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Renter's rights - new lease?

 
 
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 12:02 pm
Hi,
My parents live in a rent controlled apartment in Los Angeles. Their landlord has "lost" their old lease, and wants them to sign a new one. My parents have the original lease. Are they obligated to sign the new one still? Also, can an additional charge be added to their original security deposit? Thanks for any advice.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,948 • Replies: 8
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 12:22 pm
I highly doubt it (but I am not a lawyer). It sounds like this landlord is trying to pull a fast one.

My advice is to talk to a lawyer-- it is generally easy to get free legal advice for these types of questions.

I did a quick search for "tenant rights" and "tenant legal aid" in Los Angeles. This link looked promising.

Housing Rights Center

You could call and talk to them. If they can't help you, they can refer you to someone who can. I imagine all you need is a lawyer to advise you to tell the landlord to take a hike, and this shouldn't take very long.

You might also try the Department of Consumer Affairs.

I sure as heck wouldn't sign a new lease when I had a perfectly good old one. I might offer to make a notarized copy of the old one if the landlord paid for the expense.

I can't think of any circumstance that an increase in security deposit is justified.

But, it wouldn't hurt to talk to a lawyer.
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Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 01:22 pm
Re: Renter's rights - new lease?
silkandpebbles wrote:
Hi,
My parents live in a rent controlled apartment in Los Angeles. Their landlord has "lost" their old lease, and wants them to sign a new one. My parents have the original lease. Are they obligated to sign the new one still? Also, can an additional charge be added to their original security deposit? Thanks for any advice.


No they are not obligated to sign a new lease, however, as purely a gesture of helpfulness they can photocopy the original lease they have, and give the copy to the landlord for his files. If he insists on an original copy with a wet signature, they can instruct him to type the lease EXACTLY as the copy they signed originally and they will be happy (have a good proof-read before doing so and/or have a lawyer review it to make sure no sneaky changes have been inserted) to re-sign a duplicate of the original lease.

The landlord cannot change their security deposit unless the tenant agrees to it for some particular reason (say for example there were improvements/expansion of the unit and/or additional occupants moved in). The tenant would have to agree in writing and there would have to be an addendum to the lease .... eg. "effective 1/1/07, an additional security deposit of $100 is being deposited with landlord for betterments/improvements to the kitchen unit, extending from 500 sq ft to 800 sq ft".
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 01:46 pm
Re: Renter's rights - new lease?
silkandpebbles wrote:
Their landlord has "lost" their old lease, and wants them to sign a new one. My parents have the original lease. Are they obligated to sign the new one still?

Your parents' landlord appears to be bullshîtting your parents. The first lease the three of them signed was a valid contract. If one party misplaces its copy of a contract, that does not alter or invalidate the contract. Therefore your parents need not, and should not, sign a new contract. This request of the landlord sounds very, very fishy to me! At the most, for the sake of courtesy, your parents ought to send him a copy of the original lease for his future reference.

Edit: Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Edit yet again: In other words, I agree with Heeven.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 02:04 pm
Re: Renter's rights - new lease?
silkandpebbles wrote:
Hi,
My parents live in a rent controlled apartment in Los Angeles. Their landlord has "lost" their old lease, and wants them to sign a new one. My parents have the original lease. Are they obligated to sign the new one still? Also, can an additional charge be added to their original security deposit? Thanks for any advice.


Is the "old lease" still in effect? What are the dates covered that are specified in it?

Reading quickly through the LA Municiple Ordinance on Rent control - there is no "month-to-month" renting for apartments covered under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. If they wish to remain in the apartment a new lease MUST be executed when a current lease expires. If they refuse to execute a new lease it is grounds for eviction.

If the currnet lease is still valid then they don't have to sign the new one.

If it isn't then they can either sign or take their chances with being evicted.

When executing a new lease the landlord can also adjust rent or deposit amounts as regulated by the LA Rent Adjustment Commission. They set the allowable annual increases for rent and the increase can't exceed the amount set.
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silkandpebbles
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 06:26 pm
lease expired??
Thank you all for your input. I greatly appreciate it.

I looked at my parents lease, and it did expire. It has a clause that says that once this lease expires it turns into a month to month agreement with the same rules. The new contract they were offered is not a lease, but just a month to month with a few new clauses. Are they obligated to agree to the new clauses, a new month to month not annual agreement, and can they be evicted from a rent controlled apt. if they have not broken any rules?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 06:59 pm
I'm confused... Under the LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance there is no month-to-month leasing. Has the owner withdrawn the apartments from the Rent Stabilization Program? (If he/she did, your parent's should have gotten a notice to that effect.)

If it was withdrawn from the program then they can do a month to month and they can be put out if they refuse to agree to terms. If it is still in the Rent Stabilization Program then they should do some checking with the Rent Stabilization Board and inquire there about the month-to-month deal. Maybe LA hasn't posted the latest Rent Stabilization Ordinance online yet and a new one now allows it. *shrugs*
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jul, 2007 08:05 am
There are significant differences in landlord-tenant laws from community to community, so asking us non-Angelenos for advice will only get you so far. I suggest you follow up on the link posted by ebrown and contact the Housing Rights Center (hotline 800-477-5977). They're the experts on Los Angeles tenants' rights issues.
0 Replies
 
readtosue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Jan, 2011 11:17 pm
@silkandpebbles,
If they are still under the time allotted in the lease, they dont need to sign anything. More deposit, oh , how nice for the manager, Tell her to go get a loan from a payday store and quit trying to rip your parents off. Im sick of rip off managers that think they can do whatever they want. More, deposit, yeah sure, and I want my manager to lower my rent my rent but guess what, this is the real world.
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