Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

maxgypsy65, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Hello, I am buying a triplex in Los Angeles.The units will not be delivered vacant at closing....

Asked by maxgypsy65, Los Angeles, CA Wed Apr 10, 2013

I am buying a triplex in Los Angeles. All units are currently occupied with tenants on a month to month basis. The units not be delivered vacant at closing. I intend to occupy one of the unit and my brother would occupy another unit., I can keep the third tenant but would rather have ths third unit vacant a some point to remodel and get a better rent.
What are my options to give the tenants their notice?
- How do I find out if this property is rent-controlled?
- Do I have to give the 3 tenants a relocation fee? How much?
- Can I do cash for keys?
- Can I do a 60 or 90 days notice? How do I do that? Now or after closing?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

Help the community by answering this question:


Diane McDonald’s answer
Hi Max, here's the bible of the rent control rules in Los Angeles:


I'm sure you'll find what you need in there.

Diane McDonald
Keller Williams Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Congratulations on taking your first step to becoming a landlord.

I've bought, gut-renovated and managed 20+ apartment buildings between 2-16 units in the Silver Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods over the past 4-5 years, so I've spent plenty of time working with LA Rent Control.

Answers to your questions:
1. If your property was built before 1978 and is in the CIty of Los Angeles, it's almost definitely rent controlled.

2. For the unit you will occupy, you will be able to use an owner-user eviction to remove the tenant roughly 60 days after you buy the property. You will need to pay the tenant between $9-19k, depending upon the tenant's age, income, and whether the tenant has children. Keep in mind that there are a lot of restrictions on owner-occupancy eviction.

See this link:

3. For your brother's unit and the vacant unit, there is no way to forcibly evict the tenants. Instead, you will need to negotiate a mutually-agreeable relocation payment ("cash for keys"). The amount you will have to pay will depend on how much the tenant wants to stay in the unit and your ability to negotiate. If the tenant is paying far below market rent, this can get very expensive.

4. For your owner-occupancy eviction, there will be a 60 day notice period, which will begin on the day you close on the property. You will need to go to the Housing Department to fill out the relevant paperwork.

Bonus information: Consider putting your brother on title with you when you buy the property. If he is a 25% owner, he will be able to use an owner-user eviction, like you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 12, 2013
What would the relocation assistance fee look like if it's a family with two kids (age 19 and 21) who have been on the property for longer than 5 years (no disability)? Thanks!
Flag Tue Aug 2, 2016
Unless your building was built after 1987 is very, very likely rent controlled (unincorporated parts of city of la are not rent controlled -they are actually county, but there are not too many of these)

1.- So yes your building is rent controlled
2.- There is no such a thing as month to month in rent control
3.- You can only evict for a set of specific reasons (you will likely not be able to) -See Diane's link below

4.- One of the reasons is owner occupancy, and you have to follow a set of rules and pay a lot of money.
5.- Why would you not have answers to this questions before you submit the offer? - please get the right advise from an experienced agent, and do so before you close escrow and lose lots of money.

If you find my answer helpful, give it a Thumbs Up

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Yes, it's 1978, not 1987.
Flag Fri Apr 12, 2013
Hey Ron,
Property built after November, 1978 are not under rent control.
Flag Wed Apr 10, 2013
Most likely this property is under rent control.

-Call Los Angeles Housing Department: http://lahd.lacity.org/lahdinternet/
(213) 808-8888 or (866) 557-7368
Nowadays, there are 14 legal reasons to evict a tenant under rent control: http://bit.ly/14legalreasonstoevict
-Relocation fees can be very hefty: http://bit.ly/relocationfees
-You could try cash for keys with a friendly attitude and have tenant sign an agreement to move out, but sometimes, it could be a waste of time and a delay for a proper legal eviction.
-90 days notice is for tenants under Section 8 program, HUD.

Or have an eviction attorney handle this: http://evict123.com

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013

I agree with several of my colleagues, your agent should be advising you on these matters. But the short answer is that it really depends on where the building is and what year it was built. I have had to vacate several units and pay relocation fees for my personal apartment building investments over the years and will be more than happy to share my experiences. Please contact me if you are interested.

Thank you,
Austin Chen, REALTOR®
Real Estate Investment Specialist
DRE #: 01898306
Office: 323.902.7653
Fax: 323.443.1093
Mobile: 310.948.2629
Email: austinjchen@gmail.com
Website: hrela.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
You should have the property delivered to you vacant!!!!

This will allow you to avoid all kinds of headaches.

Since you and your brother plan to live in two of the units, and you want to have the third vacant to remodel, why on earth are you taking procession with the units occupied? This seems to be in direct conflict with your goals for the property.

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 12, 2013
Dear Max,
I would strongly advise you to learn all you can about the law, as it relates to landlords and tenants. Look online at http://,www.dca.ca.gov where you will be able to get most of this information. IF you are working with a Realtor, you will be able to get the rent control information, or just go to the city to find out. Most of the rest of your questions can be found at the landlord and tenant law for California website.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Your agent should know if this property is rent control. By the way, if tenants are month to month why did you not request that the property be delivered vacant? Have you closed escrow?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Hi there,

The best place for you to start would be The Los Angeles Housing Department. You can call their customer service hotline at 866-557-rent. If you give them the property address they will be able to tell you whether or not the property falls under Rent Control Laws and whether or not you will be able to evict the tenants and how.

Their agents are very helpful. I call all of the time.

Best of luck!

Kindest regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Sounds like you are getting into something and you are totally unprepared. Sort of like jumping in the pool and trying to swim without ever taking swimming lessons. Do your homework!
Here are some sources. There are many more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Hi, your agent should be able to answer all your questions.
- You can give 1-month notice to 1 tenant only because as a new owner-occupier you have the right to live there;
- Your brother does not qualify (only immediate family - mother, father)
- You can check with Housing Department if the property is rent controlled. Then it is a different story
- Any notices have to be given after close of escrow.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Hello, first and foremost you should be asking your Realtor these questions. They should be the one providing you with all these many questions. Also try contacting the Los Angeles County Rent Control Board, they can answer most of your questions too.

This website should help you also:

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
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