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APARTMENT LIFE

When forced to relocate, benefits go by the book

February 25, 2007|Kevin Postema | Special to The Times

Question: Can tenants refuse to leave when a new owner says he wants to occupy their unit? Also, can they fight to get more money than what the landlord is mandated to pay them to relocate? Are there any additional charges the owner is required to pay to cover moving or temporary housing costs?

Answer: The provisions of relocation assistance ordinances vary, and they vary widely.

In Santa Monica, relocation benefits are keyed to the size of units: bachelor or single, $4,400; one-bedroom, $5,500; two-bedroom, $6,200; three-bedroom, $7,700; and four or more bedrooms, $8,050. If the unit is furnished, the fee is reduced by $250. Santa Monica adds $1,000 to the benefits if the units are occupied by tenants who are 62 or older, who are disabled or who have any children under age 18, and if, and only if, they occupied their units before Nov. 17, 1999.

In Los Angeles, tenants are not entitled to benefits in excess of the amount spelled out in the rent-control ordinance. Relocation benefits are $8,550 for senior citizens, the disabled or renters with children under age 18, and $3,450 for others.

In these types of evictions, Los Angeles tenants cannot refuse to move without penalty. In fact, if you fight eviction, money may be deducted from your payment to compensate the owner for his expenses of having to evict you from the apartment.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday March 06, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
Rent control: The Apartment Life column in the Feb. 25 Real Estate section stated that apartment owners were allowed to evict tenants under rent control in Santa Monica and San Francisco if their apartments were not used as primary residences. Although owners can raise rents on such units to levels comparable to market rates, they can evict the tenants only if the tenants do not pay the new, higher rents.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday March 11, 2007 Home Edition Real Estate Part K Page 11 Features Desk 1 inches; 69 words Type of Material: Correction
Rent control: The Apartment Life column in the Feb. 25 Real Estate section stated that apartment owners are allowed to evict tenants under rent control in Santa Monica and San Francisco if their apartments are not used as primary residences. Although owners can raise rents on such units to rates comparable to market rents, they can only evict the tenants if they do not pay the new, higher rents.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday March 11, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
Rent control: The Apartment Life column in the Feb. 25 Real Estate section stated that apartment owners were allowed to evict tenants under rent control in Santa Monica and San Francisco if their apartments were not used as primary residences. Although owners can raise rents on such units to levels comparable to market rates, they can evict the tenants only if the tenants do not pay the new, higher rents.

If you live in Los Angeles, call the city's Housing Department at (866) 557-7368 to find out whether your unit is covered.

If you are not a resident of Los Angeles, check with your local government to determine whether your municipality has such an ordinance and, if so, what its provisions are.

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Policy has renter, complex covered

Question: My complex is requiring us to carry renter's insurance and to list the complex as additionally insured on the policy. What are the benefits to the apartment complex and the drawbacks to us tenants in doing this?

Answer: The benefit to the apartment complex is that it's provided with some extra coverage. Typically, there is no disadvantage to you, not even higher premiums, although the insurer may ask you why you want to name the owner as an additional insured.

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Can't evict for non-occupancy

Question: I own a rent-controlled apartment building in Los Angeles. One of the tenants, who pays very low rent, just uses the unit for storage. Is it possible to evict him if he doesn't live there? I want to be able to charge market rates. Also, how do I prove he doesn't live there?

Answer: Although there are primary residence ordinances in effect in Santa Monica and San Francisco under which you could evict this tenant, there is no such ordinance in Los Angeles, and there is no state law covering this situation. That being the case, proving the tenant does not live in the unit would not benefit you, so there is no point in doing so.

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Kevin Postema is the editor of Apartment Age magazine, a publication of the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, an apartment owners' service group. Send letters to aptlifeaagla@aol.com, or mail them to Apartment Age, Attn: Kevin Postema, 621 S. Westmoreland Ave., L.A., CA 90005.

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