10 Ways to Protect Your Tenancy



(En Español)

1. Find out if your unit is under rent control. You can do this by contacting the Los Angeles Housing Department office www.lacity.org/lahd/.  If your unit is covered, get a free copy of the landlord tenant handbook at www.lacity.org/lahd/ or at the Housing Department office. Santa Monica , Beverly Hills and West Hollywood have their own rent stabilization ordinances. See links to other cities on resources page under "government".

2. Don’t withhold rent. If you have problems with the conditions of your apartment, contact the Housing Department www.lacity.org/lahd/ or the appropriate agency in your area. See  links to other cities on resources page under "government".

3. Don’t pay your rent in cash! Pay rent by money order or cashier’s check and always get a receipt. If you do pay by check, make sure to keep your bank statements and cancelled checks. If you pay by mail, mail it at the Post Office “Delivery Confirmation”, NOT “Certified Mail”. If your landlord returns your rent to you, do not cash it – it will be your proof.

4. Always indicate on your check or money order itself exactly what period you are paying for, i.e. “Rent for February 2007”, “Parking for 1930 Wilshire, February 2007”, etc. and be sure to keep a copy for yourself. This can help you if your landlord tries to evict you for rent that is owed from more than one year ago.

5. Comply with notices from your landlord within the time period     allowed. If this means you must pay an amount you don’t agree with, pay it if you can and seek advice about filing a small claims lawsuit to get it back.

6. Document on a calendar all events related to your housing, i.e. “paid rent”, “asked for repairs”, “saw landlord put a notice on neighbor’s door”, etc.

7. Put all agreements between you and your landlord in writing! An oral agreement is worthless in court.

8. Do not sign anything your landlord asks you to sign unless (1) you understand it, (2) are given a copy and have time to have a lawyer or organizer read it with you and, (3) have a copy for your records before signing.

9. Organize your building! If you are having problems with your landlord, chances are that your neighbors also are and working together can help to achieve better results. For more information, contact any of the Organizing resources.

10. Remember, your manager works for your landlord. They will NOT protect you from eviction.

The information presented on this website is intended for informational purposes only. No state
ment made on this website should be construed or relied upon as legal advice. The information on this website is not meant to be, or substitute for, advice from an attorney.