LIVING IN RENTAL HOUSING
Renters are entitled to housing that meets the building codes and standards for protection of life, limb, health, property, safety and welfare. The City of Los Angeles Building Code and the State Housing Law of California establish these legal requirements and it is the property owners’ responsibility to maintain rental housing in conformity with the requirements. Additionally, the California Civil Code contains provisions that establish mutual or shared responsibilities between renters and property owners for maintaining rental housing.
As a public service the California Department of Consumer Affairs has published an excellent guidebook titled, California Tenants—A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities that you should find very helpful to understanding your rights and responsibilities.
Additionally, in 1998, the City of Los Angeles enacted the Los Angeles Housing Code. The Housing Code applies to all residential rental properties with two or more units on a lot and where at least one of the unit is a rental unit.
Examples of properties within scope of the Los Angeles Housing Code
- Apartment Buildings
- 2 Single Family Dwellings on lot
- Residential Hotels
Examples of properties not in scope of the Los Angeles Housing Code
- Owner Occupied Units
- Vacant Properties
- Housing accommodations in hotels, motels, inns, or tourist homes.
The purpose of the Housing Code is to ensure that rental housing is maintained in accordance with building codes and standards. To do this, the Department's housing inspectors conduct routine periodic inspections, also known as the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) inspections.
Report a Housing Problem
- As a tenant you don't have to wait for a SCEP inspection to correct problems in your rental unit. First, tell your landlord about the problem. Then if the landlord does not make the repair in a timely manner you may contact the Department's Complaint Program to report a violation.
- Anyone can report a violation. There is no charge to report a violation. You can report a violation either online, by calling (866) 557-RENT (7368), or visiting one of our public counters located throughout Los Angeles.
- If a contact number is provided, you will be contacted by phone within 72 hours. If the reported violation is within an individual rental unit, the person reporting the violation must include a contact number and provide access to the rental unit. If the person reporting the violation cannot be present at the time of inspection, another responsible adult must be available for the inspection.
- Generally, based on the type of complaint, the owner is sent a "courtesy letter" detailing the nature of the complaint received and is provided approximately two weeks to correct the alleged violation(s).
- On the day of the initial complaint inspection, if the alleged violations are not observed by the inspector, the case is closed. However, if the alleged violations are observed, an order is issued to the owner. Owner has approximately 30 days to correct the cited violations. At time, inspection staff can grant an extension of time.
- On the day of re-inspection (specified on the order), if the inspector verifies that the cited violations are corrected, the case is closed; however, if violations are not corrected, the property owner may be subject to further enforcement actions including acceptance of property in the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP) and/or referral to the Office of City Attorney.
Please note: If the property you live in is within Los Angeles and not subject to the Los Angeles Housing Code, please call The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) at 311 or (888) LA4-BUILD. If the property is located within an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, please call (877) 966-CODE (2633). Cities within Los Angeles County which have their own individual code enforcement agencies may be contacted directly.
If you live in a rental property in the City of Los Angeles, it may be subject to the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).