Newmark PCG

June 3, 2021

Rent control in Los Angeles has been around since 1979, and a new wave of rent control laws at the state and local level has created a new list of requirements for apartment owners in Los Angeles County. There are now seven local governments with permanent or temporary rent control laws.

  • City of Los Angeles
  • Santa Monica
  • Beverly Hills
  • West Hollywood
  • Inglewood (Temporary)
  • Culver City
  • Unincorporated Los Angeles County

California Rent Control – Statewide Ordinances

Before reading into a local government’s rent control laws, there are two important California State laws that affect rent control.

First is the Costa-Hawkins Act of 1995, which created a benchmark date for California rent control: February 1, 1995. Costa-Hawkins mandates that units built after February 1, 1995, are not subject to municipal rent control laws, a landlord has the right to raise the rent to any value once a tenant moves out, and local governments cannot change the “built before date” of existing rent control laws. The City of Los Angeles and West Hollywood’s rent control laws stipulate that rent control only affects properties built before 1979. Costa-Hawkins mandates that this date cannot change.

Second is California AB 1482, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and expires January 1, 2030. This law limits annual rent increases of multifamily units to no more than 5% + local CPI or 10%, whichever is lower. This law affects all housing in California; however, a newly built multifamily building is exempt from rent control for the first 15 years of its existence. For example, an apartment building built in 2010 will be exempt from the state rent control law until 2025.

It may seem that AB 1482 conflicts with Costa-Hawkins; however, Costa-Hawkins’ restrictions are placed on local municipalities and not statewide initiatives like AB 1482. The California Courts may find that the two laws conflict, but this issue has not come before the court.

Below is a quick reference table for rent control throughout Los Angeles. Look at the specific section on the municipality for a specific breakdown.

MunicipalityGeneral Rent Control LawConstruction Date RequirementConstruction Date Requirement when AB 1482 is Applicable
City of Los AngelesAverage of CPI – Min 3% & Max 8%Built before October 1, 1979Built on/after October 1, 1979
Santa Monica75% of CPI – Min 0% & Max 6% or a dollar amount limitBuilt on/before February 1, 1995Built after February 1, 1995
Beverly HillsGreater of 3% & CPIBuilt on/before February 1, 1995Built after February 1, 1995
West Hollywood75% of CPIBuilt before July 1, 1979Built on/after July 1, 1979
Inglewood (Temporary)Greater of 3% & CPIBuilt on/before February 1, 1995Built after February 1, 1995
Culver CityAverage of CPI – Min 2% & Max 5%Built on/before February 1, 1995Built after February 1, 1995
Unincorporated Los Angeles CountyAverage of CPI – Min 0% & Max 8%Built on/before February 1, 1995Built after February 1, 1995
One old building and one new building
After determining the jurisdiction of a property, the second step in finding the applicable rent control law in Los Angeles is finding the age of the building.

City of Los Angeles Rent Control

The Rent Stabilization Ordinance of 1979 covers nearly all multifamily units built before October 1, 1979. The City of Los Angeles established a Rent Adjustment Commission who has the power to enforce a maximum allowed rent increase.

The rent increase for a given year is determined by the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumer for Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA averaged for the previous 12 months ending September 30 of each year and rounded to the nearest whole number. The max rent adjustment cannot be less than 3% nor greater than 8% per year.

Additionally, in May of 2020, the City of Los Angeles froze any rent increases for 60 days and subsequently extended a rent and eviction freeze for at least a year with no specific end date.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
Before October 1, 1979City of Los Angeles Rent Control
On/After October 1, 1979California AB 1482

Santa Monica Rent Control

The Rent Control Charter of 1979 created the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, which facilitates the maximum lawful rent increases within Santa Monica. The law also charges landlords a fee to fund the Santa Monica Rent Control board, and 50% can pass through to the tenants. Other allowable surcharges can also pass through to the tenants; however, there are requirements, so it is best to contact the city for the most up-to-date information.

By June 30th of every year, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board will announce the maximum lawful rental increase, which is 75% of the inflation from the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers-Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County for the 12-month period ending as of March of the current year. Any rent adjustment cannot be less than 0% nor exceed 6%, and the Board may or may not impose a dollar-amount limit, which the rent increase cannot exceed. As of September 1st, 2020, the maximum allowable rent adjustment in Santa Monica is 1.4% and $32 for units at or above $2,250.

Santa Monica kindly provides a database of rent controlled properties, so you can search for the rent control for a specific property in Santa Monica. Santa Monica also updates a table of rent control rules every year.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
On/Before February 1, 1995Santa Monica Rent Control
After February 1, 1995California AB 1482

By June 30th of every year, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board will announce the maximum lawful rental increase, which is 75% of the inflation from the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers-Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County for the 12-month period ending as of March of the current year. Any rent adjustment cannot be less than 0% nor exceed 6%, and the Board may or may not impose a dollar-amount limit, which the rent increase cannot exceed. As of September 1st, 2020, the maximum allowable rent adjustment in Santa Monica is 1.4% and $32 for units at or above $2,250.

West Hollywood Rent Control

On June 27, 1985 West Hollywood established the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which stipulates that any residential building with more than one unit and that was built before July 1, 1979 is subject to rent control. If there is any doubt about a property, the City has compiled a list of rent controlled units. Each rent-controlled unit must pay an annual registration fee of $144, and $72 can be passed through to the tenant at $6 per month. Landlords may increase rent once every year by the general adjustment rate determined by the City. The general adjustment is announced every year before July 1st and is the rate that Landlords may increase rent by during the following year between September 1 and August 31. The rent increase is based on 75% of the Consumer Price Index between September 1 of the previous year through August 31 of the current year.

Effective on March 16, 2020, West Hollywood announced that rent increases are not allowed and no end date has been announced.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
Before July 1, 1979West Hollywood Rent Control
On/After July 1, 1979California AB 1482

Beverly Hills Rent Control

On January 24 and February 21, 2017, Beverly Hills revised its rent stabilization regulations, referred to as Chapter 6. This law affects any multifamily building constructed with a certificate of occupancy before February 1, 1995, with two or more units, and that charges more than $600 per month. Under the revised law, rent can be increased once every twelve months by the greater of 3% or the annual Consumer Price Index for Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County between May 1 of the current year and May 1 of the previous year.

Any unit built before 1978 and occupied by a tenant that at any time paid less than $600 per month is regulated by the rent regulations in Chapter 5 of the Beverly Hills code. Chapter 5 stipulates that the maximum rent increase for multifamily buildings is the lesser of 8% or the average of the Urban All Items Consumer Price Index of Los Angeles for the year.

As of March 16, 2020, the City of Beverly Hills enacted a rental increase moratorium for any rent increase scheduled to take effect on or after March 15, 2020 and the City has not released a definitive end date other than the end of the emergency period.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
On/Before February 1, 1995Beverly Hills Rent Control
After February 1, 1995California State AB 1482

Inglewood Rent Control

In 2019, Inglewood passed a temporary rent control law that is effective until December 31, 2024. The Rent Control Board was established and levied registration fees on landlords to pay for the administration of these new regulations, and half of those fees can pass through to the tenant.

The standard maximum rent increase is the greater of 3% or rate of inflation from the Consumer Price Index for Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County for the twelve months ending September 30 of each year. However, the maximum rent increase changes if the tenant pays less than 80% of fair market value. Market value is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in its published market rents for Los Angeles County. Landlords may file an application with the City for permission to increase rent by the greater of 5% or the same rules for CPI as the standard maximum rent. And under all circumstances, rent can only increase once per year.

Additionally, there is a stipulation to further increase the rent on occupied units in buildings that receive more than $10,000 in capital improvements. Subject to approval from the City, a landlord may increase rent by $50 per month for no more than 60 months and recover up to half of the total cost of improvements.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
On/Before February 1, 1995Inglewood Rent Control
After February 1, 1995California State AB 1482

Culver City Rent Control

On September 29, 2020, Culver City adopted a permanent rent control ordinance that went into effect on October 30, 2020. The maximum allowable rent increase is a rate determined by the city and will be between 2% and 5% depending on the average of the latest twelve monthly rates of the Consumer Price Index. For example, the latest twelve months for a rent increase in May 2021 is the average of February 2020 to April 2021.

Every month the Housing Division of the city publishes the maximum rent increase for the month that is two months after it is published. For example, the maximum rental increase published in May 2021 is the rate for July 2021. Additionally, a landlord may pass through 50% of the costs of capital improvements so long as the improvements meet specific requirements.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
On/Before February 1, 1995Culver City Rent Control
After February 1, 1995California State AB 1482

Unincorporated Los Angeles County Rent Control

In 2019, the Los Angeles County Supervisors voted to create the Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which went into effect on April 1, 2020. All properties with two or more units and built on or before February 1, 1995, are subject to rent control in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The average change in the Consumer Price Index for Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County determines the maximum allowable rent increase per year. The average change in CPI is calculated by the County and released to the public. The table below shows the maximum allowable rent increase depending on the change in CPI.

Average Change in CPIMaximum Allowable Rent Increase
Greater than 8%8%
3% to 8%Average Change in CPI
1% to 3%3%
-2% to 1%Change in CPI plus 2%
Less than -2%No increase allowed

However, Los Angeles County has an additional note about luxury apartments. The County classifies a luxury apartment as a max 2-bedroom unit located in a single structure with at least 25 units, and that collected at least $4,000 per month in rent as of September 11, 2018. Prior to December 31, 2023, a landlord may increase rent on a luxury apartment by an additional 2% above the standard allowable rent increase, but the total increase may not exceed 10%.

Additionally, the County allows for pass-through recoveries on capital improvements and the Safe, Clean Water Act parcel tax. With written permission from the County, landlords may recover up to 50% of the cost of capital improvements that fall under several requirements. Review the requirements of pass-through cost recovery in the Los Angeles County Municipal Code.

Effective on March 4, 2020 through June 20, 2021, Los Angeles County has a temporary eviction moratorium, which also prohibits rent increases or pass-throughs for units in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Construction DateApplicable Rent Control Law
On/Before February 1, 1995Unincorporated Los Angeles County Rent Control
After February 1, 1995California State AB 1482

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for general informational purposes only, and should not be considered or treated as legal or tax advice and represents only general information that may or may not be applicable to the reader’s particular situation. The reader should consult its own attorney and/or tax advisor if specific guidance, information, or advise is required.

About the Author(s)

Sean Fulp is based in Los Angeles and leads the Newmark Private Capital Group, which focuses on selling small and mid-sized office, industrial and multifamily properties throughout the Western U.S. Ryan Tetrault is an Associate on the Newmark Private Capital Group and has been involved in the disposition and marketing of over $800 million worth of office, industrial, and retail property across the Western United States.