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Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) property classification

Discussion in 'Land Use & Zoning' started by mm_la, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. mm_la

    mm_la Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    In LA, any multi unit property built before 1978 is covered under RSO. Single family properties are not covered under RSO.

    Is a property with a single family house that was built before 1978 and a small guesthouse that was built in 1985 (turning the property into a duplex) covered under RSO?

    The LA municipal code for the most part seems to say that the property is NOT covered under RSO, but there is one sentence in the definition of a Rental Unit that makes it somewhat ambiguous.


    Los Angeles Municipal Code Chapter XV Rent Stabilization Ordinance (link to full code)
    Sec 151.02. DEFINITIONS
    Rental Units
    . (Amended by Ord. No. 157,385, Eff. 1/24/83.) All dwelling units, efficiency dwelling units, guest rooms, and suites, as defined in Section 12.03 of this Code, and all housing accommodations as defined in Government Code Section 12927, and duplexes and condominiums in the City of Los Angeles, rented or offered for rent for living or dwelling purposes, the land and buildings appurtenant thereto, and all housing services, privileges, furnishings and facilities supplied in connection with the use or occupancy thereof, including garage and parking facilities. (Sentence Amended by Ord. No. 170,445, Eff. 5/6/95, Oper. 7/5/95.) The term shall not include:

    1. Dwellings, one family, except where two or more dwelling units are located on the same parcel. This exception shall not apply to duplexes or condominiums. (Amended by Ord. No. 184,822, Eff. 4/30/17.)

    (2-5 removed since not relevant)

    6. Housing accommodations, located in a structure for which the first Certificate of Occupancy was issued after October 1, 1978, are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. If the structure was issued a Certificate of Occupancy, including a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, on or before October 1, 1978, the housing accommodation(s) shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. If the property was issued a building permit for residential purposes at any time on or before October 1, 1978, and a Certificate of Occupancy for the building was never issued or was not issued until after October 1, 1978, the housing accommodation shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. This exception shall not apply to individual mobile home coaches, mobile home parks, individual recreational vehicles, recreational vehicle parks or replacement units as set forth in Subsection A. of 151.28. (Amended by Ord. No. 184,822, Eff. 4/30/17.)
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You're seeking a legal determination.

    That can only come from a court of law, or some administrative judge or agency.

    I suggest you speak to some lawyers near you, or take your issues back to the city council or agency ruling adverse to your desires.
     
  3. mm_la

    mm_la Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks, Army Judge. An RSO Senior Management Analyst II, who is not a lawyer, has made the decision that the property is covered under RSO. First, I'm trying to figure out if she made the right decision based on the law or is the law ambiguous on this issue? Second, what are my options for appeal?
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    First of all, an SFR does not magically become a duplex just because a guest house is built.
    First of all, building a guest house on the same property as an SFR does not turn the SFR into a duplex.

    Second, it's possible that the guest house might be subject to the RSO, even if the SFR isn't, if the guest house meets the definition of dwelling unit set forth in LAMC 12.03. Moreover, LAMC 151.02(1) excludes from the definition of "rental units" "Dwellings, one family, except where two or more dwelling units are located on the same parcel" (emphasis added). By implication, this says that, if both the SFR and the guest house are "dwelling units," then they are "rental units," unless they constitute a duplex.

    Whether the portion of LAMC 151.02(6) that you highlighted has any relevance to the particular situation that prompted you to post this isn't apparent from your post.

    Why? In other words, what caused this person to make this determination?

    Why? What is your stake in the issue?

    You'll need to answer the prior question first.

    P.S. Many of the folks who respond here regularly are not lawyers and, to the best of my knowledge, I am the only California lawyer who responds here regularly. If you are aggrieved by the determination you mentioned, posting on internet message boards is not the best thing to do, and you should be consulting with an attorney in Los Angeles who is fluent with the RSO.
     
  5. mm_la

    mm_la Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks again, I really do appreciate your help.

    For some reason, the 1985 permit to build the guesthouse states "...addition to existing S.F.D. creating a duplex...."

    The RSO person referenced this section as justification for claiming the entire property as being covered by RSO.


    This came to my attention when I received a bill from LA Housing for RSO fees, and I responded that my property was not under RSO. This caused the RSO Senior Management Analyst II to respond with her explanation why the property was covered by RSO.

    I bought the property with the hopes of renting out the guesthouse for 6 months and letting my mom stay there the rest of the year. RSO doesn't allow short-term lease.


    I contacted a few real estate attorneys, but I couldn't find one that had deep knowledge of RSO. They indicated that it would be costly for them to do the research. It's not worth a huge legal fee. I can simply not rent out the guesthouse....it's a shame since LA supposedly has a housing shortage.

    I was hoping to request an appeal and provide a legal argument for why my property is not covered under RSO. Any advice?
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, hire yourself a lawyer.
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I already gave you the only reliable advice you can get from an internet message board: "you should be consulting with an attorney in Los Angeles who is fluent with the RSO." There are oodles of lawyers who meet that description, and I found one in about two seconds by googling "los angeles rent stabilization attorney."
     

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