Tenant Buyout Ordinances
When a landlord buys a building that is already occupied, he or she will often offer its current residents money in exchange for them moving out. This arrangement is called a “cash for keys” deal, is often designed to take advantage of a tenant. However, a Los Angeles ordinance was passed in 2017 to protect renters. According to the Housing and Community Investment Department, these are the steps landlords must follow and your rights within a Buyout Agreement.
- Before making a buyout offer, the landlord must give the tenant a Rent Stabilization Ordinance Disclosure Notice, which must be signed and dated if the tenant chooses to accept the offer.
- The Buyout Agreement must be in the primary language of the tenant.
- The Buyout Agreement must contain the following in 12 point bold language above the signature line: “You, (tenant name), may cancel this Buyout Agreement any time up to 30 days after all parties have signed this Agreement without any obligation or penalty.”
- The landlord must file a copy of the signed and dated RSO Disclosure Notice and Buyout Agreement with the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department within 60 days of both parties signing the Buyout Agreement.
- The tenant is not required to accept or sign the Buyout Agreement.
- The tenant may consult with an attorney or call the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department prior to accepting the landlord’s offer.
- The tenant may cancel the Buyout Agreement up to 30 days after signing it without obligation or penalty.
- If the owner does not comply with the requirements above, then the tenant has the right to cancel the Buyout Agreement for any reason at any time without obligation or penalty.
- If the owner does not comply with the requirements above, then the tenant may assert an affirmative defense to an Unlawful Detainer action and may have a private civil remedy against the owner.
If the terms of a Buyout Agreement are violated, you could be eligible to recover damages and an additional $500 penalty. If you have questions or concerns about Buyout Ordinances, contact our office for information.
Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call (213)388-6004 or visit his website at www.castelblanco.com. The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.