For most units whose tenants have moved-in during 1999 or later, if a rent-stabilized unit becomes vacant, the landlord sets the rent at whatever amount prospective tenants are willing to pay. The rent initially charged the new tenant by the landlord establishes the Maximum Allowable Rent for the tenancy. The housing services supplied by the landlord as a basis for the MAR are also established at this time by what is in the lease or what is provided in the unit at or after move-in.
The rent is not decontrolled during vacancy and is based on the last tenant's Maximum Allowable Rent if the landlord or their agent has:
- terminated the last tenancy without the tenant giving cause to do so (such terminations would include owner-occupancy, property's removal from rental market, governmental orders to vacate for dangerous conditions, etc.);
- left violations uncorrected when the new tenant moved in and 60 days or more after the landlord was cited in an inspection report by an appropriate governmental agency which has determined that the rental unit contains serious health, safety, fire, or building code violations, as defined by Section 17920.3 of the Health and Safety Code;
- behaved in a manner which constituted harassment prohibited by law, constructive eviction, or a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the property and resulted in the tenant moving out involuntarily;
- did not have a bona fide landlord-tenant relationship with the last tenant or that tenant occupied the unit for less than six months for the purpose of vacating the property to establish eligibility for a decontrolled rent during vacancy.
The rent is also not decontrolled during vacancy if the last tenant left because the landlord cancelled a Section 8 contract without cause or changed its conditions so that the tenant had to move out involuntarily. In this case, the Maximum Allowable Rent for any tenancy beginning during the next 3 years will be based on the last rent paid under the Section 8 contract.
Generally, the MAR may only be increased by the Annual General Adjustment during a tenancy and all other sections of the Ordinance, including fees, maintenance standards and eviction sections, also apply once a tenant moves in. If a service is provided or left in the unit by the landlord, the Ordinance's maintenance requirements will apply to it even if the landlord writes a waiver of these requirements into the lease.
Re-registration of Unit Following the Vacancy
Landlords have been required to re-register a rental unit when a new tenant moves in since January 1, 1996. The landlord fills out a re-registration form supplied by the Department. The new tenant signs the form to verify the initial rent being charged them and the housing services being provided by the landlord. The white copy of this form should be on file with the Department; the landlord keeps the yellow copy; the tenant should receive the pink copy.
The unit is not in substantial compliance with the Ordinance until the established rent and housing services have been re-registered with the Department. Annual General Adjustments are not allowed for units that are not in substantial compliance with the Ordinance.
Re-registration will establish the Maximum Allowable Rent (MAR) for a unit after a vacancy, and consequently all future rent increases allowed during the tenancy. Units may not always qualify for an increase in the MAR upon vacancy and the Department may contact the landlord and the tenant once the re-registration form is filed to determine eligibility. You may contact an Information Coordinator at (323) 848-6450 regarding questions about rents following a vacancy.
Note For Vacating Tenants: If you were not evicted for just cause, did not vacate voluntarily and did not abandon the unit, please contact an Information Coordinator in the Rent Stabilization & Housing Division at (323) 848-6450.