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Rent Control: City Of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

The City of West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance caps annual rent increases to a certain small percentage to protect tenants from excessive rent increases and limits evictions to only those reasons allowed under the law to guard tenants from unjust terminations.  The ordinance also provides relocation to tenants for no-fault evictions, regulates buyouts, and shields tenants from landlord retaliation and harassment. 

Are landlords required to register their residential rental units under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Yes.  Unless the property has received an exemption, all properties must be registered.   W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.28.010.  Landlords must also re-register the property when it has been re-rented and when there is a change of ownership or management.  Id.  A landlord who fails to register their property may not impose a rent increase.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.28.040.   If the rent was illegally increased, once the landlord complies with the registering procedures, pays the unpaid registration fees and penalties, and pays the affected tenant the overpaid amount of rent, not to exceed more than three years before the filing date of the registration form or petition for rent adjustment by the tenant, the landlord may increase the tenant’s rent in compliance with the ordinance.  Id.

Are landlords required to notify their tenants about the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Yes.  Landlords are required to notify all tenants at the beginning of their tenancy by proving a written notice of their rights and a copy of the ordinance.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.28.060.  The notice must also be included with any rent increase notice.  Id.  In addition, for buildings that have five or more units, the notice must be displayed in a conspicuous place in a common area.  Id.

Can a tenant waive their rights under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

No.  Terms in a lease or rental agreement, whether verbal or written, that waive or modify a tenant’s rights under the ordinance are against public policy and void.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.32.070.  


Allowable Rent Increases Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

What units are protected by the rent-ceiling limitations of the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Unless it falls under one of the following exemptions below, all multi-unit buildings built before July 1, 1979, are protected under the ordinance: 

  • Single-family homes and condominiums unless the tenancy began before January 1, 1996.
  • Hospitals, convents, monasteries, extended care medical facilities, asylums, nonprofit homes for the elderly, and fraternities, sororities, or housing owned, operated, or managed by an educational institution for its students.
  • Boarding houses where rooms are rented in an owner-occupied, single-family home or condominium where the owner shares a kitchen or a bathroom with the tenants
  • Government-owned housing
  • Section 8 housing
  • Government-subsidized housing
  • Most hotels, motels, inns, and boarding and rooming houses where the stay is less than thirty days
  • Nonprofit housing units
  • Units where the owner or their relative (spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or child) resides as their principal residence
  • Units withdrawn from the rental market for non-rental, common-area purposes, such as to create a laundry room or community room.
  • Single-family homes and condominiums where the unit has been continuously occupied by the owner for at least two years as their principal place of residence.  An owner may take only one exemption of this type, which is permanent, except that the unit is not exempt from the just-cause and anti-harassment provisions of the ordinance.
  • Units found to be uninhabitable by an authorized government authority such as the Building and Safety Department, Fire Department, Health Department, Code Compliance or other authorized governmental agency.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.24.010.

Most of the exemptions under the ordinance require the owner to apply with the Rent Stabilization Commission (“RSC”) for approval.  Id. 

Does my tenancy fall under the State of California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 or the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance for purposes of rent control?

The rent-ceiling protections under the State of California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“California Rent Control”) apply to all units in the City of West Hollywood that are not covered by the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinanceand that otherwise meet the requirements of state rent control.  In general, the city’s rent-ceiling protections apply to buildings with two or more units that have a certificate of occupancy issued before July 1, 1979.  If your West Hollywood building was built after this date or is one of the exempt buildings under the city’s ordinance, please read our guide to determine if your unit is covered by State of California Rent Control rent caps.

How much can my rent be increased under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

As of this writing, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a rent increase may not be imposed until 60 days after the local state of emergency is lifted, which is in effect through January 1, 2022.  Once increases are permitted, most tenants’ rent may be raised 3% under the 2021/2022 annual adjustment.  However, tenants who moved into their unit before 1996 and tenants who moved into their units between 1996 and 1998 may be subject to a different rent increase calculation depending on the history of increases and whether the tenant is paying more than or less than the maximum allowable rent.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.32.010.  Tenants that moved in during these time periods should speak with a tenant attorney or contact the RSC to determine what rent increase amount applies to their tenancy upon the expiration of the rent-increase freeze.  Tenants can also check the West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Department website.

Are landlords allowed to “bank” rent increases under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A “banked” rent increase is an increase that is not taken annually but is imposed by the landlord later.  Landlords are allowed to bank increases only for tenancies that began prior to January 1, 1996, and for the time period between September 1, 1985, and August 31, 1996.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.08.010.

Can landlords who provide utility services to their tenants increase the rent more than the allowable annual adjustment under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Yes.  If the landlord is providing utilities such as gas and electricity, the landlord may increase the rent by an additional one-half percent of rent for each utility provided.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.36.040.

Does the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance regulate security deposits?

State law governs how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.  A landlord may charge a tenant up to two times the rental amount for an unfurnished unit and up to three times for a furnished unit.  Cal. Civ. Code § 1950.5. 

Under the city’s ordinance, if a landlord must use some of the deposit for damages caused by the tenant, the landlord can request that amount to be replenished.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.32.020.  Also, a landlord may collect a pet deposit up to one month’s rent, but in no event can the total deposit exceed the maximum allowed by state law.  Id. 

A landlord in West Hollywood must pay interest on a tenant’s security deposit.  Id.

Can a landlord increase a tenant’s rent under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance for adding a roommate?

No.  A landlord cannot increase a tenant’s rent based on the addition of a roommate when the landlord consents to the addition or when the new tenant added is a tenant’s spouse, domestic partner, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, non-dependent child or grandchild, dependent minor child, or a physician-certified, full-time, live-in medical assistant.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.32.040. 

Also, in West Hollywood when a tenant’s lease allows at least two occupants in the unit, the landlord may not unreasonably withhold consent for a one-for-one roommate replacement.  Id. 

What types of fees are landlords allowed to charge tenants under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Landlords may pass through half of the annual registration fee to their tenants.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.28.030

In addition, a landlord may also charge the following fees to a tenant:

  • If the lease has a late-fee provision, the fee for late payment of rent can only be imposed after the fifth day following the due date and cannot exceed one percent of the monthly rent.
  • A fee for a “bounced” check cannot exceed the actual amount charged by the bank for returning the check.
  • A fee for replacing a key or a security card cannot exceed the landlord’s actual cost for replacement.
  • A credit-check or application fee for prospective tenants must comply with California Civil Code Section 1950.6.   W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.32.030.

Tenants cannot waive the above limits on fees under the ordinance.  Id.

What types of petitions may be filed under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Both tenants and landlords may file a petition with the RSC for an adjustment in rent.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.44.010.  Tenants may file a petition to decrease their rent based on failure to perform required maintenance and reduction in housing services.  Id.  Tenants may also file a petition to establish the maximum allowable rent for a unit, for a refund for an illegal rent increase, or any other grounds warranting a reduction.  Id.  Landlords may file a petition to establish the amount of the maximum allowable rent, to establish a reduction in the maximum allowable rent based upon a discontinuance or substantial reduction in housing services, or file a petition to achieve a just and reasonable return based on their net operating income.  Id. 


Just-Cause Eviction Protections Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Which units have just-cause eviction protections under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A landlord must have a just-cause reason under the ordinance to terminate a tenancy.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  Eviction protection under the ordinance applies to almost all residential units regardless of when the property was built and includes single-family homes, condominiums, new construction, and tenants receiving Section 8 benefits.  Id.

Does my tenancy fall under the State of California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 or the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance for purposes of just-cause for eviction protections?

The just-cause eviction protections under the State of California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“California Rent Control”) apply to all units in the City of West Hollywood that are not covered by the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinanceand that otherwise meet the requirements of state rent control.  In general, the city’s just-cause protections apply to almost all units in West Hollywood.  If your unit does not fall under the city’s ordinance, please read our guide to determine if your unit is covered by the State of California Rent Control just-cause eviction protections.

What are the just-cause reasons for eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A tenant may not be forced to leave their home unless there is a just-cause reason to terminate their tenancy.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  Below are the just-cause reasons to terminate a tenancy under the ordinance.

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Substantial and material breach of the rental agreement. The following are not considered a substantial and material breach: 
    • Staying in the unit after the expiration of the lease term.
    • Refusing to pay rent in excess of the maximum allowed amount.
    • A tenant’s spouse, domestic partner, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, or non-dependent child or grandchild, or dependent minor child has moved into the unit.
    • A physician-certified, full-time, live-in medical assistant has moved into the unit.
    • Adding a pet under if certain conditions are met. 
  3. Original tenant has vacated. If the original tenant vacates the unit, an additional person who has occupied the unit pursuant to just-cause number 2 above can be evicted unless the additional person lived in the unit with the original tenant for at least one year and the original tenant has vacated the unit due to death or incapacitation.  This exception does not apply to the physician-certified, full-time, live-in medical assistant. 
  4. Permitting or committing a nuisance.
  5. Using or permitting the unit to be used for illegal purposes.
  6. Refusal of the tenant after written request from the landlord to renew the lease agreement by signing an extension or renewal that is for similar terms as the prior lease and that contains terms that are consistent with the ordinance.
  7. Refusal to provide reasonable access of the unit to the landlord.
  8. Unapproved subtenant residing in the unit after the original tenant has vacated.  Family members listed in number 2 above are not considered subtenants.
  9. Occupant is the resident manager or employee who has been provided housing as a part of their employment and the employment has been terminated.
  10. Resident manager eviction. When a preexisting tenant becomes a resident manager in a building where a resident manager is required by law, but subsequently becomes unable or unwilling to continue performing their duties or fails to perform the duties required in a satisfactory manner, and there is no other existing tenant willing or qualified to assume the duties of resident manager, and there is no vacant unit which could be used by a new resident manager, a unit may be vacated through an eviction to place the new resident manager into that unit. This eviction is subject to the following conditions:
    • Only one such eviction will be permitted;
    • The city has received written notice of the tenancy termination;
    • The tenant to be evicted is not a senior citizen, disabled, or terminally ill, and must be the most recent tenant to occupy a unit of the size and amenities required for the resident manager; and
    • The landlord has given the tenant a minimum of 60 days’ written notice of tenancy termination along with the required relocation fee.
  11. Sublet due to a temporary absence of a tenant from their principal place of residence.  The parties must have entered into a written agreement at the beginning of the tenancy and the agreement must have been signed by both parties.  The subtenant is entitled to 60 days’ written notice of the tenant’s intention to reoccupy the unit.  If the tenant is unable to return at the end of the specified term because of work-related reasons, the tenant may extend the period of absence with a written notice to the subtenant at least 30 days prior to the end of the sublessee’s tenancy.
  12. The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the unit for their own occupancy, or for the landlord’s spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild’s occupancy.  (Owner or relative move-in eviction)
  13. The landlord must correct building violations, has obtained the necessary permits, and the work cannot be performed while the unit is occupied.
  14. Foreclosure of a single-family home or condominium by the new owner if certain conditions are met.
  15. The landlord is removing all units in the building from the rental market.  (Ellis Act eviction)
  16. Owner lives in the building but must transfer units due to a medical need certified by a licensed physician. The landlord must offer the evicted tenant the landlord’s unit.  A tenant evicted through this just-cause must be the most recent tenant to occupy a unit of the size and amenities required by the landlord.
  17. Tenant resides in an inclusionary housing unit (affordable housing unit) and has exceeded the maximum allowable income as determined by the city, by more than fifty percent for at least two consecutive years.
  18. Demolition of rental units owned by a nonprofit organization to construct new low-income and moderate-income housing.
  19. Tenant fails to obtain renter’s insurance as required by their lease, if the lease provision is in 12-point, bold-faced type and the lease has a statement signed by the tenant that they agree to have renter’s insurance.  Id.

What are the requirements for an owner- or relative-move-in eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

An owner must comply with the following requirements to evict a tenant for an owner or relative move-in:

  • The owner must be a natural person (not a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, association, or trust company).
  • The owner must own at least 50% of the building.
  • The owner or their relative plans in good faith to live in the property for at least one year.
  • The owner or their relative must move in within 90 days of the tenant vacating the unit.
  • There are no vacant comparable units that the owner or their relative can move into.  If a comparable unit becomes available during the notice period, the landlord must rescind the notice.
  • The unit the landlord or their relative plans to occupy must be one that is occupied by the most recent tenant to move into the building and the unit has the number of bedrooms needed by the landlord.
  • Only one owner or relative move-in is allowed in a building in a six-year period unless the property is a duplex.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  If two people purchase a duplex and they each own 50% of the building, each owner may evict a tenant to occupy the unit as their principal place of residence.  Id.

Am I protected from an owner or relative move-in eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Tenants who are certified by a physician as terminally ill cannot be evicted for an owner or relative move-in.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010. 

How much notice am I entitled to for an owner or relative move-in under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Tenants are entitled to a 60 days’ written notice to terminate their tenancy for a relative or owner move-in.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.

Do I have a right to re-occupy my unit if my landlord re-rents it during the one-year period after I vacate due to an owner or relative move-in under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

If the unit is offered for rent within the one-year period, the landlord is required to notify the city in writing at least 30 days before re-renting the unit, offer the unit at the same rental rate the evicted tenant was paying plus any allowable adjustments, and if the evicted tenant had previously notified the landlord of their desire to re-rent the unit, the landlord must offer the unit back to that tenant first before putting it on the market.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.

What are the requirements a landlord must follow to do an Ellis Act eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

An Ellis Act eviction requires the landlord to withdraw all rental units in a building from the rental market.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  If there is more than one building on a parcel of land and each building contains four or more units, the landlord can choose to withdraw all units in one or more of the buildings.  Id.  The landlord is required to first file a Notice of Intent to Withdraw with the city and with the county prior to serving the tenants a notice of termination.  Id.

How much notice am I entitled to for an Ellis Act eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Tenants are entitled to a 120-days’ notice unless they are a protected tenant, which would entitle the tenant to a one-year extension.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.

Am I protected from an Ellis Act eviction under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Generally, tenants are not protected from an Ellis Act eviction, but a tenant may be entitled to a longer notice period.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  If you are at least 62 years old or are disabled as defined in Cal. Gov. Code § 12955.3 and have resided in your rental unit for at least one year, you may be entitled to a one-year extension.  Id.  To request the extension, you must provide the landlord with a written notice within 60 days of the landlord filing the intent to withdraw with the city that you qualify for the extension.  Id.  The landlord may choose to extend the withdrawal date up to one year for the other tenants in the building.  Id.

If I am evicted through an Ellis Act eviction and my landlord intends to re-rent my unit, do I have a right to reoccupy it under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

After the receipt of the notice to terminate, tenants must notify the landlord within 30 days of their interest to re-rent the unit if the unit is offered for rent in the future.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  A copy of the notice should also be provided to the city.  Id.

If the units are offered for rent within two years after the withdrawal, the landlord is required to notify the city in writing at least 30 days before re-renting the unit, offer the unit at the same rental rate the evicted tenant was paying plus any allowable adjustments, and if the evicted tenant had timely notified the landlord of their desire to re-rent the unit, the landlord must offer the unit back to that tenant first before putting it on the market.  Id.  In addition, the tenant and the city may sue the landlord for damages resulting from the displacement.  Id.

If the units are offered for rent within five years after the withdrawal, the landlord is required to notify the city in writing at least 30 days before re-renting the unit, offer the unit at the same rental rate the evicted tenant was paying plus any allowable adjustments, and if the evicted tenant had timely notified the landlord of their desire to re-rent the unit, the landlord must offer the unit back to that tenant first before putting it on the market.  Id  

If the units are offered for rent between five to ten years after the withdrawal, there is no restriction on rental rate, but the landlord must offer the units back to the tenants that timely notified the landlord of their desire to return if the units were offered for rent.  Id.  If the landlord fails to offer the unit back to the tenant, the tenant may sue the landlord for punitive damages of up to six months’ rent.  Id.

What are the requirements for an owner to evict after a foreclosure under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A tenant may be evicted from a single-family home or condominium after a foreclosure.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  The following conditions must be met for such an eviction:

  • The landlord commences the eviction process no more than thirty days after perfecting title under the sale.
  • The tenant to be evicted took occupancy of the unit after the date the mortgage was recorded.
  • The tenant is provided with 90 days’ written notice of termination of tenancy and relocation benefits in accordance with the city’s ordinance.
  • A copy of the termination notice is sent to the RSC at the same time that it is provided to the tenant.
  • If the unit is re-rented, the rent shall not exceed the previous maximum allowable rent, plus any allowed adjustments.  Id.

Can my landlord take away my parking space under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

No.  If a landlord provides a parking space on the property to a tenant on or after January 1, 2004, the parking space becomes part of the rented premises and may not be severed unless the tenant voluntarily agrees to the severance in writing.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.120.  If the spot is taken away, the tenant may file for a rent reduction for the value of the space until it is returned.  Id.  Failure for the landlord to return the space or to negotiate with the tenant to provide an alternate space on the property could subject the landlord to criminal prosecution and the city may bring an action for an injunction.  Id. 

Can my landlord change the terms of my tenancy under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

No.  Any notice to change the terms of a tenancy, except for an allowable rent increase, must be agreed to in writing by the tenant and signed by both parties.   W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.130.  The tenant’s agreement is not required when the notice pertains to a change in terms about noise, failure to control pets, or other similar conduct that disturbs the quiet enjoyment of other tenants in the building.  Id. 

Can I have a pet under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A tenant who is 62 years old or older, disabled, or is living with HIV/AIDS may add up to two pets to their unit if the pets are either dogs, cats, or birds that weigh no more than 35 pounds, the tenant does not reside in a condominium, and the tenant pays an additional deposit that is no more than 25% of the security deposit. W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010.  Also, a tenant may replace a pet if it is the same type and number of pets previously allowed.  Id.   A tenant cannot be evicted for adding a pet under one of these conditions because the addition is not considered a substantial and material breach of the lease.  Id.

Tenants should note that different laws apply if the tenant has an emotional support or service animal (ESA).  Tenants that have an emotional support or service animal should contact a tenant lawyer to discuss their rights.


No-Fault Eviction Relocation Benefits Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

When is a tenant entitled to relocation benefits under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Tenants who are evicted for a no-fault reason such as an owner or relative move-in, an Ellis Act eviction, an eviction for a certified medical reason, foreclosure, or for the landlord to correct building violations are entitled to relocation benefits under the ordinance.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.020.

How much are the relocation benefits under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Relocation benefits under the ordinance are calculated by either unit size, household income, or household type.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.020.

Relocation based on unit size effective through June 2022:

Studio1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms3 or More Bedrooms
$7,911$11,171$15,048$19,858

Relocation based on household income effective through June 2022:

CategoryIncomeRelocation Amount
Moderate-Income Households (California Health and Safety Code Section 50093)1-person household = $66251 – $99,377 2-person household = $75701 – $113,552 3-person household = $85,151 – $127,727    $20,943
Low-Income Households (California Health and Safety Code Section 50079.5)1-person household = up to $66,250 2-person household = up to $75,700 3-person household = up to $85,150    $26,372

Relocation based on household type (“qualifying tenant”) through June 2022:

If one of the tenants in the household is 62 years old or older, disabled, terminally ill, or has at least one dependent minor residing in the unit, the household is entitled to the qualifying tenant amount.  The qualifying tenant household relocation amount is $20,943.


Buyout Agreements Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

What is a buyout agreement under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A buyout agreement is a written agreement where a landlord and a tenant agree for the landlord to pay the tenant money to voluntarily move out of their rent-controlled unit. 

What requirements must be followed for a landlord to offer a tenant a buyout under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Before making a buyout offer, the landlord must provide the tenant with a pre-buyout disclosure form explaining the tenant’s rights under the ordinance.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.140.  Tenants have a right to not enter into a buyout, to consult with an attorney, seek information from the rent board, and rescind (cancel) the buyout agreement up to thirty days after it is fully executed.  Id.

Buyout agreements must be in writing that is in the primary language of the tenant and must be provided to each tenant at least ten business days before executed.  Id.  The agreement must also contain specific required language in bold letters in at least 14-point type near the tenant’s signature line regarding the tenant’s rights.  Id.  The fully executed agreement must be filed with the city no less than 31 days after and within 60 days of the agreement being signed by all parties and a copy must be provided to the tenant.  Id.


Required Maintenance Standards Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

What are the required maintenance standards under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

At a minimum, landlords shall:

  • Paint the unit once every four years.
  • Provide window coverings and carpet of comparable quality once every seven years.
  • Keep the property maintained in accordance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes.
  • Provide new vinyl floor covering or linoleum of comparable quality once every seven years.
  • Provide new wallpaper of comparable quality once every seven years.
  • Maintain in good working order all appliances provided by the landlord such as heating devices, air conditioners, plumbing, refrigerators, stoves, elevators, washing machines and dryers, and dishwashers.
  • Provide new carpet and draperies or window coverings once every seven years for common areas, and paint once every four years.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.56.010.

If the landlord fails to do any of the above after a written request from a tenant, the tenant may file a petition with the rent board to force the landlord to comply.  Id.  The landlord may defend the petition under a claim that the maintenance is unnecessary, and the rent board may order a cleaning of the items rather than replacement.  Id.   If the rent board finds that the maintenance must be done and the landlord still does not comply within three months of the board’s decision, the tenant may do the maintenance, if reasonable to do so, after providing the landlord with a 30-day notice of their intent.  The tenant will then be entitled to a rent reduction until they are fully reimbursed for their out-of-pocket costs.  Id.

The landlord is also responsible for any reasonable movement of furniture necessary to perform the above maintenance and repairs.  Id.  

What are the requirements for a landlord to maintain a resident manager on the premises under City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

An onsite resident manager is required for all buildings that have sixteen or more units and that do not have an owner residing on the property.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.56.010.  The manager, or owner if they reside on the property, is required to be available at least four hours a day during regular business hours (between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) to respond to tenant concerns.  Id.  A schedule of availability must be posted at or near each entrance to the building, and all buildings with five or more units must have an emergency telephone number posted at or near the entrance to the building.  Id. 


Retaliation And Harassment Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

What units are covered under the retaliation and anti-harassment sections of the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Protection from landlord retaliation and harassment under the ordinance applies to all residential units regardless of when the property was built and includes single-family homes, condominiums, new construction, and tenants receiving Section 8 benefits.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.010. 

What behavior is prohibited as retaliation by a landlord under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

The city ordinance presumes that a landlord is acting retaliatory if they terminate a tenant, refuse to renew a tenancy, or force the tenant to leave their home within 180 days of the date that the tenant exercised their rights under the ordinance, and the tenant is not in default on their rent.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.040.  This presumption is a rebuttable one.  Id.

What behavior is prohibited as harassment by a landlord under the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

Tenant harassment includes but is not limited to “conduct done with an intent to vex, annoy, injure, or intimidate a tenant.”  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.090. 

In the City of West Hollywood, landlords are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  1. Reduce or eliminate housing services.
  2. Reduce maintenance or fail to perform and timely complete necessary repairs or maintenance.                
  3. Abuse the right to enter the unit, which includes: entries for general inspections that are not related to necessary repairs, entries excessive in number, entries that target certain tenants or used to collect evidence against anyone living in the unit,  entries that interfere with a tenant’s right to privacy, including entering  to photograph parts of the unit that are beyond the scope of a lawful entry or inspection, or entries beyond the scope of what is lawful.
  4. Engage in abusive conduct toward a tenant using offensive words that are likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction from the tenant.
  5. Entice the tenant to vacate through an intentional misrepresentation or the concealment of a material fact.
  6. Threaten a tenant with a word, gesture, or with physical harm.
  7. Misrepresent to a tenant that the tenant is required to vacate the unit.
  8. Fail to exercise due diligence in performing and completing repairs after gaining possession of the unit for the purpose of performing the repairs.
  9. Discriminate against a tenant on any basis including, but not limited to, sexual orientation, race, color, sex, ancestry, ethnic origin, national origin, religion, age, marital status, familial status, parenthood, pregnancy, disability, medical condition including, but not limited to, AIDS or AIDS-related conditions, gender identity, occupancy by a minor child, citizenship, or status as a student.
  10. Threaten to terminate a tenancy, recover possession of a rental unit, or evict a tenant from a rental unit without a proper factual and legal basis to do so.
  11. Interfere with the tenant’s right to use and enjoy the rental unit.
  12. Refuse to acknowledge or accept lawful rent payments.
  13. Engage in any act or omission constituting a disturbance of a tenant’s possession of the unit, whereby the unit rendered unfit for occupancy, or the tenant is deprived of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises.
  14. Conduct construction or renovations at a property that creates conditions meant to encourage any tenant to vacate their unit.
  15. Fail to submit a required tenant habitability plan for approval, or to adhere to the terms of an approved tenant habitability plan.
  16. Prohibit a tenant from entering their unit.
  17. Solicit a tenant for sexual favors in exchange for protection from eviction or to perform maintenance.
  18. Ask a tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant about their immigration or citizenship status, require proof of immigration or citizenship status, or disclose or threaten to disclose to any person or entity information regarding the immigration or citizenship status.
  19. Interfere with a tenant’s right to privacy, including, but not limited to, using cameras to view the interior of a tenant’s rental unit, requesting information regarding residency or citizenship status, or requesting a social security number, except as authorized by law.
  20. Retaliate, threaten, or interfere with tenant organizing activities, including forming or participating in tenant associations or unions, or for engaging in other political activities.
  21. Retaliate against or threaten a tenant for inquiring with, or seeking assistance from, a government or social services agency.  Id.

Penalties For A Landlord Who Violates The Law Under The City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Can a tenant sue their landlord for violation of the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization and Anti-Harassment Ordinance?

Yes.  Tenants may file a lawsuit against their landlord for damages for violation of any provision of the ordinance including damages for wrongful eviction, illegal buyout, illegal rent increase, retaliation, and harassment.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.68.010(d).   Any person or entity violating any of the provisions of the ordinance is liable for each and every offense for actual damages or for statutory damages of $1,000.00, whichever is greater, and for punitive damages.  Id.  The prevailing party may also recover attorneys’ fees and costs as may be determined by the court.  Id.

Tenants may also bring a lawsuit against the landlord and any person or entity who willfully demands, accepts, or retains any payment in violation of the ordinance.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.68.010(c).  The landlord shall be liable to the tenant for three times the amount by which the payment demanded, accepted, or retained exceeded the maximum amounts which could have been lawfully demanded, accepted, or retained.  Id.  In addition, the landlord will be liable for the tenant’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs as determined by the court.   Id.  If the landlord retains rent received in violation of the ordinance, the retention shall be deemed a continuing violation until such amounts are refunded to the tenant.  Id.

Any landlord in violation of any provision of the ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.68.010(e).  Each violation of the ordinance committed or continued shall constitute a separate offense.  Id.

Tenants may also sue their landlord for harassment.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.090.  A landlord found to have violated the anti-harassment provision of the law is liable for the tenant’s actual damages for each and every violation or for statutory damages of $10,000, whichever is greater, and liable for punitive damages and attorney fees and costs.  Id.  If the tenant is a senior citizen or disabled, the landlord shall be liable for additional statutory damages of $5,000 for each violation.  Id. 

A landlord who is convicted of harassing a tenant in violation of the ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of up to $1,000.00 or by imprisonment of up to six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.  Id. 

Tenants may raise the landlord’s violation of the ordinance as an affirmative defense to a landlord’s action to recover possession of the unit.  W. Hollywood, Cal. Mun. Code § 17.52.050.

Tenants should call Tobener Ravenscroft LLP at (415) 504-2165 to speak with a tenant attorney if they have any questions about their local laws or if they believe their landlord has violated the City of West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

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