There was this lady in New York who felt that her landlord didn’t have the right to kick her out of her apartment since her legal guardian was the previous tenant. Under current succession laws in that state, Maria DeTommaso (the 63-year-old woman that had lived in the apartment for about ten years) would have the right to keep the place that her 85-year-old stepfather had lived in all of his life. The thing is, Mr. Nicky DeTommaso had only signed the adoption paperwork on her a few weeks before he died, so the landlord is wondering whether or not she has the right to the very cheap $100 controlled monthly rent that the place entails (the building has been there since before 1947 and he’d lived there way before 1971, which is what qualified him for that low rate). So the big question is, does she really have the right to stay there for that price or does the landlord have the right to jack up the rent to $1500?
Stories like this happen all the time all across the United States. Sometimes the tenants come out on top, sometimes the landlord. It all depends on where you are and what the laws in your city and county say. For instance, in Los Angeles many folks wonder whether or not they fall under the city’s Rent Control Laws. Well, the answer is yes, unless you qualify for any of the exemptions in the law. If, for example, your unit is a one-family dwelling you’d be exempt, but only if there are no more units on that particular property. You’d also be exempt if say you had shares in a nonprofit stock coop and that particular unit was located within it.
As in the story above, many times the cases involve older tenants that may have been living at a place for an extended period of time and the laws simply had changed during the course of their residency. It’s a good thing the exemptions are set up for places that are generally populated by elderly folks, such as convents, state licensed community care facilities, and other places where medical treatment will be stretched out over a long period of time. You can get a closer look at all of these exemption laws by taking a look at the Los Angeles Municipal Code 151.02, right under the section labeled “Rental Unit”.
The overall truth of the matter is that many folks just don’t know their rights when it comes to their apartments and other types of dwellings. These situations aren’t always the ones where the landlord in trying to hurt the tenant. Yes, there are a lot of unit dwellers out there (who in many cases are automatically assumed to be the victim in the matter) that will take a really nice landlord’s kindness for weakness, and need to be dealt with legally. No matter which side you are on in the current dispute, lawyers at Makarem and Associates are always ready and willing to help. Any of them can be reached directly by calling 310.312.0299, or by email at [email protected].