Nonprofit educates Burbank residents about housing rights

More than 40 people, with a little more than half of them renting in Burbank, attended a free workshop Monday where they learned about state and federal housing rights.

Resident Anabel Casillas, who has been renting her home in Burbank for more than 20 years, said she learned valuable pieces of information she could use should an eviction situation arise.


"I have a good relationship with my landlord, so I don't need to worry about that too much," Casillas said.

Yasmin Guzman, director of outreach and education with the Housing Rights Center — which has offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena and Van Nuys — spent about two hours going over some of the most frequently asked questions and topics that have been brought up at previous workshops held in cities throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

One of the most talked-about issues is rent increases — how often and how much a landlord can raise the cost of a lease on tenants. Guzman said California does not mandate rent control, but there are cities in the state that have implemented it.

Santa Monica, Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are the only cities in Southern California that have rent control.

Guzman said that, in most cases, landlords can increase rents as many times as they want in a year, as long as they give out a proper notice to do so. If a rent increase is less than 10%, a 30-day notice must be issued to the tenant. If the hike is over 10%, landlords need to give tenants a 60-day notice.

For those living in Los Angeles, Guzman said there can be only one rent increase annually, and it can be no more than 3%.

The workshop also touched on when a landlord can enter a tenant's apartment. Guzman said a landlord needs to let the tenant know in writing that they will be entering their home.

In emergency circumstances in which proper notice cannot be given, Guzman advised that landlords document when they enter the unit, the work that was done and when they left to avoid legal implications.

Guzman also talked about security deposits and the circumstances in which a landlord can deduct a deposit when a tenant moves out. She said landlords can charge an outgoing tenant for damages done to the unit, cleaning fees and unpaid rent.

It is important for tenants to take notes and document all stains, damaged amenities and other issues with the unit before they move in to ensure they are not charged for those items when they move out.

Maribel Leyland, the housing authority manager for Burbank, said the city will continue working with the Housing Rights Center to host additional workshops.

Leyland added that tenants and landlords with questions or issues can attend a meeting of the city's Landlord Tenant Commission, which meets the first Monday of each month.

Twitter: @acocarpio