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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

Some California Single Family Homes ARE subject to Local Rent Control laws

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, June 2022 Add to Favorites

Local rent control laws may apply to a Single Family Residence if the Owner is renting individual rooms to separate tenants under separate leases.

In 2020, The California Appellate Court in Owens v. City of Oakland Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board ("Owens"), held that a Single Family Residence is defined in California Civil Code section 1954.52(a)(3)(A), which provides that "an owner of residential real property may establish the initial and all subsequent rental rates for a dwelling or a unit about which the following is true…It is alienable separate from the title to any other dwelling unit…."

According to the Court, the Owner by renting multiple rooms to separate tenants had converted the single family residence into a multi-unit dwelling that was subject to Oakland's Rent Adjustment Program since the individual rooms were not alienable separate from the title to any other dwelling unit.

Under the California Appellate Court's decision in Owens, tenants in Oakland renting rooms in a single-family home or in a condominium are entitled to the protections provided by Oakland's Rent Adjustment Program.

This ruling, however, does NOT apply if the owner is renting a room in his or her Single Family Residence in which the owner resides if the owner is sharing the common areas (such as a kitchen) with the tenant.

The California Appellate Court's decision in Owens, means that California tenants living in other cities with rent control or just cause eviction ordinances (like the City of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, or County of Los Angeles) may be protected under the local city's rent limits and just cause eviction protections if the owner is renting out individual bedrooms to different tenants under separate rental agreements.

Landlords should discuss with an attorney their situation if they are renting out multiple rooms in a single family home in which they do not reside and all landlords renting a single room should review and revise their lease agreements to ensure the "dwelling unit" being leased is properly defined as a room with the shared use of the common areas of the Residence with the owner.

See also, California Civil Code section 1940(c), the court interpreted "dwelling unit" to mean "a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place."

Tags: LA City Tenant, LA Rent Increase
Posted In: Real Estate Reporter 

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.