For tenants who moved into a rent stabilized unit before January 1, 1999, "Housing Services" are amenities and services provided by the landlord on or after April 30, 1984, to both common areas (e.g., swimming pool, security gates, etc.) and individual units (e.g., stove, refrigerator, etc.), and may include extra maintenance (janitor service, gardening, etc.) and agreements between landlord and tenant. The property Registration Form on file with the City and the computer data base list the housing services which were registered on the property's or unit's base date for renting under Rent Stabilization.
For tenants who moved into their unit on or after January 1, 1999, "Housing Services" are those amenities and services provided by the landlord at the inception of their tenancy which is the base date for their Maximum Allowable Rent and all related Housing Services. These services will be re-registered with the Rent Stabilization and Housing Department following each vacancy.
Other services may also exist as part of the stabilized rental amount whether the landlord registered them or not. The tenant may show that the landlord provided a service on or after the applicable base date and the landlord did not apply for an increase in the Maximum Allowable Rent at the time s/he began to provide the service, as required by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. For instance, a landlord may not register a unit as having a stove but if the landlord leaves a stove in the apartment when the unit is rented to the tenant, then the service is part of the MAR and the landlord will need to maintain it.
The Ordinance may not cover services that are separate from the rental unit and are provided for a fee under separate side agreements signed at the time of the rental agreement. Tenants should ask the Department about coverage by the Ordinance, if they have signed such an agreement or if they are paying fees beyond the MAR for a service and it is removed.
Landlords and tenants may find out what housing services are currently registered for a unit by contacting an Information Coordinator at (323) 848-6450.
Housing services must be maintained in good working order. If they are not maintained, tenants may be entitled to a rent reduction until the services are restored. If a landlord needs to remove a service to have it repaired, the rent will not be reduced under the Ordinance, provided the landlord returns it in good working order within a reasonable amount of time.
The removal or transfer of housing services does not need to result in a decrease hearing; tenants and landlord may come to an agreement. The Ordinance allows a landlord to transfer certain housing services from one unit to another in the same building. An application must be made to the City and requires the tenants' signatures approving the exchange. Upon approval the rent will be adjusted between the two units to reflect the change. The Ordinance also allows the landlord and tenant to agree to remove a housing service and reduce the unit's MAR. An application must be made to the Department and requires the tenant's signature. You may call the Rent Stabilization & Housing Division for specifics and to receive an application form, (323) 848-6450.
To insure that West Hollywood's rental housing stock remains in good condition, and that landlords don't compensate for rent regulation by neglecting necessary maintenance, landlords are required to comply with certain maintenance standards. Landlords must:
- Maintain both common areas and individual units in compliance with existing Property Maintenance, Fire, Health, and Building Safety Codes;
- replace carpets, linoleum/vinyl and window coverings provided by the landlord in the rental unit and common areas every 7 years;
- Paint rental units and interior common areas every four years;
- Paint exterior common areas every 7 years;
- Maintain all provided appliances in good working condition
Overdue replacement of paint, window coverings, carpets, vinyl/linoleum flooring and wallpaper is not necessary only if the landlord can prove that item is in "like-new" condition.
The landlord must replace existing housing services with comparable quality. The tenant cannot force the landlord to install better quality or use a color of the tenant's choice. The landlord must do all work necessary to perform the maintenance, including but not limited to reasonable movement of furniture.
If this work has not been performed in a building for a long period, a landlord can work out arrangements with tenants for performing the maintenance over a specified time frame.
If a landlord believes in good faith that the maintenance is not necessary, he or she should inform the tenant, and the tenant may request either mediation or a hearing to settle the matter.
Tenants may not withhold or deduct rent for these problems unless they are complying with the final decision of a rent decrease hearing held by the City or legal counsel tells them that they are safe to do so under State law due to un-tenantable conditions in the unit. Tenants may only do the work for certain items if, three months from the date a hearing decision becomes final, the landlord has still not done the work. The tenant may give the landlord a 30-day notice requesting that the work be done or the tenant will do it. The tenant may then do the work after 30 days and maintain the established MAR decrease until they have been paid back the expense of doing the ordered work. Tenants who plan to take this action, should contact the Department about this process at (323) 848-6450.
If the landlord does not reside on the premises, a resident manager is required in all rent-stabilized properties with 16 or more dwelling units on them. The resident owner or manager must maintain regular business hours. The landlord may establish hours other than Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; however, the schedule must provide at least four (4) operating hours per day Monday through Friday. The schedule of regular business hours must be posted at or near each public entrance to each building on the property. Tenants may apply for a rent reduction if the services are not provided and the landlord has had a vacant unit to offer a resident manager since the inception of this code.
On residential rent-stabilized properties with less than 16 units, where a resident owner or manager has provided services on or after the base date (April 30, 1984, for pre-1999 tenants; the move-in dates for 1999 or later tenants), the level of services provided must be maintained or the landlord must provide the tenants with a corresponding reduction in rent. Tenants may request that the services be restored and apply for a rent decrease hearing if the landlord doesn't restore them or come to an agreement about a rent reduction.
On all residential rent-stabilized properties with five (5) or more dwelling units, emergency telephone numbers must be posted so that tenants may contact the owner, resident manager, or other responsible party. On properties with resident managers, these numbers must be posted in the same locations as the business hours. Otherwise, they must be posted in a common area location accessible to all tenants on the property. Again tenants may write to the landlord requesting that the numbers be posted and apply for a rent decrease hearing if the landlord does not do so.
For information about the requirements for filing for a rent decrease hearing, contact the Division at (323) 848-6450 or view the Decrease Hearing Process FAQ.