Los Angeles, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Can my landlord raise the rent more than 10% if he sells the property?

My roommate is leaving our apt, so I am taking over as primary tenant. It was an at-will, month to month agreement, but he did sign a lease prior to me moving in 3 years ago.

Our landlord is selling the hotel which the apt is connected to. He has an agreement in place with the buyers to raise the rent from $2600 to $3000 for a year long lease. He claims he would do the same even if the sale doesn’t go through. I’ve been given 30 days notice of all this over the phone.

What sort of recourse do I have here?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, there are specific regulations governing rent increases, particularly for month-to-month tenancies. If your landlord intends to raise the rent by more than 10%, they are required to provide you with at least 90 days' written notice. This rule applies regardless of any change in property ownership. Given your situation, where the rent increase from $2600 to $3000 represents more than a 10% hike, the 30 days' notice provided over the phone does not meet legal requirements.

Furthermore, if your apartment falls under any local rent control ordinances, there may be additional restrictions on how much the rent can be increased and the required notice period. These ordinances often provide greater protections than statewide regulations, limiting rent increases to a certain percentage annually.

In response to the notice of rent increase and the change in lease terms, you have the right to seek legal advice to understand your options fully. This may include negotiating with the landlord or the new owners for more favorable terms or contesting the rent increase if it violates local or state laws. Additionally, consider reaching out to a local tenants' rights organization for guidance and support in navigating this situation.

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