Los Angeles Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 21, 2023 by Savannah Minnery

LA 1 on iPropertyManagement.com

A residential lease agreement in Los Angeles is a binding document between a landlord and a tenant. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions surrounding the use of a rental property in exchange for payment.

Residential Lease Agreement Requirements in Los Angeles

Los Angeles currently has one residential lease agreement requirement that landlords should be aware of:

Pesticide Notice

Landlords in Los Angeles are required to disclose any pesticides that were used in the rental property. The notice should include the pesticide that was used, active ingredients, and which pests were being controlled.

Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Los Angeles

When it comes to landlord-tenant rights, landlords should be aware of the following:

Just Cause Ordinance

Similar to California law, the Los Angeles Just Cause For Eviction Ordinance prohibits landlords from evicting tenants without a just cause. This includes both at-fault and no-fault just cause evictions.

No-Fault Evictions

A no-fault eviction is a term used when the notice to end the tenancy is not based on any fault of the tenant. No-fault evictions are most commonly seen in month-to-month tenancies.

Some examples of no-fault evictions include:

  • The landlord, their spouse, or family member decides to occupy the unit
  • The landlord decides to withdraw the unit from the market
  • A federal order or local ordinance requires the tenant to vacate the property

For no-fault evictions, landlords must provide relocation assistance for the tenant. Additionally, if the property becomes available to rent or lease within 2 years of the eviction, the landlord must first offer the unit to the displaced tenant. This is only if the tenant requests an offer by filling out this form within 30 days of their displacement.

At-Fault Evictions

An at-fault eviction is a term used when the notice to end the tenancy is based on the fault of the tenant. For at-fault evictions, landlords must provide written notice of the eviction, as well as an opportunity to cure the violation (if it is curable).

Some examples of at-fault evictions include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violation of the lease agreement
  • Criminal activity
  • Refusal of the landlord’s request to enter the property

COVID-19 Tenant Protections

Los Angeles tenants will have until February 1st, 2024 to pay any past-due rent that has accumulated due to COVID-19. This only applies to rent that was due between October 1st, 2021 and January 31st, 2023. Tenants must meet these deadlines to avoid evictions. However, there are some exemptions for Tenants who have given their landlord a COVID-19 Related Declaration of Financial Distress Form.

Tenants are also protected from evictions due to unauthorized pets or occupants until February 2024. In order to evict a tenant after this time period, landlords must provide tenants with a 30-day notice to cure.

Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent

Los Angeles tenants cannot be evicted unless they owe an amount greater than one month of “fair market rent”. Fair market rent is an amount calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This amount is determined by the region and the number of bedrooms in a rental property. In 2023, the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $1,747.

Relocation Assistance Law

Certain tenants in Los Angeles will be entitled to relocation assistance if their rent is increased by more than 10% (or 5% plus inflation). However, this will only apply to a small percentage of residents—as the city’s rent stabilization ordinance already prohibits these types of rent increases.

Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Los Angeles’ Rent Stabilization Ordinance applies to buildings built on or before October 1st, 1978. This ordinance provides the following tenant protections:

  • Limits on rent increases
  • Registration of rental units
  • Legal reasons for evictions
  • Interest payments on security deposits
  • Tenant relocation assistance
  • Disclosure notice for buyout or “cash for keys” agreements

Renter’s Protection Notice

Los Angeles landlords must provide a copy of the Renter’s Protection Notice to all tenants who are renting or renewing their lease after January 27th, 2023.

Illegal Lockouts

In Los Angeles, it is illegal for a landlord to take the following actions in order to force a tenant to move out:

  • Change the locks
  • Remove doors or windows
  • Cut off utility access
  • Any other form of harassment

3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit

Under California law, landlords must give tenants a 3-day notice to pay or quit for nonpayment of rent. This gives the tenant 3 days to either pay the overdue rent or vacate the property. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord may proceed with an eviction.

Right to Quiet Enjoyment

Tenants in California have a right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the premises without disturbance or interference from the landlord. This is an implied covenant in California and does not have to be stated in the lease agreement in order to be enforceable.

Tenant Harassment

Los Angeles landlords are prohibited from harassing tenants in any form. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Refusing housing services
  • Abusing their right to entry
  • Threatening the tenant
  • Refusing to accept rent payments
  • Interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy

Housing Discrimination

In addition to the federal Fair Housing Act protections, California also prohibits housing discrimination based on age , HIV/AIDS status , or immigration/citizenship status. Source of income discrimination is also illegal in California, and landlords can no longer release rental ads prohibiting Section 8 vouchers.

Tenant Habitability Program

The Los Angeles Tenant Habitability Program protects tenants from unlivable housing conditions and forced or permanent displacement. Specific criteria is used to determine whether any renovations or repairs will be permitted.

Month-to-Month Tenancies

For month-to-month lease agreements, California landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice if they plan to increase the rent by 10% or less. For increases greater than 10%, a 90-day notice is required. It is important to note that some rent stabilization laws limit a landlord’s ability to raise the rent or evict a tenant.

To end a month-to-month tenancy in California, landlords must provide the following notice:

  • 30 days’ notice if the tenant has lived in the unit for less than one year
  • 60 days’ notice if the tenant has lived in the unit for one year or longer
  • 90 days’ notice if the tenant is under Section 8

Optional Lease Agreement Addendums and Disclosures in Los Angeles

While not mandatory, landlords can add specific disclosures and addendums to their leases. This helps outline the responsibilities of the tenant and can prevent future liability issues.

Asbestos Addendum

Since California is listed as the #1 state for asbestos-related deaths, landlords should include an addendum stating if asbestos is present on the property. If asbestos is present, tenants should take precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.

Parking Addendum

Due to Los Angeles’ high vehicle ownership rate, landlord’s may want to include a parking addendum to clearly outline the building’s parking policy. This should include information on assigned parking spots, street parking rules, and any prohibited uses of the parking space.

Smoke Detector Addendum

With California’s high wildfire risk, it is crucial that all Los Angeles tenants have working smoke detectors. This smoke detector addendum should outline the tenant’s responsibility to maintain working smoke detectors and contact the landlord for repairs.

Summary of Required Lease Disclosures for the State of California

  • Methamphetamine and Fentanyl Contamination – Landlords must disclose any known presence of methamphetamine and fentanyl in a rental agreement. For contaminated property, landlords must include a copy of any contamination-related notices. They must also inform prospective tenants in the rental agreement about ongoing remediation efforts before they sign the lease.
  • Mold – Landlords must disclose any knowledge of mold on the property. This includes 1) any reason to believe there is toxic mold or 2) a high chance of mold forming. This disclosure is mandatory unless the mold was remediated to California safety guidelines.
  • Sex Offender Registry Notice – Prospective tenants and citizens alike have access to information relating to the sex offender registry. This is known as Megan’s Law Disclosure and must be disclosed in every rental agreement.
  • Demolition Permit – If a landlord has intentions to demolish a rental unit or building, or has applied for a demolition permit, they must disclose this in the rental agreement. The disclosure should state the approximate date on which demolition will occur.
  • Military Ordnance – Landlords must provide a military ordnance disclosure for any property that falls within one mile of military training grounds or ordnance storage. This disclosure notifies the tenant that there is a possibility of live munitions near the rental unit.
  • Death in a Rental Unit -Unless occurring due to HIV or AIDS, death in a California rental unit must be disclosed if it occurred within 3 years of the beginning of the lease agreement due to statutes on emotional defects in a property.
  • Shared Utilities Arrangement – In California, when each unit does not have its own utility meter, the landlord must disclose this information in the rental agreement. They must also provide a mutual written agreement with the tenant for payment of services.
  • Bed Bugs – Landlords must include a bed bug addendum in their rental agreements. This addendum provides information about preventing infestations and the proper protocol if one arises.
  • Flood Zone – If the landlord has knowledge of the rental property residing in a flood zone, they must disclose this information to the tenant in the rental agreement.
  • Smoking Policy – If a landlord wishes to prohibit smoking tobacco in any part of the rental property, they must disclose specifically where smoking is prohibited.
  • Lead-Based Paint – It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints.