Rent control, or rent stabilization as it is often called, is a contentious issue in cities that have it and even more contentious in cities that don't. Los Angeles instituted a rent stabilization policy in 1978, however not all greater Los Angeles area residents benefit. Within what most people think of as LA lie several independent, incorporated cities with their own laws and governments. Hawthorne is one of those cities.
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Rent stabilization began after WWII as a price control meant to combat price gouging by landlords in a time of housing shortages. The policies enacted largely continued even when housing supply and demand equalized. Opponents say that a healthy housing market more effectively regulates housing costs, but proponents argue that rent control prevents spikes and keeps populations stable. Sudden rent spikes can force vulnerable populations or certain workers key to a specific area to move. Rent control largely prevents such spikes.
City of Los Angeles
Greater Los Angeles includes dozens of cities not incorporated into the city of LA. Most of them rely on market forces to stabilize rents. Highly sought-after areas in cities such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood implemented rent control because of high demand and very limited supply. Hawthorne has no such demand problem, and has not instituted a rent control policy as of 2011.
City of Hawthorne
Hawthorne incorporated as a city in 1922. Its population as of 2011 is just over 90,000, roughly equal to the population of Santa Monica. It is located in southwest Los Angeles. It is south of Inglewood, where the Los Angeles Lakers used to play, and a few miles west of the area known as South Central.
There are California state laws that protect renters, and all cities, including Hawthorne, must abide by those. For example, landlords in Hawthorne may not ask for a security deposit equal to more than twice the monthly rental amount. They also must return security deposits with an itemized list of deductions within 21 days of a tenant vacating the property. A Hawthorne landlord may charge any amount of rent she wishes and increase it as often as she wishes. The state only mandates that she give a 30-day notice for increases totaling 10 percent or less. Sixty days' notice is required for rental increases that exceed 10 percent in one calendar year.