los Angeles are part of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County has no rent control.

Burbank and Glendale are both separate municipalities.

Los Angeles boundary Map not accurate enough? Expert tip: Log onto the Los Angeles GIS system know as Zimas http://www.zimas.lacity.org/ and type in the property address. If a no results screen comes up in Zimas, it is not in the city of LA. Every property in the city of LA is in Zimas Database.

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Rent Control places a limit on the amount landlords can legally raise rents each year. The increase amount is based on the Consumer Price Index. The yearly percentage can be no lower than 3% and no higher than 8%. Below is a table of the annual percentage rate for the last eight years:

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*It is important to note that if you don’t use your annual rent increase you lose it. So Rent Control units that have not had their rent raised in many years, can’t have rents raised retroactively. This is why you will see many rent control units with below market rents. Unfortunately for the new owner there is very little you can do to get those below market rents to current market, except arrange a vacancy agreement and pay the tenants to leave.

-I know what you may be thinking, well couldn’t you just evict the under market tenants and raise rent to current market? The answer is no- Rent Control Stipulates 12 legal reasons for evictions. Evicting a tenant to raise the rent is not a legal reason and would be considered an unlawful eviction. In addition, some reasons for eviction require relocation assistance, which can be quite a large expense (anywhere from $7,000 to $18,000 depending on the circumstances.

Read LAHDs “landlord tenant handbook” to learn rent control in detail.


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