The City of Los Angeles adopted the Primary Renovation and Tenant Habitability Programs to encourage landlords to reinvest in the infrastructure of their properties through Primary Renovation Work. The Primary Renovation Program was established by City Ordinance No. 176,544 (effective May 2, 2005).This Ordinance makes substantial changes to Chapter XV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, commonly known as the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. There are two major components to the Primary Renovation Program: 1) the Tenant Habitability Program; and 2) Primary Renovation Cost Recovery Program.The Tenant Habitability Program enacts safeguards to protect tenants both from unsafe living conditions while renovation work is undertaken, while the Primary Renovation Program protects tenants from extreme rent increases following the completion of such renovation work.
Primary Renovation Work involves the replacement or substantial modification of major building systems or the abatement of hazardous materials. Such work generally makes rental units uninhabitable on a temporary basis. The Tenant Habitability Program requires landlords to mitigate conditions related to Primary Renovation Work that might make occupied rental units temporarily uninhabitable, either through precautions to ensure that tenants can safely remain in place during construction or through the temporary relocation of tenants to replacement housing. The Rent Adjustment Commission (RAC) adopted Regulation 710.00 - Tenant Habitability Program which sets forth the specific requirements of this program.
Before a landlord may obtain a permit to undertake Primary Renovation Work that affects an occupied rental unit, the landlord must file a Tenant Habitability Plan with the Housing Department. If the Plan provides adequate protection for tenants, the Department approves it. Instructions for completing the Plan's forms are included in Tenant Habitability Program – General Information & Instructions (2012).
Once the Housing Department accepts a Tenant Habitability Plan, the landlord must notify affected tenants about the work that will be done and the options available to the tenants. The Department has compiled a packet of information to be used in notifying tenants, which is provided to landlords when they submit a Tenant Habitability Plan. The packet contains the following notices and forms:
1. Notice of Primary Renovation Work (4 pages): This notice explains the work to be done on the rental unit and the safeguards the landlord must undertake. If necessary, this notice will also describe arrangements that have been made for the tenant’s temporary relocation.
2. Summary of Tenant Rights (4 pages): This notice provides general information about the Primary Renovation Program and explains the tenant’s rights and responsibilities in a question and answer format.
3. Tenant Appeal of Tenant Habitability Plan (2 pages): Form used if a tenant requests a hearing to modify the Tenant Habitability Plan filed by the tenant’s landlord.
4. Requests for Permanent Relocation Assistance:
Form used for a tenant to request permanent relocation assistance from the landlord in exchange for the tenant’s voluntarily terminating a tenancy in either of two circumstances: (a) If Primary Renovation Work will affect the tenant for 30 days or more, the tenant can request permanent relocation within 15 days of receipt of the Notice of Primary Renovation Work; and (b) If Primary Renovation Work continues or is projected to continue for 30 or more days longer than indicated in the landlord’s Tenant Habitability Plan.
5. Per Diem Agreement (1 page): Form used if the tenant and landlord mutually agree that the tenant will make his or her own arrangements for temporary relocation in exchange for payment from the landlord.
6. Moving and Storage Agreement (1 page): Form used if the tenant and landlord mutually agree that the tenant will be responsible for the moving and storage of any of tenant’s personal property in exchange for payment from the landlord.
7. Primary Renovation Checklist / List de Identificacion para Trabajo de Renovacion
Following completion of Primary Renovation Work in conformance with a Tenant Habitability Plan, a landlord may file a rent adjustment application under the Primary Renovation Program that in most circumstances provides a better return than would be allowed under the City’s Capital Improvement Program. Details of the rent adjustment application process are set forth in RAC Regulation 220.00 – Primary Renovation Cost Recovery. The Primary Renovation cost recovery application, which is an Excel spreadsheet, may be obtained by calling the Case Analysis Section at 213-928-9063.