To pay or not to pay: LARSO rent registration fee
June 16, 2009 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Los Angeles Filter: Should I pay the rent registration fee even though my landlord did not give me the requisite 30 days notice?

I live in Los Angeles and started the lease on my new apartment this past May. My apartment falls under LARSO - LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Per LARSO the landlord may collect a rental surcharge of $9.35 every year in June, which is the tenant's half of the annual rent registration fee, provided that he gives me 30 days notice. I received a letter in the mail this past week telling me my $9.35 is overdue - this is clearly not 30 days notice, and this is the first notice I have received.

I love the apartment, I think I got a very good deal, and the building being under rent-control is an added bonus. I want to have a decent relationship with the landlord. I am planning to pay the $9.35, but want to consult the hivemind to make sure I am not 1) being a doormat and 2) setting a precedent for the landlord to take advantage of me in the future.

My questions for Metafilter are as follows:
1. Would you pay the $9.35 if you were in this situation?
2. Is this one of those laws that every landlord ignores? Other Angelenos living in rent-controlled apartments, do you receive 30 days notice of the $9.35 every May?
3. The ordinance also says the landlord is supposed to give me a copy of the rental registration - I don't have one, should I ask for one? Or is it just posted somewhere in my building and I've missed it?
4. Would it be a good or bad idea to include a letter with my check citing the relevant portions of the ordinance and saying something like "In the future, I would appreciate 30 days notice"?
5. Or should I just shut up, send the check, and thank the stars I got a good deal on an apartment that I love?

Thanks for your input!
posted by booksandwine to Law & Government (13 answers total)
$9.35? Jesus Christ; you've already spent at least $23.50 of mental energy on this.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:30 PM on June 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Second. Not a hill to die on.
posted by Ponderance at 2:31 PM on June 16, 2009

#4, be polite, and ask for a copy of the registration if you have doormat fears.
posted by jessamyn at 2:35 PM on June 16, 2009

I got my proper notice for this fee this year, and I have a copy of the rental registration, but even if I didn't, I'd probably just cut my landlord some slack and pay the $10. It's just not worth branding myself as a difficult tenant over.
posted by katillathehun at 2:35 PM on June 16, 2009

Pay it and tell him he's required to give 30 days notice. Win win for everyone.
posted by bensherman at 2:39 PM on June 16, 2009

I would draft a very polite letter about how you would have really liked to have received the notice thirty days in advance so that you would have paid the $9.35 before it was due, when it would have been more convenient for you and your landlord, because you would have taken care of it promptly and your landlord wouldn't have had to worry about past due debts.

And include a check for $9.35 in your letter, of course.
posted by mayhap at 2:41 PM on June 16, 2009

You can always pay it, and include a nice letter saying something like ,

"Enclosed is the check. Apologies for not paying it sooner - it seems you forgot to give me the requisite 30 day notice as required under L.A. Ordnance ___ as follows:
Please provide me a copy of the Rental Registration at your earliest convenience. Thanks!"


posted by jabberjaw at 2:43 PM on June 16, 2009

I've been in L.A. about a decade. In my experience, some landlords charge it, some don't; of the ones who charge it, some give the requisite notice, some don't.

I pay it when they've asked. I haven't when they haven't. I don't worry about it beyond that, though mayhap's wording for a polite letter to accompany your payment is good if you really feel you want to say something.
posted by scody at 2:44 PM on June 16, 2009

Why not call him and say "Hey man, I didn't get the notice, which is why I didn't pay, I'm happy to pay it now, but can I get a copy of the rental registration for my records please?", this seems like a tiny thing to quibble over and in my years of renting from batshit nutty landlords, I've found that friendly, mild vocal communications constantly trump semi-officious letters in terms of establishing long term good will.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:49 PM on June 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

I've been here in LA for over three years and this is the first I've heard of a rent registration fee. Then again, my landlord is cool as hell.

Honey > Vinegar, just pay it. You've already spent a valuable AskMe post.
posted by mullingitover at 4:10 PM on June 16, 2009

I've lived in my current place for three years, and I've always gotten a notice 30 days beforehand.

I agree that you should just pay it. You might also ask your landlord nicely, "Hey, the reason I didn't pay the $9.35 on time was because I never received the notice. Is there somewhere besides the obvious -- mailbox, taped to the front door, etc. -- that I should be looking for important notices like these?"

And, um, also...are there any vacancies? I'm thinking of moving if I can find a good deal.
posted by kitty teeth at 4:29 PM on June 16, 2009

I agree with the others: pay with a note requesting proper notice in the future. Our landlord is a super-stickler about this and we got our notice about 45 days before the due date. And I think that it's good that you're conscientious about these things--there are enough fees that landlords can stick tenants with, it's good to keep them honest.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 10:20 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Sent in the check today with a nice note. I liked the phone call suggestion, but it went to voicemail when I called. Now that your answers have brought me back down to earth, I'm not sure why I was so obsessed with this in the first place -- ok, nevermind, I obsess over everything, and I guess I am still recovering from my previous "batshit nutty" landlord. No hot water most mornings for months, ridiculous rent hikes, wildly inappropriate comments to my roommate....ok, I don't want to go back to that place even in memory [inhale 10 count, exhale 10 count]. Thanks for opening my mind to the possibility that, just maybe, the new landlord is normal and deserves the benefit of the doubt.
posted by booksandwine at 4:33 PM on June 17, 2009

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