Facts: A tenant rents a unit in a multi-unit residential property subject to local rent control. A new landlord later purchases the property, converts it to condominiums and obtains a new certificate of occupancy based on the change in use. The new landlord serves the tenant with a 60-day notice of change in terms of tenancy and increases the tenant’s rent. The tenant refuses to pay the increased rent.
Claim: The landlord seeks to enforce the rent increase, claiming the tenant’s unit is now exempt from rent control since the landlord obtained a new certificate of occupancy for a change in use after the specified date for exemptions under California law.
Counter claim: The tenant claims the rent increase is unenforceable since the exemption from rent control does not apply to the tenant’s unit as the exemption is only applicable to a unit originally certified for residential use after the specified date for exemptions and the tenant’s unit was originally issued a certificate of occupancy for residential use prior to the exemption date.
Holding: A California court of appeals held the rent increase is prohibited since the tenant’s unit is not exempt from rent control as the exemption only applies to a unit for which its original certificate of occupancy for residential use was issued after the specified date for exemptions under California law and the tenant’s unit was already certified for residential use prior to the specified date for exemptions. [Burien, LLC v. Wiley (October 22, 2014)_CA4th_]