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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Default Is a Landlord Required to Upgrade Unit for Tenants Long-Term Tenants

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California

    Hello, I live in the State of California. I wonder if you could kindly help me. My wife and I have been living in the same 2-bedroom townhouse apartment for over 23 years.Since we’ve been living in the apartment for so long, our rent is much lower than that of the other tenants. We are paying $2,150 for rent whereas the tenants who recently moved to the building are paying $2,800.Previously, the building was managed by the company that owned the building.

    The building owners were very lenient and increased our rent only about once every 3 years or so. The rent increase was usually less than or equal to $100. Over the past three years, however, the owner has assigned an outside management company to run the building. The new management company has been increasing our rent without fail each and every year. The new company also increased our rent by $200. However, since we protested, they consented to limiting the rental increase to $100.

    Unlike the building owner, the new management company does not take into account the fact that we’ve been in the apartment for over 23 years.Most of the other tenants leave within an average of 2 years. And when they leave, their apartments are often vacant for about 2 months or so. On the other hand, our unit has never been vacant and we’ve been paying rent every month for over 23 years. So I was hoping that the new management company would take this into account and would not raise our rent each year. Although all the other units have been completely remodeled and renovated and look almost brand new, our unit has never been remodeled or upgraded in any way. In fact, during the earthquake that occurred in 1994 in Northridge, our apartment was damaged. All the other units were repaired, but ours was not. The questions I had are the following:

    1. Is there any rule or regulation that would prevent the management company from increasing our rent each year beyond a certain percentage based on the fact that we’ve been living there for so long?

    2. Since the new management company is adamant about raising the rent each and every year, can we request that they perform the major repairs and renovations we need? Everything in the apartment is in pretty bad shape and has not been changed or upgraded in over 23 years. The carpets have never been replaced and they’re worn out, the place has never been repainted and the paint is wearing off, there is some wear and tear on the walls, there are major cracks in the unit from when the earthquake occurred, etc.

    We never requested any repairs or remodeling because we thought that if we did, our rent would be raised each year. However, the new management company has been raising our rent each year no matter what. So we’re thinking of maybe asking for the repairs to be done.

    When I spoke to the resident manager regarding this issue, he said that the new management company would refuse to perform the repairs. Are they required by law to perform the repairs and improvements? And if they do the repairs, would they be able to increase the rent to the current market value of $2,800 per month? Or would they be limited to raising the rent by only $100 or so. Any advice or assistance would be deeply appreciated.Thank you very much for your time, attention and help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Is Landlord Required to Upgrade Unit for Tenants Who've Been There for 23 Years

    The sky is the limit on rent increases unless you are in a rent controlled area like Los Angeles.

    And, no, the landlord has absolutely no obligation to renovate your unit.

    You could demand renovation as a condition of your next lease renewal or you can find yourself another place to live.

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