What is the Ellis Act?

The Ellis Act is a California law that allows landlords to get out of the rental business by taking their rental units off the market. The Ellis Act prohibits local governments from requiring a landlord to continue to rent apartment units, although local governments could enact regulations to control how landlords do so. Generally, the Ellis Act is invoked when a rental property will be sold as individual condominiums (condo conversions) or if the rental property will be destroyed and built into a new development.

It is important to note that a landlord who invokes the Ellis Act to evict tenants must do so genuinely. A landlord would be subject to civil liability, including punitive damages, if he attempts to evict low paying tenants under the Ellis Act and then rerent the property.

The City of Los Angeles provides a framework for landlords and developers to invoke the Ellis Act in order to evict tenants. It is a long process that can take longer than one year to complete. Landlords and developers interested in starting an eviction under the Ellis Act must do so as early as possible.

The process begins by filing a Notice of Intent to Withdraw Units from Rental Housing with the Los Angeles Housing Department. Then, a landlord must file with the County Recorder a document summarizing the non-confidential provisions of the Notice of Intent. Within five days of filing the Notice of Intent, a landlord must serve all tenants the Notice of Pending Withdrawal. 

Tenants are entitled a 120 Day Notice from the date the Notice of Intent was filed with the Los Angeles Housing Department. However, senior citizen tenants (age 62+) and disabled tenants are allowed to remain in a unit under the same terms for up to one year.

This summary provides a very brief introduction to the Ellis Act within the City of Los Angeles as the procedures can sometimes be a little more complicated and time consuming.

The City of Los Angeles Housing Department has a bulletin that provides information regarding Ellis Act evictions that can be found here, Procedures for Withdrawing Occupied Units from the Rental Housing Market.

Please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio if you have questions regarding an eviction under the Ellis Act or if you are interested in pursuing such an eviction at (818) 839-5220.