Illegal Eviction Notice in Los Angeles
February 15, 2008 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Have you dealt with an illegal eviction notice in Los Angeles?

Got home from work today to find a typed letter from my landlady asking me to move by 4/15. Long story short - she's facing foreclosure; I live in a tiny single in a 3-unit triplex; she wants to move into my single and rent out the 2+2 unit that she currently lives in for more $$$.

I'm aware of the laws governing this under the RSO, and I'm aware she did not approach this legally and have already filed a complaint with the agency.

As far as I know, she has no legal right to take any action against me until she actually files the Declaration of Intent to Evict - can anybody confirm this? Additionally, I'd like to hear from anybody else who has gone through this - any tips, support, etc. you have to offer.

I know you're not my lawyer. I'll get one if I have to, but right now I'm trying to rely on Nolo Press and my library science degree to get me through this.
posted by chez shoes to Law & Government (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What is the status of your lease? If you are on a month to month, all she needs to do is give you a 30 day notice. I think under the circumstances she is being more than reasonable giving you 60 days notice. A 30 day notice is not the same as being evicted so you don't have to check that box that asks "have you ever been evicted" on your next rental application.

I know the whole situation is a shock to you, but the owner of the property can take over your unit in this situation as far as I know. This used to be exploited quite a bit in San Fransisco where there are very tough tenant friendly rent control laws in place. New buyers of apt. buildings were evicting long standing tenants who had low rents (rent control means rent increase caps) so they'd claim they needed the unit for themselves, live there for a couple of months after evicting the tenant and then put the unit back on the market at market rate rent. Anyway, your situation is different because it sounds like your landlady has absolutely no choice. If she goes into foreclosure you'd have to move anyway. After the shock wears off, try and talk to her and see if you can get moving expenses or free rent between now and the date on your notice. It is a horrible situation for you and for her--try and work with her and get something out of the deal if you can. Good luck.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:34 PM on February 15, 2008

Seconding 45moore45. What makes you think it's illegal? Unless you are in the middle of a year-long lease, I'm not sure it's against the law.

Following your own RSO link, got me here: 12 legal reasons for eviction in LA. Includes the acceptable reason: "The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for use and occupancy by: a) the landlord, or the landlord's spouse, children, or parents..." From what you wrote, this falls under that category.

Also, you might look at the Ellis Act, which gives landlords the right to remove their properties from the market. But based on this LAHD doc, LA may require that the owner notify the local jurisdiction in some manner before removing a unit from the rental market. If she didn't do that, you might have a case to delay your departure until she does.

But, keep in mind that she's probably not trying to be mean. She's facing forclosure, and has limited options.

Unless you really *want* to spend your energy on a big legal battle, another option is asking her to pay you to leave. "I'll without a fight if you give me $5,000 when I hand you a 30-day notice of my intent to vacate, and another $5000 after I vacate." Just an idea. It would mean you have $ for a new deposit and first month rent. But she may not have that money, considering her situation.

Good luck!
posted by quinoa at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2008

Best answer: They can move you out (in LA) if they are moving in, but its worth a call to a lawyer, there is some cash to you involved...enough that its worth calling a lawyer to check things out. Our landlord tried to get rid of the crazy lady upstairs and even moving a family member in would have cost them a few thousand dollars to pay her according to the law. (I don't remember how much it was, but we offered to split it with them if it would get rid of the nutjob)
posted by legotech at 10:26 PM on February 15, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all.

To clarify: my landlady made no offer of cash. She also did not properly file paperwork with the housing department. She just presented me with a typed letter stating her problems and asking me to move, at my own expense.

legotech is correct - in compliance with L.A. municipal code, if a unit is covered under the RSO (I've verified with housing authorities that mine is) the landlord can evict me, BUT must do so by (a) filing a declaration with the LAHD, and (b) paying me $6810 in relocation assistance within 15 days of filing. It is indeed one of the "12 legal reasons" cited above by quinoa, but it requires more than a "Hi Chez Shoes, please move so that I don't lose my house" letter.

I have no problem with moving. The problem is, I have no money of my own with which to do so - if I did, I'd move tomorrow, as I have no desire to remain in a place that's about to be foreclosed. (And yes, I'm aware that if foreclosed, I'll get a 30 day notice from the lender. But it hasn't come to that yet. First things first.)

So perhaps I should rephrase my original inquiry: the landlady wants my apartment; I'm cool with moving, as long as she pays me the amount required by law and goes through proper channels. But she's not doing that - she's guilt-tripping me, asking for "compassion" and telling me that if I don't move on my own dime, she'll lose her life savings. I'd like to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation - if you have, how did you get your landlord to comply with the legal requirements of relocation assistance?
posted by chez shoes at 11:21 PM on February 15, 2008

It may be worth bearing in mind that if they foreclose on her & she declares bankruptcy then you'll get nothing at all in the way of relocation assistance.
posted by pharm at 3:07 AM on February 16, 2008

I should add: this is a guess, not based on actual knowlege of the laws in your area. YMMV. Talk to a
lawyer etc etc.
posted by pharm at 3:09 AM on February 16, 2008

People who rent are serfs. People who own are the landed gentry. Don't let her guilt you.
posted by contraption at 3:10 AM on February 16, 2008 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: pharm, you're correct re: foreclosure - in California, renters have no rights under those circumstances. However, under the current circumstances I *do* have rights, and I intend to exercise them!

contraption, you said it. She's using guilt as an intimidation tactic. Despite my outward appearance of naivete and innocence, I'm not falling for it :)
posted by chez shoes at 7:13 AM on February 16, 2008

She's using guilt as an intimidation tactic. Despite my outward appearance of naivete and innocence, I'm not falling for it :)

You called it. There's emotion and then there's logic. Be sure to protect your interests in this situation.
posted by ericb at 10:32 PM on February 16, 2008

Best answer: Send her a letter which outlines the issue saying - "I researched the issue and verified the home's status. According to the law there is a payment due to me to offset my moving expenses. When I expect your check so that I can plan my move?" That should be the end of it. If she can't pay her mortgage, she doesn't have 7K to pay you to move.

However, you are then going to have a miserable landlord which is it's own special kind of torture.
posted by 26.2 at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2008

Response by poster: However, you are then going to have a miserable landlord which is it's own special kind of torture.

Bingo. Therein lies the rub. So it looks like I'll be moving, either way.
posted by chez shoes at 7:37 PM on February 19, 2008

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