The Court of Appeal recently reviewed a case involving an eviction of a resident renting a room in a single family home in Los Angeles. Chun v. Del Cid is an important decision reviewing how a landlord rents a property could make it fall within the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
There, the house in question was built in 1908 as a single family residence. In 1946, the house was expanded to become a rooming house for seven households in ten rooms. The property currently had nine bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Four bedrooms were being rented separately to four households. Tenants had private use of bedrooms but all had shared access to the kitchen and bathrooms.
The Landlord attempted to evict one tenant from one bedroom. In response, the Tenant argued that the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (“LARSO”) applied. The trial court found that the building was a “multi-family dwelling” that fell within LARSO even though it was originally built as a single family residence. Landlord appealed.
On appeal, the Court found that the property as it was being currently used did not fall within a single family residence exception to LARSO. The Court found that because tenants had exclusive and private use of their own bedrooms, each tenant renting a bedroom was a “family,” and thus it was a multi-family residence. The Court found that each individual bedroom constituted a separate “rental unit” for purposes of LARSO.
The Court did not expand the opinion to deal with houses where all rooms are accessible by all tenants. Further, the Court did not expand the opinion to deal with a single room being rented in a larger home. The Court found that each case would be fact intensive meaning it would depend on the circumstances of the house and the particularities of the living arrangements in a home.
This case has important implications for landlords of single family homes who rent out rooms to individuals. Doing so could create a rent controlled unit making it more difficult to evict a tenant because an eviction would need to be “for cause.”
For questions regarding evictions please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.