Room Rentals in Los Angeles Under LARSO
What if I rent a room in the City of Los Angeles in my house built in 1930 – Why am I subject to rent control?
This is a simple question with a complicated answer. More tenants come under Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance [LARSO] than in any other city in California.
The following properties are covered by the LARSO ordinance 1. Apartments; 2. Condos; 3. Townhouses; 4. Duplexes; 5. Two or more single family homes on the same lot; 6. Rooms in a hotel, motel, rooming house or boarding house occupied by the same tenant for 30 or more days; 7. Residential units attached to a commercial building; 8. Mobile homes and recreational vehicles.
The answer to this question can be yes or no depending on (1) was the property built before 1978; (2) does the room have a bathroom and a kitchen; (3) are more than a single room rented out; (3) is the room a boarding house?
A boarding house is a house (frequently a family home) in which lodgers rent one or more rooms for one or more nights, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months, and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied.
The homeowner who rents out one or more rooms in a home located in the City of Los Angeles built before 1978 may have to register with the LARSO if the home qualifies as a boarding house.
If you own the boarding house and are currently living in it, a person renting a single room is called a “lodger” under California law. Lodgers are protected by most laws that protect other renters, but the owner may enter any space the lodger rents due to her status as resident and owner of the property. If the homeowner only rents out a single room that does not have a kitchen or bathroom in that room, you do not have to register with the LARSO.
However, if you have rented out more than one room with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities you will have to register with the LARSO.
In 2003 the Attorney General for the State of California defines a boarding house as a single-family residence that has multiple leased rooms.
As with any important legal consideration regarding your rental property it is essential that you know and follow the laws – LARSO included – or your rental will be considered an illegal rental unit. Renting illegal units to a tenant can leave landlords open to serious legal problems if they have to evict them. The tenant can recover all rent they have paid you for what is considered an illegal contract renting an illegal unit, as well as other civil actions.
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